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.

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.