Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Moyry Castle

The very striking ruin of Moyry Castle is a must see if you find yourself visiting any of the many sites in County Armagh.
The castle was built by Lord Mountjoy in 1601.
The castle had great importance as it was built to help oversee and secure the ancient route between Leinster and Ulster.

Among the features of the castle are rounded corners, many gun loops and a drop hole positioned above the doorway.
The walls of the castle are over a meter in thickness with the only remaining part of the outer wall close to 3 meters in height.

The inner of the castle is a shell with no sign of a stairway.

Access - The castle is very visible as a result of being built on a hill.
Parking can be a bit tricky as the surrounding roads are quite narrow. 


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Old Kilcullen Round Tower

The Old Kilcullen monastic site dates back to the 5th Century.
St Patrick founded the monastery and placed it in the care of St MacTail (Died 548).

The site was attacked by Vikings in 736 and again in 944.

The round tower is thought to date back to the 11th Century.
The tower is close to 11 meters in height, with the round headed doorway close to 2 meters from ground level.
A drawing from 1792 shows the tower in a more complete state.
Old Kilcullen's tower was reduced to its present state in the 1798 rebellion.

The site also has the very small remains of a Romanesque church (dated later than the tower).
Sadly all that remains of the church today is the base walls.

Old Kilcullen also boasts the shaft's of two high crosses,  the shaft closest to the tower has some lovely detail the other taller shaft at the back of the graveyard is very worn and I could not make out any details.
The site also has the base of another high cross.

The setting and location for Old Kilcullen could not be better, quite and peaceful with stunning views of the surrounding Kildare countryside.

Access - The site is signposted and a short drive from the N78, parking can be found beside the site leaving you a short walk up an avenue to the graveyard.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tawnatruffaun Portal Tomb

The superb portal tomb of Tawnatruffaun is a must see if you find yourself in County Sligo.
The tomb which is also known as The Giant's Griddle is fittingly located in a very open clearing on a small rise.

The slab like capstone is close to 3 meters in length and it rest's on two similar portal stones 1.5 meters high.
One of the side stones has been removed but like the boundary wall built either side of the tomb it in no way takes away from this great site.

Tawnatruffaun like Ireland's other great tombs will keep you longer at the site than you probably  expected.

Unusual for one of my Blog post these images were taken of an evening time - most  of my site visits happen on the way to work so mornings tend to be the majority.  
So as an added bonus I had the  company of my son Daire, who got to see his first tomb up close.  

Access - The tomb is visible from the road, you walk across a field to the site. 
The ground close to and around the tomb looks like it could be quite boggy after wet weather.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Burnchurch Castle

Burnchurch Castle is a 15th Century Norman tower house that has aged very well.
Built by the Burnchurch branch of the Fitzgerald family, little of the history of the castle is known.  
The castle is six storeys high and was originally connected to a walled courtyard.
The turret like tower to the left of the castle still has part of a wall showing at the base.  

The interior has a vault under the castle with the main chamber built above it.
Access to the upper floors is via a curved staircase, which is built inside the walls.
Also within the walls are a number of passages which include a secret room on the fourth floor.

The castle was occupied until 1817 and came into state care in 1993 and is now listed as a National Monument.

Access - The site although very close to the road is located on a bad bend.
Parking can be found to one side of the entrance (on a working farm), leaving a small walk to the castle.


Friday, September 11, 2015

The Kilnasaggart Pillar Stone

The beautiful inscribed stone of Kilnasaggart can be found in a very quite and peaceful hedged enclosure.

The stone is over 2 meters in height and is said to be one of the oldest inscribed stones in Ireland.

There are a total of 13 crosses on the stone's faces and it carries the inscription (roughly translated to be) "This place bequeathed by Temoc, son of Ceran Bic, under the patronage of Peter, the Apostle".

The death of Temoc is recorded around 714 which would date the stone in the early 700s.

Excavations of the site in the 1960s uncovered a number of stone built graves close to the stone, the enclosure has many of these stones lying around.

Access  - The site is a short drive from the Jonesborough exit from the N1.
Parking can be found at the cattle gate.
You will have to walk through two fields to reach the enclosure (cattle may be in the fields). 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Kilree Round Tower Church and High Cross

The Round Tower of Kilree could not be in a better setting.
A short drive from the M9 brings you to this peaceful slice of early Christianity.

The round tower which is capless is 28 meters in height.
The doorway is under 2 meters from the built up level of the graveyard.
The tower has 7 windows with 4 located in the bell storey.

The high cross is located at the back of the tower and graveyard, just a short walk across a field.
The cross is made of sandstone and is 2.75 meters in height.
Although well worn you can still see how beautifully the cross was once decorated.

The history of the site is somewhat unknown with both the tower and high cross thought to date back to the 9th Century.
Of the more recent history the Dean of Ossory  transferred the lands to the nearby Priory of Kells in the 13th Century.

Access - Parking is the real problem as the road beside the site is quite narrow.

Kilree is just one of those sites that makes you want to spend some time, so quite and with a really nice atmosphere.      


Friday, August 7, 2015

Gurteen Stone Circle

The superb but badly overgrown circle of Gurteen is even allowing for its present state a must see.

Eleven of the original twelve stones still stand.
This Circle also has a boulder burial stone as its centre piece.
The circle is just over 10 meters in diameter.
The stones in the circle vary in height from over 1 meter to just over 2.5 meters.

The location of this site really makes it special with scenic views all round and during my visit total silence.

Access The Circle is quite easy to find compared to other sites close by.
Park at the cattle gate (climb over) and walk up around the corner the circle will be on your Left.

Beware if visiting after rain as the ground around the site gets very bogey and cattle sometimes graze close by.