Sunday, July 14, 2013

Fortress of the Fishery

Situated on a rocky island on the River Suir, Cahir Castle is one of the largest and best preserved castles in Ireland. It was originally built in the 13th Century on the site on an earlier Irish cathair. The full form of the placename in Irish is Cathair Dhun Iascaigh, which could be translated as the "stone fort of the fortress of the fishery".

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Kilkenny Castle

There has been a castle on this site since 1172 when Norman knight Richard de Clare, known as Strongbow, built a wooden tower overlooking the River Nore.  The first stone castle, much of which survives today, was built some 20 years later by William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke.

This medieval castle was roughly square in plan, with the main twin-towered entrance gate located in the now missing east wall.  Kilkenny Castle is one of the few castles of its era built without a Keep.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Once Famous, Now Ruined

On a steep ridge overlooking the River Tywi stands Castell Dinefwr, one of the royal seats of the ancient Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth.  The fabled Lord Rhys ap Gruffydd ruled Deheubarth here until his death in 1197.  However, in 1220 Llywelyn the Great refers to Dinefwr in a letter to King Henry III as the "once famous, now ruined" castle.

Still an impressive site, the castle is well worth the long hike to the top of the ridge for a visit.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Like a Rock

What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than with a visit to the Rock of Cashel, otherwise known as St. Patrick's Rock.

According to local mythology, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil's Bit, a mountain 20 miles north of Cashel, when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave, resulting in the Rock's landing in Cashel. Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

She Sells Sanctuary

Dunbrody Abbey was founded in 1170 on the instructions of Strongbow by his nephew, Herve de Montmorency, after the Norman invasion of Ireland. Herve de Montmorency made a grant of the lands to the monks of Bildewas in Shropshire, England on condition that they would build the Abbey for monks of the Cistercian Order. The Abbey was to contain a sanctuary for all malefactors. Dedicated to "St. Mary the ever Blessed Virgin and St. Benedict", it has sometimes been called the Abbey of St. Mary de Port because of this refuge.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Black Knights and White Monks

Walk among the ruins where the Knights Hospitaller and Cistercian Monks once worshipped.  The ruins of a small Templetown Medieval Church and Jerpoint Abbey are among the sites to see when visiting the eastern shores of the Emerald Isle.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Vow

In the autumn of 1200, William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke, set sail for his first visit to Ireland as Lord of Leinster. Threatened with ship- wreck, he vowed to found an abbey wherever he should reach safety. Upon landing in Bannow Bay, he fulfilled his vow, bequeathing land for the foundation of this Cistercian abbey. Consequenty, Tintern Abbey is also referred to as Tintern de Voto - "Tintern of the Vow".

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Witch Hunt

Kells Priory is situated alongside King's River, beside the village of Kells. It was founded by Geoffrey FitzRobert, brother-in-law to Strongbow, in 1193.

In 1324 the Bishop of Ossory, Richard de Ledrede, paid a lenten visit to the priory. Following an inquisition into a Kilkenny sect of heretics, Irish noblewoman Alice Kyteler and her maidservant Petronilla de Meath were ordered to appear before the Bishop to answer charges of witchcraft. The Bishop successfully prosecuted the heretics, however Alice Kyteler was able to escape to England. Petronilla de Meath was flogged and became Ireland's first heretic to be burned at the stake in Kilkenny on 11/03/1324.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Glendalough Saint

Visit Glendalough and sing...
Fol di dol fol di fol day
Fol di dol rol di dol ad dy
Fol di dol rol di dol day
Fol di dol rol di dol ad dy

In Glendalough lived an old saint
Renowned for his learning and piety.
His manners was curious and quaint
And he looked upon girls with disparity.

He was fond of readin' a book,
When he could get one to his wishes.
He was fond of castin' his hook
In among the young fishes.

Well one evenin' he landed a trout.
He landed a fine big trout, sir.
When Kathleen from over the way,
Came to see what the old monk was about, sir

"Well get out o' me way" said the saint,
For I am a man of great piety.
And me good manners I wouldn't taint,
Not by mixing with female society.

Ah, but Kitty she wouldn't give in.
And when he got home to his rockery,
He found she was seated therein
A-polishin' up his old crockery

Well he gave the poor creature a shake,
And I wish that a Garda had caught him.
For he threw her right into the lake,
And, be Jaysus, she sank to the bottom.