Friday, December 14, 2012

Killala Round Tower

Killala Round Tower is one of Co Mayo's five round towers.
Thought to have been built in the 12th Century the tower stands 52 meters high.

The original monastic foundation here probably dates back to the 5th century, when Saint Patrick appointed Muiredach as first bishop of Killala.

The tower was struck by lightning at some stage in the 19th century, the repairs have left quite a bulge on the side of the tower (above the doorway on the left).

The tower is very easy to find you will see it before you reach Killala, parking is no problem on any of the side streets.

Photographing it is another matter, the image above was taken stood upright balancing on the back of a bench with my nephew Conan holding onto my legs.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Knockanyconor Portal Tomb

Knockanyconor Portal Tomb can be found just off the N61 in the town of Lecarrow.
As you can see many other stones lay close by the Portal tomb.
This site is a bit of a mess but still a very striking mess.
The tombs entrance faces east.
The partially collapsed capstone which is 2.4m in length and 1.8m in width rests on two portal stones 1.4 in height.
This site is also known as Nellies big rock, the name comes from the the story of a woman in the 19th century who reared a child under the capstone.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Ross Errilly Friary

This Franciscan friary is known as the biggest and best preserved in Ireland.
The original site dates back to 1351 and was founded by the de Burghs, a local Norman family.
History shows that it was the mid 1750's before the monks finally left the Friary.
In the intervening years the Friary fell in and out of the monks hands for various reasons such as a plague, the English Reformation and Cromwell.
A lot of today's remaining structure was built in the 15th century.
Ross Errilly Friary is located a short drive from Headford Co Galway.
It is signed posted from the main street in Headford.
Parking is provided.
Depending on your luck you may have this fantastic sight to view all on your own or you could be sharing it with coach loads of tourists.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Donaghmore Church (St Farannan's church)

This 12th Century church is built on an earlier site founded by St Farannan.
The sites standout feature is the Romanesque doorway (despite missing some stones).

The church was taken into the care of the Board of Works in 1833, and around that time restoration work was carried out by Thomas Deane.

This small but striking ruin can be found just off the R689 as you travel from Fethard to Clonmel.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Athgreany Stone Circle (The Pipers Stones)

This large stone circle consists of fourteen stones, originally thought to have been seventeen.
The granite circle has a diameter of 23 meters, with the tallest stone 1.8 meters.
There are a number of other large stones close by which may have belonged to a second circle.
The circle is in a field (short walk) just off the N81 and is signposted "the pipers stones".
This is a superb circle with a wonderful atmosphere.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Brownshill Portal Tomb

Located just beside the R726 Carlow to Hacketstown road stands this giant of a portal tomb ( in a fenced off enclosure).
The capstone (estimated to weigh between 100 and 150 tons) sits on two large portal stones along with a door stone.  A fourth stone stands close by.
The date of construction has been estimated between 4,900 and 5,500 years ago.
This site has never been excavated.
For me this site me is all about the monster granite capstone - the biggest in Ireland and probably Europe.  

Friday, October 26, 2012

Carrigafoyle Castle


The stunning Carrigafoyle Castle can be found two miles north of Ballylongford in the channel between the mainland and Carrig Island.
The Castle was besieged in 1580 by Sir William Pelham for two days, during which it was heavily bombarded and destroyed.
All the occupants who survived, comprising nineteen Spanish and fifty Irish were massacred.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Ballymacdermot Court Tomb

This court tomb dates from about 3500BC and has three separate burial chambers which were entered from the forecourt.

This site was excavated in 1962 and a few fragments of cremated bone were found in the two larger chambers.

