Friday, September 12, 2014

Glantane East Stone Circle

The stone circle of Glantane East is one of two such named circle's.
The other circle by the same name is said to be harder to find as it located amongst a group of trees.

This circle consists of six stones that are still standing.
The circle may once have had between eleven and thirteen stones.
The diameter of the circle is close to 4.5 meters.

There are two large pillar stones which were resurrected as recent as 1994 by the
Office of Public Works - one of these has fallen since then.
The upright pillar is close to 4 meters with the fallen one 3 meters in length.

Access - The circle can be seen from the road despite the field it is in being banked.
Once you have negotiated the electric fence you are left with a short walk to the site.

I have read Glantane East described elsewhere as a mess, this I find harsh as this site still has presence.
You also have the bonus of a tomb quite close by.          

Friday, September 5, 2014

Barnaderg Castle

The name Barnaderg comes from the Irish Bearna Dhearg meaning "red gap"
The castle dates back to the 16thCentury and is claimed to have been one of the last castles built in Ireland.
Built by Malachy O'Kelly, Barnaderg and the surrounding areas were known to be a stronghold of the O'Kelly clan.

The castle is said at one time to have had a draw bridge, seeing how saturated the land around the ruin can be most of the year it is pretty easy to visualize how this would have looked.

Access - The castle is located just outside the village of Barnaderg on the R332, parking can be found roadside.
Apart from the mostly flooded fields, cattle would seem to be a regular feature in and around the site.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Eightercua Stone Row

Eightercua is without doubt my favourite stone row in Ireland.
Ireland may have bigger stone rows with more standing stones in them but the buzz that I have got both times when coming around the final bend on the N70 and seeing Eightercua is like spotting four really good friends that have been waiting for you.

This was a revisit to this site as when I first saw Eightercua it was a pretty dire day weather wise.
This visit was only a partial success as the site was undergoing what looked to be a pretty extensive dig that as you can see from the images it has come right up to the stones.

The stone row is about 7.5 meters in length.
The tallest of the stones is close to 3 meters in height with the smallest of the stones just over 2 meters in height.

At the base of the stones is what looks like a wall which has led some to think that the stones were part of a large chamber.
The enclosure that comes out from the stones is very visible and is about 15 meters in diameter.

Access - Eightercua can be seen from both ways on the N70. Parking is a problem as the lane ways around the site are very narrow and most of the property's close by are lived in.
So be careful you don't block someone in.   


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dunmore Castle

The impressive Dunmore Castle sits on a small hillock partially surrounded by large trees almost keeping it hidden from the main road.

The first castle on this site was built by the de Birmingham family in the 13th Century.
Dunmore was attacked and burned by the O' Connors in 1249.
The castle came under attack again in 1284 from the forces of Fichra O' Flynn.
In 1315 Dunmore was once again in conflict with Rory O'Connor.

The castle was re built in the early 14th century and a lot of what is visible today dates from this time.
An additional 2 floors were built on in the 16th Century.

What you can see today is five stories high.
A ground floor entrance (the original was on the second floor) brings you inside to the empty shell of a ruin.

Access - The castle is located a short drive from the village of Dunmore (R328), parking can be found roadside within walking distance. 


Saturday, August 16, 2014

Staigue Stone Fort

Staigue Stone Fort is another of County Kerry's historical gems.
The fort can be found just off the main Sneem Waterville road, about 8 kilometres from Sneem.

The Stone Fort sits between rugged hills, with the view to the south opening up to Kenmare bay.

The forts walls are 5.5 meters in height and 4 meters thick at the base.
The diameter of the interior is over 27 meters. The inside has two small oval chambers 2 meters in height.
The entrance is under 2 meters in height, the passage is roofed with large double lintels.

The walls can be climbed via a series of crossed steps, you are asked not to walk along the top of the fort (but this seemed to be ignored by the majority on my visit).

The exact dating of the fort is unknown. It is thought to have been built pre St Patrick.
Doctor Peter Harbison ( never leave home without his "Guide to National and Historic Monuments of Ireland") suggests it may even date as far back as the first Century.

Access - The fort is well signposted from the main road, parking is available for several cars. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

Inch Abbey County Down

The vast ruins of  Inch Abbey can be found on the north bank of the Quoile River.
The Abbey was founded by John de Courcy in atonement for his destruction of Erenagah Abbey.

The abbey was colonized by monks from Furness Abbey, England in 1187.
What remains of the abbey shows a typical Cistercian layout with the shape of a large cruciform architectural plan.
The Abbey is built on the site of an earlier pre-Norman church called Inis Cumhscraigh.
Vikings plundered the site in 1002 and again in 1149.
Some of the original large earthworks which survive  can be seen today from the air.

What remains of the abbey today are buildings that are dated mainly from the late 12th Century and the 13th Century.

Other well known sites that are linked with John de Courcy include the castles of Carrickfergus and Dundrum  along with Grey Abbey.

Access - The abbey is well signposted from Downpatrick.
Parking is available for several cars close to the abbey.
Expect to make a furry friend or two while at the site as the grounds around the abbey are very popular with dog walkers.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Legananny Portal Tomb

One of Northern Ireland's most famous megalithic sites is County Downs Legananny Portal Tomb.

This really has to be one of the most striking tombs I have ever seen with the Mourne mountains providing a superb backdrop.

The tripod tomb has a long narrow capstone which is over 3 meters in length.
The front two portal stones are 1.8 meters in height and the back stone is over 1 meter in height.
One of the front stones has an L shaped cut from the top of the stone (which is thought to be original).

Some stones remain around the base from what would been a more extensive cairn.
The name Legananny comes from "Aines standing stone" Aines being an Irish goddess.

Access - The site is signposted from the A50 Castlewellan to Banbridge road.

Parking for a couple of cars is available and leaves you with a very short walk to the tomb.