Thursday, December 12, 2013

Boherboy Stone Pair

This great little stone pair can be found right beside the road on the main Tallaght Saggart B82 road.

I remember having these stones pointed out to me many years ago (family living close by) and in the intervening years I have driven by them many times until this summer I finally pulled over for a closer look.
The pair are known locally as Adam and Eve and they do have a real male female look about them.
The bigger stone Eve is 1.3 meters high with the angled Adam stone just slightly smaller.

Access - the stones are located in a field which is beside a bad bend on the road.
A little further down the road towards Saggart is a wide kerbside where it is safe to park and then walk back up to the site.
The stones can be seen clearly from the road and the gate into the field is very close to the stone pair. 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Corluddy Castle

Corluddy Castle sometimes referred to as Grants Castle sits proud on a hill overlooking the river Suir.
This ivy covered five storey ruin is said to have the mortar that built it mixed with blood.
The castle dates back to the Norman period and was in the care of the Grant family until it was taken by Cromwell in the mid 16th Century.

Corluddy has a stone stair case which is intact for the most part (I could not check this out as the base inside the castle was like a quagmire).
Without doubt the best claim I came across about Corluddy is that an underground  tunnel ran from here to the close by Grannagh Castle.

Access -  The easiest way to the castle is from the main N24.
The roads after that are quite narrow and twisty.
The field the castle is in sometimes has cattle or horses in it.
The ground is very uneven and rocky in parts so mind your footing.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

Ardmore Round Tower

Ardmore is not alone home to this impressive complete Round Tower, but also this superb site has a Cathedral, an Oratory and two Ogham stones.

The round tower is just under 30 meters high and is thought to date back to the 12thCentury.
The four floored tower is made of sandstone and has a total of  7 windows, with the doorway just shy of four meters from ground level.
The cap of the tower is not the original - the replacement gives the tower looking like something that is about to take off from NASA.

St Declans Oratory (second last image on right) which gets its name from the 5thCentury saint is said to be the site of his grave. 
The church which is said to be the oldest structure on the site was restored by the Bishop of Waterford  Thomas Mills in 1716. 

The Cathedral dated 12thCentury has on its west gable panels which depict some scenes from the bible.
Inside the cathedral you will find two Ogham stones located in sheltered spots protected from the elements.

Access - Because of the tower you will see this site well in advance. 
It is well signposted from the N25 Dungarvan Youghal road.
The R673 will bring you right up to the tower. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Castle Hackett

The original ruin of Castle Hackett dates back to the 13th Century, most of the features to be seen today date from the 16th Century.

The Hackett family arrived with the Normans in the 15th Century and the O'Flahertys who were residents were forced to relocate to other lands close by in Connermara.

The upper two stories were added in the 16th Century and parts of that remodelling you can spot peaking out from the densely Ivy covered ruin today.

The castle was occupied until the beginning of the 17th Century and has been abandoned since.  

Access - The ruin can be spotted from the R333, parking can be found just off a bad bend on your left coming from Tuam.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Kilclooney More Portal Tombs

Ask anyone with an interest in portal tombs to name their top five favorite sites and I would be very surprised if the magnificent Kilclooney More Portal Tomb was not in that top five list - maybe even No 1.

The weather on the day of my visit was not great, but the walk to the tomb knowing I was going to get to see a site at the top of my wish list soon made me forget all about the showers and very soft going under foot.

This tomb like so many others changes so much as you walk around it and yet Kilclooney still has that little bit more.
The capstone is over 4 meters in length and is close to 4 in width the tomb rises to height of just under 2 meters, this all comes together with its shape and angle to make this site so special.

Just a handful of meters away (as you can see in some of the images and small image at the bottom) is a much smaller tomb.
It is claimed the small tombs capstone only became dislodged as recent as the early part of the 1900s. 

The two tombs are thought to have once been part of the same cairn, to be very honest I am glad there is little left of the cairn as this makes the tombs really standout on the landscape.

Access if you park at the Dolmen Centre (make sure you call in and try their home made scones, that will be the second highlight of your day) located just off the R261, from there you are left with a 15 to 20 minute walk to the tomb which is visible from the road.   


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dromatouk Standing Stones

Located a very short distance from  Dromatouk Stone Circle  you can find Dromatouk Standing Stones.
There are three stones with the centre stone being the real eye catcher of the set.
The middle stone (rectangle in shape) is just under 2.5 meters in height and has an ogham inscription on its side.
The stones either side are much smaller with the one on the side of the circle looking like it has been moved at some stage.

To find the standing stones you follow the same route as the circle.
The stones are very visible on your right.
I have read in some posts that the field that contains the standing stones sometimes has cattle in it.
Like the circle, the time of the year (and weather) when you visit this site will probably determine how difficult your trek will be.  

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lavallyconnor Castle

Lavallyconnor Castle is one of Galway's many castles, but perhaps not as well known as others.    
The castle is four stories high but has been much altered down through the years.
The chimney serves a fireplace on the second floor.
The castle is pretty much featureless - the only other detail I could see were the battlements in the second image.

The name of Lavallyconor comes from the Irish Leathbaile Ui Chonchubhair the translation of which is "O’Conor’s half town".

The ruin is located on a working farm, the road to which takes you right by the farm house.
I was lucky enough to meet the farmers wife who gave me permission to get closer to the castle.