The setting for this site could not be better with fantastic views, you are also very close to Balllykeel Portal Tomb.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Aghadoe Round Tower and Church

This stub of a tower and church can be found just outside Killarney town.
The site is said to have had a monastery as early as the 7th century founded by St Finian Lobhar.
The tower along with the church is thought to date around the 12th Century, but a lot of restoration work has been carried out on this tower and as a result it is quite a mess. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Scrahanard Wedge Tomb

This wedge tomb and standing stone (with a grass covered cairn), can be found in a field which is marked by a sign as a Dolmen.
The tomb is also known as The Bealik.  The large capstone is over two metres in length and about two metes in width.
This wedge tomb is listed as a national monument, so it would be nice if the site got a clean up ( that it deserves) before the tomb is totally overgrown by the hedge.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Stone Circles of Glebe [Cong]

Circle Number 1
This is the circle that is signed from the main road.
It is quite large but the overall effect is spoiled by the thick black railing
surrounding the circle.

Circle Number 2
This circle can be found in a field behind the first circle and to the left.
Very few of the original stones remain but this circle still has a nice feel to it.

Circle Number 3
This circle is now part of someone's back garden.
On one side is a thick black railing (like circle 1) and the other side has had
a wall built right up against some of the circle stones.
This circle is located at the back of a house on the Cong side of circle number 1
(or directly behind circle number 4)

Circle Number 4
The biggest of the four circles but also the most ruined.
(perhaps a thick black railing might have been of help to this circle down through
the ages!!!!).
This circle can be found in the field behind circle number 1 (to the right) or right
behind circle number 3.

The four stone circles to be found at Glebe in Cong Co Mayo are all very different.
This site is a must see as the 4 circles are so close to each other.
Had this site been looked after down through the years, it would be nothing short of stunning.
On leaving these sites after my visit I felt "Ireland has missed a great opportunity"
All of the circles can be found in adjoining fields, with circles one and three probably easier to get to from the main road.
(note:-circle number 1 mapped).

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bweeng Wedge Tomb

This site can be found just a short drive up a farm lane way, just off the R619. 

What at first sight looks to be a stand out site, you soon find upon inspection to be a case of what might have been at one time.

The north side of the tomb looks to be in good shape, but as you get level you can see the site has suffered a landslide or two.

Bweeng is worth a visit, just don't be in a mad rush.   


Monday, July 23, 2012

Kilmogue Portal Tomb

This superb tomb is also known as Leac an Scail  which means ‘stone of the warrior’.

This portal tomb has been constructed using a large capstone resting on two large portal-stones and a pillow stone resting on a back stone.

The portal stones are around 14 ft high and the capstone reaches approx 18 ft. Its lower end rests on a smaller, horizontal stone which partly covers the chamber.

This is one of the largest tombs in Ireland and this site is an absolute must see,
another name this magic tomb may also be known by is Harristown  Dolmen.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Ballinafad Castle

Located just off the main N4 not far from Boyle, the castle is known as the Castle of the Curlews.
The castle is thought to have been built around 1590 to protect the pass over the Curlew Hills.
It was modelled on a 13th-century plan, Originally the Castle had four storeys and four towers of which three are still visible.
This ruin is well worth a visit and has easy access but beware during the winter the field can be very soft.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Castle Roche

Castle Roche is one of the most striking Anglo- Norman castles in Ireland and can be viewed for miles around. Located on a rocky hilltop, it commands wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.
Lady Rohesia de Verdun built the castle in 1236 ad.
Legend has it that Lady Rohesia promised her hand in marriage to the architect if he completed the castle to her satisfaction. When he went to claim her hand, she had him thrown from one of the windows, which to this day is known as the 'murder window'.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Mihanboy (Meehambee) Portal Tomb

When standing this would have been a giant of a tomb, but time has not been kind to this megalithic.
Despite trees and barbed wire all over the tomb, this site is still well worth the effort of a visit.
Not hard to find just follow the signs from the main Athlone /Tuam road.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Nursetown Beg Stone Row

This is all that remains from what must have been an impressive stone row, only two stones remain.
The standing one is over three metres in length.
You will find more striking stone rows in the area, but few easier to find as this one is right beside the road.