Monday, August 24, 2015

Kilree Round Tower Church and High Cross

The Round Tower of Kilree could not be in a better setting.
A short drive from the M9 brings you to this peaceful slice of early Christianity.

The round tower which is capless is 28 meters in height.
The doorway is under 2 meters from the built up level of the graveyard.
The tower has 7 windows with 4 located in the bell storey.

The high cross is located at the back of the tower and graveyard, just a short walk across a field.
The cross is made of sandstone and is 2.75 meters in height.
Although well worn you can still see how beautifully the cross was once decorated.

The history of the site is somewhat unknown with both the tower and high cross thought to date back to the 9th Century.
Of the more recent history the Dean of Ossory  transferred the lands to the nearby Priory of Kells in the 13th Century.

Access - Parking is the real problem as the road beside the site is quite narrow.

Kilree is just one of those sites that makes you want to spend some time, so quite and with a really nice atmosphere.      


Friday, August 7, 2015

Gurteen Stone Circle

The superb but badly overgrown circle of Gurteen is even allowing for its present state a must see.

Eleven of the original twelve stones still stand.
This Circle also has a boulder burial stone as its centre piece.
The circle is just over 10 meters in diameter.
The stones in the circle vary in height from over 1 meter to just over 2.5 meters.

The location of this site really makes it special with scenic views all round and during my visit total silence.

Access The Circle is quite easy to find compared to other sites close by.
Park at the cattle gate (climb over) and walk up around the corner the circle will be on your Left.

Beware if visiting after rain as the ground around the site gets very bogey and cattle sometimes graze close by.

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.