Monday, July 20, 2015

Kilcash Castle

Kilcash Castle is a fortified tower dating from the 16th century.
The five stories high tower has recently undergone some long running restoration (so the ruin is now scaffolding free for the first time in a long time).
The ruins of the adjoining hall were added at a later unknown date.

The castle is mostly associated with the Butler family who were very prominent in the surrounding area.

The castle at one stage was occupied by Lord Castlehaven a noted Confederate Catholic Commander in the 1641 - 52 war.

These days the castle is most associated with the song Caoine Cill Chaise (A Lament for Kilcash) which mourns the death Margaret Butler (1744).

Kilcash had fallen into ruin by the mid 19thCentury.
The trustees of the Ormond  estate sold the castle to the State in 1997 for £500.

The castle is signposted from the N24 (and can be seen clearly from the road).
The site as of a couple of weeks ago is still closed off - you can get up close but the castle itself is locked up very securely.   

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

The Three Friars

The Three Friars of County Kilkenny can be found standing high on a hill overlooking a crossroads of the same name. The area's name derives from the murder of 3 friars by Cromwell's soldiers in 1651.

The three granite stone alignment is just under 5 meters in length.
The tallest of the stones is over 1.2 meters in height.
All three stones are whitewashed not uncommon in Ireland for single or stone pair stones, but to my knowledge this is unusual for a stone alignment.   

Access  - The stones can be spotted quite easily from the main Mullinvat to New Ross road (R704). A good marker for the alignment is the wind turbine farm located close by.
Enter the field beside the holy well and a short climb brings you up to the stones.
Also in the field is a boulder burial.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Ballyquin Portal Tomb (Mothel Dolmen)

The setting for Ballyquin Portal Tomb aka Mothel Dolmen really could not be better.
The site can be found in rich pasture land at the bottom of a valley with a stream running close by.

The tomb although now only resting on its two front portal stones still has a great look about it.
The large capstone is over 4 meters in length and 2.5 meters in width, the depth of the capstone is close a meter.
The two portal stones are 1.5 meters in height.

A short distance away from the tomb stands a lone stone (bottom image) that is 1.5 meters in height.
This stone is thought to have belonged to another tomb that was close by but not in the present stones location.

Access - The tomb can be seen from the road, parking can be found opposite the Holy Well (the other side of the stream). The field sometimes has cattle keeping guard of the site. 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Kells Round Tower

This site is associated with St Columba (also called St Colmcille).
In 806 AD Irish monks from St Columcille’s monastery in Iona Scotland settled in Kells.

The tower is dated to the late 10th early 11th Century and is 26 meters in height.

The tower has a total of 9 windows with the bell storey accounting for 5 of the windows.
The other 4 windows are on what would have been the different floor levels of the tower.

The graveyard of St. Columba's Church has been built up on the side of the towers doorway, but if you take your measure from the road side of the tower it would place the doorway 3.6 meters from the base.

The graveyard also has four high crosses including the unfinished cross in the top image.
I hope to cover all the crosses in Kells in a future post, this will include the relocated Market Cross.

Access - The tower is very visible from the outskirts of the town.
Pay parking can be got right beside the tower.
The entrance to the graveyard is a short walk from the tower.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Clogherane Stone Row

Clogherane Stone Row really could not be in a better setting.
The two stones are situated on a flat rise over looking the bay of Kenmare with striking mountains/hills acting as a backdrop.

The stone row is aligned NNE - SSW.
The larger of the two stones is 2.6 meters in height and 1.5 meters in width at it's widest point.
The smaller stone is over 1 meter in height and just over 0.5 of a meter in width.

This site (and many others that I hope to be posting in the future) I came across as a result of Michael Mitchell's superb Blog  Walking to the stones.From Dartmoor to County Cork  .

Access - The stones are in a field that would appear to have sheep as company the majority of the time.
If you park in front of the house, on the right hand side the lane way will bring you to the stones behind the house.
Make sure not to block the lane way.    

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Kilbennan Round Tower

Kilbennan is said to have been the site of a 5th Century monastery. 
The old monastery was founded by St. Benan or Benignus, St. Patrick's successor at Armagh.

The very eye catching tower is dated to the 10th Century and is built from rough coursed limestone. 
Strangely no mention of the tower is made in the records of the burning of the site in 1114.
The tower at it's highest point is over 16 meters in height, the base is close to 5 meters in diameter.
The doorway is over 4 meters from ground level and is plain in it's design.
This tower always brings a smile to my face, as my daughter pointed out on my latest visit "the tower looks like Pacman took a bite out of it".

The church is dated to the 14th Century when the Franciscans founded a monastery on the site.

Access - The tower is visible from the R332 Tuam Ballinrobe road, parking can be found opposite the site in the more modern church car park. 


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.