Friday, January 16, 2015

Annaghdown Castle

The recently restored castle of Annaghdown can be found on the eastern shore of Lough Corrib.

The castle is said to date back to the 14th Century and is thought to have been built by the O'Flaherty clan, or depending where you read it may have been the Archbishop of Tuam in 1421.

When built the castle was used to control lake traffic to and from Galway city as roadways were not built until much later.

The original castle is said to have been five stories high with a murder hole.
What you see today looks to be four stories high.

Ray Cook of Galway bought the castle from Lady Cusack-Smith for £2.000 in the 1970's.
What can be seen today is the result of the restoration carried out by Ray and family in a later style than the original castle.

Access - The castle is a short drive from Corrandulla.
You will be able to see the site peeping above a line of tree's as you near the village of Annaghdown.
The castle is on private land, so please make sure to ask for permission to visit the site.  


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Inishkeen Round Tower

The round tower of Inishkeen is all that remains from an early Christian site which is said to date as far back as the 6thCentury.
The monastery was founded by St Daig who was a student of St Ciaran at Clonmacnoise.
The site was burned in 789 AD, plundered in 948 AD and burned again in 1166 AD. 
The tower is thought to date between the last two attacks and is dated to the 10th Century.

What you find today is a much altered tower which rises to a height of just over 12 meters.
The plain doorway is 4 meters from the base.

This is a tower which has had a pretty rough time down through the years with having some of it's height removed so a bell could be fitted and having a door knocked through at ground level.
The damage sustained has been repaired with the last repairs carried out in the early seventies.

Access - The tower is located in the village of Inishkeen in a well kept graveyard.
Parking close by is tricky so park on the main street and walk down by the school to the tower.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Proleek Portal Tomb & Wedge Tomb

The well known Proleek Portal and Wedge Tomb have to be quite unique in that they are located on a golf course.

The super looking and impressive portal tomb rises to a height of 3.5 meters.
It's massive capstone is just under 4 meters in length and over 3 meters in width.
The capstone is said to weigh 35 tons.
The two front stones are over 2 meters in height.
The third stone has had a mixture of cement and smaller stones pasted onto it in an effort to stabilise the tomb - but it is done in a very crude way.

To reach the portal tomb you have to walk past the lesser known wedge tomb of proleek.
This great little tomb is over 6 meters in length and over 1 meter in width.
The slightly narrower end is covered by two roof stones.
This is a really well put together tomb which on it's own would be well worth seeking out.
So to get a super portal tomb so close by is very special.

Access - The two sites can be walked to from the car park of the Ballymacscanlan Hotel (just off the R173).
The pathway is signposted and the walk through the golf course to the sites takes about 10 minutes.      

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Kilcullen South Stone Pair

I was lucky enough to spot this fine stone pair while looking for a nearby stone circle.
The two stones sit high on a rise looking down on Rylane valley.

Where once it is claimed stood four stones, now only two remain.
One of these stones has a very worn Ogham inscription (bottom image).
The inscription is said to read ' Luguduc Maqi Maqi Occi '.

The two stones are similar in size and shape with both over the 1.3 mark in height.
The wider stone of the two being  the unmarked stone.

Access - The stone pair is very easy to spot as you drive by,
Once you have negotiated the cattle gate you are left with a small climb up to the stones.   

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ferrycarrig Castle

Ferrycarrig Castle has to be one of the most photographed Norman Castle's in Ireland.
This four storey ruin sits high and proud on a rocky outcrop on the north side of the river Slaney.

It would appear that Ferrycarrig had another earlier castle, which was located across the main road around the area where the Heritage park is now.

Ferrycarrig Castle dates back to the 15thCentury and was built by the Roche family.
Built to aid the defence of the river ferry and other traffic on the Slaney.
The ferry was of huge importance to the area as a bridge was not built until 1795.

Across from the castle is a round tower (covered in scaffolding at the moment) this is not an early Christian tower but one that was built in 1858 in memory of the men from Wexford who lost their lives in the Crimean War.

Access - The castle is located right beside the N11 and next door to the hotel of the same name.
The site has it's own car park with lovely kept grounds around the castle, seating and benches are also available beside the ruin. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Kilmacduagh Monastery

St Colman's Church (Templebeg MacDuagh)

The Cathedral (Templemore Mac Duagh)
The Church of St John the Baptist (Teampuill Owen)
Teampuill Owen and Glebe House

St Mary's Church (Temple Mary)

The O'Heyne's Church

The stunning Kilmacduagh monastery was founded by St Colman in the 7thCentury.

Famed as the tallest round tower in Ireland Kilmacduagh is 34 meters in height with the doorway set 7 meters above ground level.
The walls at the base are said to be just under 2 meters in thickness. 
The tower is dated from the 12th Centurty. 
The tower has quite a visible lean to it - said to be 0.5 meter from the vertical.

The biggest church building on the site is the cathedral ( Templemore Mac Duagh). dated between the 11th and 12th Century. Not having too much time and the fact the gate into the the cathedral was locked I was unable to get a close up of the interior.

The Church of St John the Baptist (Teampuill Owen) is in the field next to cathedral.  
It dates from the 10th Century which would make this church the oldest building on the site.

The Glebe House is in the same field as Teampuill Owen. 
Dated the 14th Century it is thought to have been the Abbots living quarters.
The building has a real fortified look to it. 
For closer inspection a key can be obtained from a local B&B to visit the inside.

The building in the foreground of the lead image is St Colman's church (Templebeg MacDuagh). 
Information is pretty hard to come by about this church.
To be honest only that I was looking for something a bit different for the tower shot I don't think I would have come across this church.

St Mary's church (Temple Mary)13th Century is divided from the rest of the site by a road. 
For those with more time a key can be got from the above mentioned local B&B to explore more.

Located at the furthest point from the round tower is The O'Heyne's Church 13th Century. 
Again this church was locked up on the day of my visit but looks to have some very nice features inside.

Access - Kilmacduagh is a short drive from Gort, Co Galway.  
The site is signposted with plenty of parking available. 
You will see the site from a long way off due to the round tower.  


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Annadorn Dolmen

The romantic in me would prefer to call Annadorn a portal tomb.
This is said as the evidence of what the site was would seem to make a better case for Annadorn originally being a passage tomb. There is a written account of a visit in 1802 that states that the site of Annadorn formerly sat beneath a large rectangular cairn over 18 meters in diameter and was approached by a lintelled passage.

What you can see today is a large impressive cap that sits on a rectangular chamber of many small stones with three large side stones that can clearly seen (even when the grass is overgrown).

Annadorn (which is signposted) is located a short drive from the A2 road.
Although the sites enclosure is on a bad bend on the road, parking can be found quite close leaving you a with a small climb up the steps to the site.