Access:- Lavallyconor is a few minutes drive from the R347, the roads are quite narrow but you will see the ruin well in advance.
When you click on the location it gives the site out as being in Parkbaun but it falls just on the side of Lavallyconor town land.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Bocan Stone Circle

When first spotted from the road my expectations for this circle left me in a rush to get up closer for a better look. 
Sad to report this circle now has only 7 stones left standing and is pretty much a mess (see bottom image) !!.

Originally the 20 meter wide circle was thought to have 30 stones, in 1816 there were 12 stones still standing so recent times have really not been kind to this site.

Of what remains the tallest of the stones is around the 2 meter mark in height (from the 4 on the east side of the circle) the remaining 3 stones (on the west side) are smaller and are close to 1.5 meters in height.

Bocan stone circle will leave you disappointed due to the state of the site, but I would still recommend a visit for superb views.  It would not take much imagination to visualize what a stunning site this once was.

Access:-   You can see the main stones of the circle from the R238, parking will be anywhere you can find just off the main road.
From there you can reach the circle by climbing up  to the top of a field, when you get to the top you can see the circle very well.
To get closer to the circle you will need to scale a new barbed wire fence.     
Big thanks to Patrick McCann with putting this weeks images together (they were a bit like the circle). 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Grianán of Aileach

Grianan of Aileach has got to be in the top five for locations of historic sites in Ireland.
The views from all round are nothing short of stunning, Lough Foyle, Lough Swilly and miles upon miles of superb landscapes of the Inishowen Peninsula.

The cashel is over 23 meters in diameter, with the walls near 4 meters in width and reaching up to 5 meters in height.
The walls have 3 interior walkways and can be reached by several stairways.

The history of the site of Grianán of Aileach is thought to date back to 1700 BC.
It is linked to the legend of Tuatha de Danann, who invaded Ireland before the Celts.
The original cashel is thought to have been built between the 5th - 10th Century's.

The Grianán of Aileach has undergone many transformations in its history.
Dismantled by the warriors of Murtogh O Brien - who ordered his men to take away the remains stone by stone.
Later came the (much maligned) 1837 reconstruction work of Dr. Bernard.
More recently there was a controversial stabilization scheme (which was even more maligned) undertaken by the OPW in 2007.

Grianán of Aileach may have many critics as it is very different to the well known Cahergal Stone Fort
But for all the restoration work carried out this is still a quite stunning site that I would strongly recommend.

Access: The site is very well signposted from the N13 (and can be seen well in advance) parking is not a problem.                  

Friday, October 4, 2013

Dysart O'Dea Round Tower and Church

The Round Tower and Church of  Dysart O'Dea dated 12th Century, can be found in a lovely setting just a short drive from Ennis Co Clare.

The round tower rises to over 14 and a half meters (at its highest point).
The doorway is 4.5 meters from the base and is arched with six blocks.
There are two slit windows at ground level (a patch up job ?), which give you a good view of the inside.

The stand out feature of the church is the Romanesque doorway.
There are 19 stones in this arch which are carved with twelve human heads and nine heads of animals. 
The present church stands on the site of an early Christian monastery founded by St. Tola in the 8th century.

The site also has a High Cross to the east of the church, which I was unable to photograph due to it being 'guarded' by a prize bull.

The site is signposted from the R476 and from that you take a narrow road which brings you to the tower and church. 

Parking is not a problem.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Burt Castle

Burt Castle stands proud on a hill called castlehill overlooking Lough Swilly.
The castle is thought to have been built  in the the 16th Century, during the reign of Henry VIII.  
Coinage which dates from Henry VIII's era & with the armorial bearings of The O'Doherty's has been found close by. 

The three storied castle is built from rough rubble and all of the inner floors have fallen in. 
The quadrangular structure has circular towers at its alternate angles, with the walls said to be 1.5 meters thick at the base.
The towers can be climbed with some care and give you an idea as to why Burt still stands strong.

The ruin is on private land.
I came off the N13 - the main Derry Letterkenny  road, (castle can be seen from this road).
I managed to come at the castle from the side, so a stiff climb, a ditch, some nettles and a barbed wire fence accounted for the first field  with the second field similar but without the stiff climb.   


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Gortnavern Portal Tomb

Gortnavern is a stunner of a tomb and although the capstone has slipped back it is being kept in place by one of the side stone's that has fallen in.
The long thin capstone is over 3 and a half meters long and the two portal stones are 2 meters in height.
This tomb gives you many different shapes when viewed from all sides, and all of them are very striking.

Gortnavern's real problem (apart from access) is the gorse growing all around the tomb, to give you an idea how bad this is - if you look at the small image I was stood in the open patch just below the tomb " but I could not see any part of the tomb ".

This is where your going to have some fun !

This tomb can be tackled in a couple of ways, and both of them are far from easy !!
The way I found this tomb I could only recommend if you are willing to battle it out.

I saw no sign's for this tomb so I got lucky when the tomb was spotted from the car driving up the road.
I came at the site from the East which involved crossing a strong stream and then battling my way through some gorse to finally arrive at the tomb.
Leaving the site I could not find the part of the stream that I crossed at, so I walked alongside the stream back down towards a farmhouse where I met the farmer who very kindly drove me back up to my car.