Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ferns Round Tower

Ferns round tower is a rare type of round tower to be found in Ireland but is not unique.
The majority of Ireland's towers are free standing but there are exceptions to this, examples can be found in such places as Glendalough (St Kevins)  and Killashee (Kildare).

The overall look of Ferns tower would also remind you of the free standing tower of Kinneigh which has a hexagonal base and gives way to the more traditional round section.

The tower here has a square base and rises to a height of over 18 meters.
The top of the tower has four square lintelled windows.  It also contains several defence slit openings.

The site of Ferns originally dates back to the 7th Century when it was founded by St Aiden.
Ferns was attacked by Vikings in the 9th and 10th Centuries.

The round tower is part of St Mary's Abbey which was founded by Diarmuid MacMurrough in the 12th Century.

The Ferns site also has a 13th Century cathedral and four high crosses one of which (only the base/shaft remaining) is said to mark the grave of  Diarmuid MacMurrough.

Access - parking can be found quite close to the site.
The tower can be accessed via the cathedral (to the left of the tower image no 2). 

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Reanascreena Stone Circle

The superb stone circle of Reanascreena had been on my wish list of sites to visit ever since seeing images of the circle on the great Megalithic Ireland web site.

The Circle has twelve stones which are all over one meter in height.
The two portal stones (image 2 on the right) are slightly higher than the circles other stones.
The circle is aligned ENE-WSW and the circle has a diameter of just over 9 meters.

A feature I did not see on the day of my visit was the quartz stone in the middle of the circle. 

The circle has fencing quite close to the stones (which makes getting close ups of the stones impossible) this may be to protect the stones as Horses are sometimes kept in the sites field.

Reanascreena is truly a special site.
My visit was a bit rushed due to work but I would hope to make a return visit sometime in the future.

The site was excavated from 1959-69 by Fahy.

Access - The circle is not visible from the road.
I spoke to a farmer who gave me the directions.
Enter the first field via the gate to the right of the bungalow, walk up the field to the top of the hill and the circle is in the next field on your left.   

Friday, April 28, 2017

Bruree Castle (aka Ballynoe)

The ivy covered ruin of Bruree Castle can be found in the beautifully kept Ballynoe graveyard.

The ruin according to a badly damaged plaque at the entrance to the graveyard states the castle is also know as Ballynoe Castle.  

The castle would also appear to be referred to occasionally as the higher castle as it is built on high ground overlooking the village of Bruree - with the Maigue River flowing just below it and there are some other castle's situated close by on lower ground once owned by the De Lacy's.

Bruree castle is dated to the 14th Century (the claim that the Knights Templars built this castle in the 12th century is unsupported).

Cromwell's troops took the castle in the 15th Century and apart from that not much else is known about the history of the castle.
Indeed if you put Ballynoe Castle into a search engine you will find out about a champion show jumping horse with an unusual condition.     

Today the ruin has fencing protecting the open lower part of the castle (image 5) which prevents the ruin from being further explored.

Access - The castle is very visible as you enter Bruree.  
Parking can be found in the lane way that brings you up the graveyard. 


Friday, March 31, 2017

Drumbo Round Tower

Drumbo Round Tower is all that remains of an early Christian site, which originally dated back to the times of St Patrick.  

The tower rises to a height of just over 10.6 meters.  The doorway is 1.5 meters from ground level (which is very low for a round towers doorway).

Inside the tower, beam holes are visible indicating that the towers floors were of timber.

Records show the tower was severely damaged in the 11th Century.

Restoration work has been carried out on the tower with the top rebuilt in the 18th Century.

Access - The tower can be found within the grounds of the local Presbyterian church.
Parking can be found within a short walk to the graveyard and tower.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Knocknaneirk SW Stone Circle

When you arrive at Knocknaneirk SW Stone Circle, the site looks to have a real wow factor about it.
Sadly as get closer you will see the circle is missing a number of stones on the south side.  

From the stones that remain it looks like the circle would have had a diameter close to 15 meters.

The stones that survive vary between 1.3 meters and 1.5 meters in height.

The area this circle is located in has many other sites close by, but this circle is still worth seeking out as the remaining stones have a nice character about them.

Access - The circle can be seen from the road.
Parking can be found beside the wooden gate which leads into the site.

In other images I have seen of this site it would appear that cattle are sometimes kept here.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Kilmallock Round Tower

This much altered round tower is all that remains from an earlier site that dates back to the
7th Century Monastery built by St Mocheallog.

The round tower is dated sometime between the 10th and 11th Century and has now the later west wall of the church built around it.

The towers original stone work can be best viewed from outside the church at the base (image 2).

From a couple of meters up the tower changes in masonry and appearance, with the medieval work carried out on the tower becoming more obvious the higher you go.

The round tower of Kilmallock has been much altered and as a result is very different from other towers to be found in Ireland.

The Collegiate Church which is dedicated to St Peter and St Paul was built in the 13th Century.

As I was stuck for time on the day of my visit and was intent on making the tower shots a priority I did not get to explore the church or any of the other great sites in Kilmallock.

Access - The tower is located just off the main street in Kilmallock, the streets are narrow but parking can be found without great difficulty.     


Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Srah Castle

The striking but dangerous ruin of Srah Castle can be found a short walk from Tullamore town along the Grand Canal.

Built in 1588 by John Briscoe (an Elizabethan officer from Cumberland).

The four storey tower is 20 meters high and has the ruin of a 17th Century house attached on the NW corner.

Some of the features of this ruin are a Bartizan, gun loops and a Machicolation (which was used for dropping rocks and boiling liquids on attackers of the castle) Image 6 shows these features.

Despite being well fortified the castle was badly damaged in 1650 in the Cromwell campaigns.

The inside of the ruin has a broken spiral staircase (image 3) this may have been broken recently on safety grounds.

Access - The castle can be spotted as you walk along the canal, an easy enough fence to climb brings you into the field where the ruin is.