Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grannagh (Granny) Castle

Located on the banks of the River Suir in south County Kilkenny stands the striking ruin of Grannagh
( Granny ) Castle.

The castle (13th Century) is said to have been built by the le Poers who had been granted the whole of Waterford and southern portion of Kilkenny after the Norman invasion in 1169.

When Eustace le Poer was executed for treason in 1375 Edward the III granted the castle to James Butler, 2nd Earl of Ormond.

The main tower house of the castle was built in the 15th Century and in keeping with many others of it's kind at that time it was both a sign of wealth and for defence purposes. 

The Castle was taken by Cromwell's forces in 1650 and was mostly destroyed after being fired on with two cannon's.

The Board of Public Works did some restoration work in 1925, today you will find the grounds in and around the castle are well kept.

Access - The castle can be seen from the N24 (just off the the M9). 
Parking is not a problem as you are taken down a slip road which leaves you right beside the castle.   



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ballygraney Portal Tomb

The real star of the show here at Ballygraney Portal Tomb (apart from the photo bombing horse) is the giant capstone that sits on this tomb.
The capstone is close to 4 meters in length and  just over 3 meters in width.
This massive stone viewed from the back looks like a huge turtle shell (ninja like).

The portal stones are just over 1 meter in height. The door slab stone  is close to 2.5m in width and over 1 meter in height.

From the back of the tomb at the side it is possible to climb down into the tomb.
From the the inside you can see the side stones of the tomb which has three on each side.
Sorry to report but I could not get any images of the inside of the tomb as it was very overgrown (and was being used to store animal feed bags).

Finding this great tomb has been the highlight of my few visits in 2014 (so far), this was thanks to the great Megalithic Monuments Of Ireland   web site where I first came across this superb tomb.

Access - Is going to be your main problem I called to the farm whose land the tomb is on and I was being refused point blank permission to go and look at the tomb.
On the point of leaving I happened to ask a question which resulted in the owner and myself having a mutual acquaintance in common (this got me the go ahead to visit the tomb).   


Friday, April 4, 2014

Turlough Round Tower

Turlough Round Tower is a well kept but a somewhat squat looking tower.
It is claimed the tower may date back to the 9th Century, but recorded documentation of the tower came much later in the 17th Century.  
The tower compared to others is a smallish 23 Meters tall.
The arched doorway is just under 4 meters above the ground level, but has been blocked up with mortared stone.
There are four windows at different levels, with four more at the top just below the cap.   
The OPW are said to have carried out repairs on the tower in 1880 which included re capping the tower.

The church is dated from the 18th Century but it incorporates a window and plaque which both date back to the 16th Century.

Access - You can see the tower from the N5, parking is not a problem.
The graveyard is quite steeply sloped in parts, so mind your footing.    

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ballykeel Portal Tomb

The superb Ballykeel Portal Tomb is just one of those magical sites that you will spend a lot longer than intended at.

The tomb which is of the tripod type has two upright portal stones with one back stone supporting the very large capstone.
The huge capstone is close to 3 meters in length and the two portal stones near 2 meters in height.

Some remains of the once large cairn that the tomb sits in can still be seen with several stones dotted around the enclosure.

The tomb was excavated in 1965.
Extensive restoration work was carried out on the tomb which had partly collapsed.

If your lucky enough to visit Legannany Portal Tomb you will notice a lot of similarity with both structures, but the capstone at Ballykeel is far more impressive.

Access - The site is a short drive from the M1and is well signposted from a couple of directions, parking is OK but the roads are narrow.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Drumcliff Round Tower

Drumcliff Round Tower, County Clare is one of two round towers in Ireland with the same name, the other can be found in County Sligo.

Not very much is known about the early monastery on this site but it is associated with St Conald (7th Century).
The tower which is featureless rises to 11 meters at its highest point.
This is a great pity as it is documented as having a door and three windows two centuries ago.

The church which is beside the tower is dated 15th Century, but incorporates parts of an earlier church which probably date back to the same time as the tower (10th Century).  

The tower is located in a graveyard which is only a short drive from the town of Ennis.
The most striking feature of the graveyard is the big number of large tombs dotted all around.

Access - parking is not a problem as the graveyard is still in use, from the road the walk to the tower is quite steep but a short one.    
The monastic settlement of Drumcliff located some 2km from Ennis dates back to the 7th century and its foundation is credited to St Conald - See more at:
The monastic settlement of Drumcliff located some 2km from Ennis dates back to the 7th century and its foundation is credited to St Conald - See more at:



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Kilgraney Portal Tomb

This tomb had been on my wish list for some time.
Knowing that the tomb had collapsed did not lessen my intent to see this site up close.

The setting for Kilgraney could not be better, tucked away in the corner of a field with the soundtrack of running water only a few meters away.

The capstone is just under 5 meters in length and is over 2.5 meters in width.
This huge stone now rests on only one stone, with all the others fallen.

I was lucky enough to meet the farmer whose land the tomb is on, he was very helpful in giving exact directions to the site and came across as being very proud to have this fallen giant on his land.

Access - heading south on the R702 the turn for the tomb is on your left just after a very bad bend, follow this road until you are running parallel with the main road.
The field the tomb is in is marked very clearly it has a photo of the site stuck onto the frame of the gate. 


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tremblestown Castle

Tremblestown Castle Co Meath dates back to the 15th Century and what was originally a tower house grew to be much more.
The tower house was the home of the Barnwell family.

One of the main features is the large two storey barrel vaulted hall on the ground floor. 
Much of what can be seen today was built in the 18th Century by the castles owner Lord Trimlestown.
The owner was quite a colourful character who apart from building a large estate around the castle also found time to treat the locals (for free) with medical skills gained from living abroad.  

Further work was carried out at the start of the 19th Century and yet soon after the castle was left unoccupied and it soon fell into ruin.

Access - The castle is a short drive from Trim, but you will have to abandon the car quite a distance from the ruin and complete the journey on foot.
Because of the castles size it is very visible from a long way off.