Thursday, January 28, 2016

Cashelkeelty Stone Circles & Stone Row.

Getting to this site requires a good bit of effort and quite a bit of spare time.
For making the trip you will be rewarded with two stone circle's, a stone alignment and superb striking scenery surrounding you.

Cashelkeelty South East  (images 1-3)
The first part of this site was a five stone, stone circle (only three still stand).
With the two portal stones missing the axial stone is the biggest of the three - 1.5 meters in length and 0.5m in height.
The two side stones are slightly taller than the axial stone at 0.7m but shorter in length at 0.8m.
The diameter of the circle is close to 2 meters.
This site was excavated in the 1970's.

Beside this circle is a three stone row over 6 meters in length  (images 2-3).
It is thought that this alignment may have had four stones originally. 
The tallest of the stones is close to 3 meters in height.

Cashelkeelty North West  (images 4-6)
This circle is said to have had twelve stones originally but only three remain standing, with a fourth fallen very close to the standing ones.
The tallest of the three stones is close to 2.5 meters in height. 

Access - As mentioned getting to these sites will take a bit of time, parking can be found just off the R571 (after you pass through Lauragh). The site is signposted on the main road.
Climbing over a small stile the walk will bring you up through a forest via a nice waterfall.
Reaching the top of the trees you will climb over another stile and turn right (again signposted).
This starts another climb along a good pathway but a steep one (this part of the walk forms part of the stunning Beara way.
After a climb that seems to be not ending any time soon the South East circle comes into view with the North West circle just a bit further on.   


Friday, January 15, 2016

Roscrea Round Tower

St Cronan founded the monastery in Roscrea in the late 6th Century (He died in the early part of the 7th Century).
The site was chosen as it formed part of the ancient route between Tara and Cashel.  
The tower dates from the 11th Century.
It is 20 meters high and made from sandstone.
The plain doorway is close to 2.5 meters from ground level.
The tower also has 3 windows.
The earliest mention of the round tower is when it was struck by lightning in 1131.

Across a very busy main road - but not early on a Sunday morning is the Romanesque 12th Century St Cronan's church (image 4).
What you can see in the picture is sadly all that is left of what must have been a stunning site.

Access - The tower and church are right beside the old Dublin to Roscrea main road (N62) just before you enter the town.
Parking can be found pretty easy within walking distance.     


Thursday, December 3, 2015

An Seisear Stone Row / Alignment

This superb sites name translates to mean "The Six" but as you can see one of these giants has fallen. The five that remain are nothing short of breath taking. The sheer size and shape of these stones is just stunning.

The alignment is over 11 meters in length.
The 2 biggest stones are located at each end and both are close to the 3 meter mark in height.
The inner stones are an equally impressive 2 meters in height.

The setting for this site is slightly spoiled by the closeness of a plantation of trees quite close to the stones.

Access - The alignment can be seen from the Bweeng/Coachford road (R619).
Parking can be found close to the entrance gate into the field.
From the road the site looks quite small but as you walk up the field and near the stones you begin to realise how impressive and special this alignment is.    

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Moyry Castle

The very striking ruin of Moyry Castle is a must see if you find yourself visiting any of the many sites in County Armagh.
The castle was built by Lord Mountjoy in 1601.
The castle had great importance as it was built to help oversee and secure the ancient route between Leinster and Ulster.

Among the features of the castle are rounded corners, many gun loops and a drop hole positioned above the doorway.
The walls of the castle are over a meter in thickness with the only remaining part of the outer wall close to 3 meters in height.

The inner of the castle is a shell with no sign of a stairway.

Access - The castle is very visible as a result of being built on a hill.
Parking can be a bit tricky as the surrounding roads are quite narrow. 


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Old Kilcullen Round Tower

The Old Kilcullen monastic site dates back to the 5th Century.
St Patrick founded the monastery and placed it in the care of St MacTail (Died 548).

The site was attacked by Vikings in 736 and again in 944.

The round tower is thought to date back to the 11th Century.
The tower is close to 11 meters in height, with the round headed doorway close to 2 meters from ground level.
A drawing from 1792 shows the tower in a more complete state.
Old Kilcullen's tower was reduced to its present state in the 1798 rebellion.

The site also has the very small remains of a Romanesque church (dated later than the tower).
Sadly all that remains of the church today is the base walls.

Old Kilcullen also boasts the shaft's of two high crosses,  the shaft closest to the tower has some lovely detail the other taller shaft at the back of the graveyard is very worn and I could not make out any details.
The site also has the base of another high cross.

The setting and location for Old Kilcullen could not be better, quite and peaceful with stunning views of the surrounding Kildare countryside.

Access - The site is signposted and a short drive from the N78, parking can be found beside the site leaving you a short walk up an avenue to the graveyard.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Tawnatruffaun Portal Tomb

The superb portal tomb of Tawnatruffaun is a must see if you find yourself in County Sligo.
The tomb which is also known as The Giant's Griddle is fittingly located in a very open clearing on a small rise.

The slab like capstone is close to 3 meters in length and it rest's on two similar portal stones 1.5 meters high.
One of the side stones has been removed but like the boundary wall built either side of the tomb it in no way takes away from this great site.

Tawnatruffaun like Ireland's other great tombs will keep you longer at the site than you probably  expected.

Unusual for one of my Blog post these images were taken of an evening time - most  of my site visits happen on the way to work so mornings tend to be the majority.  
So as an added bonus I had the  company of my son Daire, who got to see his first tomb up close.  

Access - The tomb is visible from the road, you walk across a field to the site. 
The ground close to and around the tomb looks like it could be quite boggy after wet weather.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Burnchurch Castle

Burnchurch Castle is a 15th Century Norman tower house that has aged very well.
Built by the Burnchurch branch of the Fitzgerald family, little of the history of the castle is known.  
The castle is six storeys high and was originally connected to a walled courtyard.
The turret like tower to the left of the castle still has part of a wall showing at the base.  

The interior has a vault under the castle with the main chamber built above it.
Access to the upper floors is via a curved staircase, which is built inside the walls.
Also within the walls are a number of passages which include a secret room on the fourth floor.

The castle was occupied until 1817 and came into state care in 1993 and is now listed as a National Monument.

Access - The site although very close to the road is located on a bad bend.
Parking can be found to one side of the entrance (on a working farm), leaving a small walk to the castle.