Friday, April 24, 2015

Roodstown Castle

Roodstown Castle (15th Century) is a fine example of the many tower houses built in Leinster between the 14th and15th Century.

The castle is four stories high and is roofless.
Two of the square turrets are projecting from the castle.   
One of these turrets contains garderobes (toilets), the other has a spiral staircase giving access to the different floor levels and the battlements.
The first and second floor have finely carved windows (15th Century) image No 2 . 
The ground floor is vaulted and just inside the entrance is a murder hole. 

This was my third visit to Roodstown and as on previous visits the castle was locked up, I have read somewhere that a local maybe is the key holder.

Access - The castle can be found a short drive from the M1, I parked close to the farm opposite the castle so as not to block the narrow road.



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Dromiskin Round Tower High Cross and Church

Dromiskin Monastery was founded by Lughaidh a disciple of St Patrick.
The monastery came under attack in 908 from the Irish, the Danes in 978 and again by the Irish in 1043.

The tower is over 15 meters high as a result of the tower being used as a belfry and then recapped.
This has now left the tower with a shrunken look to it.
When viewed from the front this tower always makes me smile.

The Romanesque doorway (missing some stone work) is just under 4 meters from ground level. 

The head of the high cross dates back to the 10th Century- it was grafted onto a granite shaft and base in 1918.

The church ruin dates to the 12th Century with the window dated to the 15th Century.

The more modern St  Ronan's Church of Ireland was built in 1821.
It is now in a dangerous derelict state.

The village of Dromiskin is a short drive from the M1.
When you arrive at the village you will have no problem spotting the tower.
Parking is available right outside the gate of the graveyard.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Menlo Castle

Menlo Castle dated 15thCentury is a vast ruin that is located on the bank's of the River Corrib.
The Castle was built in 1569 and was the main home of the Blake family.
The Blake family were one of the famous Tribes of Galway

The Blake's remained at Menlo until 1910 when the castle accidentally and tragically burned down.
Killed in the fire was Eleanor Blake the only daughter of  Lord Valentine Blake.

As a result of the fire the castle was totally gutted and what you see today is all that was left.
The wall's of the ruin are mostly covered in ivy, with some of the opinion that it is this very ivy that holds Menlo together.

Access - The turn for the castle is just before Terryland as you travel on the N84 heading towards Galway.
From the main road you are left a short drive to the old entrance (bottom image).
Parking for a couple of cars can be had close to the cattle gate and leaves you with a short walk down to the castle.

To view the castle from the far side of the River Corrib turn off the N59 for the National University of Galway.         

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Hill Of Slane

The impressive site of The Hill Of Slane stands 158 meters above the surrounding area.
As it is such a large site it is possible to be seen well in advance when travelling on the N2 to Slane from Dublin.

It is claimed (but disputed) that St Patrick lit a paschal fire on it's summit in 433 AD while a festival was being celebrated on the nearby Hill Of Tara.  This was in defiance of the High King Laoire whose pagan beliefs were that no other fires should be lit during pagan festivals.

What you can see today is mostly dated from the 15th Century.
It is said to have been built on a earlier site.
The 19 meter high Gothic tower (image no 2) was founded along with the Franciscan friary and the collage (image no 3) by Sir Christopher Fleming in 1512.

Access - The site is signposted on your left as you leave Slane heading towards Collon.
Parking is not a problem as their is a good size clearing (you are warned not to leave valuables visible as cars have been broken into).
From the car park you are left a short up hill walk to the site.



Monday, February 23, 2015

Oranmore Castle

Oranmore Castle, County Galway is dated to the 15th Century but is thought to have been built on the site of an earlier castle.
The castle was a stronghold of the Clanricardes, a prominent Norman family in Galway.  

The castle under the lordship of the fifth Earl Clanricardes played a major role in the Confederate Rebellion in the 1640's.
Oranmore was surrendered in 1643 by Captain Willoughby.
This was done without the knowledge or permission of the Marquess.
In 1651 the castle was surrendered to the Parliamentary forces.

The successor of the Marquess the 6th Earl regained the castle and in 1666 he leased Oranmore to Walter Athy.
Oranmore through marriage passed to the Blake family of Mayo.
The castle stayed in the care of the Blake's  until 1853 when it was abandoned.

Oranmore was purchased in 1947 by Lady Leslie, and the castle has remained in her family's care to date.

Access - The castle is well signposted from the main street in Oranmore.
As the castle dominates the coastline you won't need any help.
Oranmore can be visited at times during the summer.
Booking ahead would be advisable as the castle amongst other things is considered to be haunted.   


Monday, February 9, 2015

Drumanone Portal Tomb

This was a revisit to Drumanone as my first attempt to photograph this site left me with mixed results.
I am not sure how these measure up as I lost my original images on a lap top (that had not been backed up).

Drumanone despite having it's capstone badly slipped is still a very striking tomb.
The two portal stones are over two meters high.
The slightly smaller door slab stands snugly between the two portals.
The two side stones have moved probably as a result of the capstone slipping.
The massive Capstone is about 4.5 meters in length and just under 4 meters in width.

Drumanone is not one of Ireland's most famous tombs but it really is worth a visit.
The tomb has a real presence about it that will stay with you.

Access - Getting to the site is pretty easy even though you have to cross a railway line.
The pathway that leads up to the railway crossing has an old house in ruin that you can park beside.
Make sure to close gates and mind yourself at the crossing.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rylane Stone Circle

The superb stone circle of Rylane can be found a short drive from the village of the same name.
(Close by can be found a large standing stone of the same place name.  Bottom image.)

The two square entrance stones sit in front of two smaller pointed stones.
The large axial stone (which leans towards the circle) is 1.6 metres in lenght and
just under 1 metre in height.
The diameter of the circle is 3.5 metres.

The circle may be aligned to the sun-set on the winter solstice.
It is also claimed that Rylane circle was once a seven stone circle.

Acceess:- The site is just under 2kms from Rylane village on your left just past a farm entrance.
You will not be able to see the circle from the road but you will be able to see
the large standing stone of Rylane.
The circle is a short walk to the west of the standing stone.

If I was to have one quibble about Rylane it would be that a number of
loose stones have been thrown inside the circle.
Cleaned up this would make Rylane close to perfect.