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ROCKS AND CASTLES

Cashel, Limerick and Clonmel

David's next job was in Clonmel, so on the way down from Galway we stopped at the Rock of Cashel, a rocky stronghold rising dramatically out of the Tipperary plain.
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View out over the plain below

View out over the plain below

It was absolutely freezing up there, and we had to abandon the outdoor guided tour before the end, as we thought we would die! We did learn a lot about Irish history from the video presentation in a room which was lovely and warm.
From the 4th century it was the seat of the Kings of Munster. In 1101 they handed Cashel over to the Church, and it flourished as a religious centre until Cromwell massacred its occupants in 1647. It seems to be a recurring theme all over Ireland; there remains very little architecture from the Middle Ages, as Cromwell destroyed so much of it. Buildings are either very old and crumbling, or from the last 200 years.
St Patrick's cross

St Patrick's cross

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Carved wooden plaque in refectory

Carved wooden plaque in refectory

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In Clonmel we stayed in an apartment above Dr Quirke's surgery overlooking the main street. At 5am many mornings, we were amazed to see the street below filled with hundreds of scavenging crows. It was quite an eerie scene!
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On Sunday we drove through to the other side of Limerick to visit Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. This tall vertical castle was a stronghold of the O'Brien clan of kings and earls in the 16th and 17th centuries. Each corner tower is 6 stories high, accessed by narrow spiral stairways. The banquet halls and bedrooms are fully furnished in period style.
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Surrounding the castle is a reconstruction of a whole medieval village,
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complete with smouldering peat fires in the hearths,
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chickens and other farm animals, and vegetable gardens.
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There is a school house, doctor's surgery, fisherman's cottage, blacksmith's forge, pawnbroker, pub and drapery. Further out there is even a tiny church and a working corn mill.
The original fold-out bed!

The original fold-out bed!


Typical Irish stone wall

Typical Irish stone wall

Old farm implements

Old farm implements

The peasants were obviously much shorter people!

The peasants were obviously much shorter people!

On Good Friday we headed down beyond Cork to the pretty seaside village of Kinsale. By reputation it claims to be Ireland's centre of good food; unfortunately we chose to have lunch in the Armada Bar, the one place that served bad food! Kinsale has been a thriving port and centre of commerce and fishing for many centuries. It was known as the first port of call for ships sailing across from America.
View of Kinsale

View of Kinsale

Out towards the forts and the sea

Out towards the forts and the sea

Being such a strategic port, explains the presence of several castles and forts to protect it. Charles Fort, on a hill overlooking the bay, is a fine example of a star shaped fort with a magnificent view.
View of Kinsale from Charles Fort

View of Kinsale from Charles Fort

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There are a couple of locals who offer an excellent guided walking tour of Kinsale, for which we were unfortunately too late. Next time!

The rest of the Easter weekend David had to work at the afterhours Caredoc facility. On Easter Monday we had a long drive up to NE Ireland to work in the tiny village of Clogherhead on the Irish Sea.

Posted by davidsandi 07:50 Archived in Ireland

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