Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Last of the Snow

Alas the last of the snow, back to the misery of frost, rain and wind for a while

Monday, November 29, 2010

Trees in Winter, Athenry

Galway Snow

As posted last night we had some snow, nothing compared to what some of ye may get, but quite a lot for us. The last few years the weather has been quite cold, today was -6 Centigrade which is about 5 degrees lower than we are used to. I went for a walk this morning through a couple of fields to a little farm track, there was a heavy fog which did not help.
First a couple of hedgerows.
The farm track.
Some of the plants
With the black and white landscape there was some green and a few berries stubbornly hanging on.
Again along the road
More berries, I liked the contrast.
Some gnarled and rugged hawthorn trees.
Again the track.
I liked the bird tracks as it looked like directional arrows, these were all over the place.
While these were a more ordered 2plus1 traffic flow.
Fox tracks looking for a meal, I saw him twice but he was impossible to capture.
Finally some hedgerows again.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Saturday night snow.

Taken from my back door tonight, I knew there was a reason I didn't knock this old tree.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Adare Castle, Co Limerick.

 I have given a glimpse of this Castle also known as Desmond Castle here, on a walk through the village of Adare. Sorry that there is a lot of writing but I have left out a lot and there are quite a few pictures in this.
This Anglo/Norman Castle beside the river Maigue was built just before 1200 and would have been just the Tower and the inner walls and the tower would have been a lot smaller in the begining. The outer curtain walls were built later in the 1200's, it is thought that they replaced timber palisades.There were subsequent additions until it was finally demolished in 1657 by parlimentary troops.
It changed hands a number of times during its lifetime and is liked to some interesting history, first mentioned owner was Geoffrey de Marisco who had a few castles around Ireland*. He was appointed Justicular of Ireland by King John and was accused of financial irregularities,resigned, was reappointed, then was implicated in the assassination of King Henry 3rd where he fled the country. He was also excommunicated for keeing church grounds. 
Then the FitzGeralds the Earls of Desmond got possesion of the Castle, it would have been one of many that they held throughout the country* as they were a powerfull clan. It was they who built on all the extensions the grand hall . They held the castle for 300 years until they went against the reformation of King Henry 8th after a series of rebellions the 15th Earl was defeated and their lands were forfeit to the Crown.
After loosing the castle the followers the Geraldines  or the Munster Geraldines/Desmond Geraldines staged bloody sieges on the castle, in the years  1579, 1581 and 1600. This pretty much left the castle in ruins and the parlimentary troops deismantled it enough to make it useless. This was

Click on image for better view
Gate from inside with portcullis, both of which are new but built in the original style by the Office of Public Works. Like some of the walls etc that have been restored around the site.
A view in side the grounds with a view of the bridge where the inner drawbridge would have been.
A view out the windows of the outer walls.
A view from one of the river from what would have been the guard area.
A view of one of the spiral stairs, as I might have mentioned before spiral stairs usually curve around clockwise to make it harder to attack and easier to defend if you were a right handed soldier .
Another stairs, this would have been used by servants, hence it being straight.
An oven, if memory serves me its a bread oven, there is a well to the right of the oven.
Part of the Grand hall that would have been used to have parties and entertain guests, built by the Desmonds.
The windows along the wall of the hall.
A well on the castle grounds.
Part of the moat that circled the inner walls. Where there is growth now, it once was a cesspit of everything foul that was thrown from the castle including human waste.
If you look at the picture above you might have missed this narrow slit(right side), this is the window of the the dungeon. It not alone let in a sliver of light, but for any unfortunates locked up they got the added pleasure of inhaling the putrid stench from the moat.
Last picture with our Norwegian friend, inspects the moat.
A Guardrobe, where we get our wardrobe, this walk in served two purposes, practical and disgusting. Obviously it was used as a place to store the guards uniform when they were not on duty, there was also a trough where the guards used to urinate. This was practical in a horrible way, as the ammonia was used to kill the fleas on the uniform.
Inside the inner ward, the Yew tree would have been there from the start as the Yew was used for arrows as the branches grew quite straight.
The base or the Yew tree.
The walls from the inside, this is where the guards would have lived and kept watch.
The original stairs to the Dungeon, which would have been naturally dark and creepy and made sure that no light entered bar that little slit from earlier.
Luckily for us they opened this doorway or we would been in trouble seen as the stairs is blocked, but it gives an idea of the thickness of the walls.
A view from what remains from castles main room, from here you can see the original height of the castle, the family would have lived above this room.
*There would not have been a family staying here full time, the families moved from castle to castle. The castles used to get invested with fleas and vermin and they smell after a time. so the family would move on to the next castle while this one would be cleaned out. Those at the time that were lucky enough to sleep in a bed usually slept sitting up so any beds from this era were about 4 or 5 foot in length.
If this amused you click on this link from a great BBC kids program  Horrible Histories Youtube
A view out at the outside walls from the Castle.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sneem Bridge

In the village of Sneem there is a lovely bridge with a waterfall and great views all around the village and there are very technical* reasons why there are only 3 pictures of this village.
* About here I fell in the river much to the amusement of onlookers, one of them in particular

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kilmalkeder Church, Dingle

This site was founded around 600 AD and the current church was built on the site around the middle of the 12th century . But its not just the church that makes this place a must see on the Kerry coast is the variety of stone carvings on the site.
In the first picture is an Ogram stone stands in front of the church, these stones have a simple form of writing started in the 4th century, this writing was used to write the Irish Language.
A view from the side with an old carved Cross.
The front of the Stone Cross.
Another view of the Ogram stone.
In front of these stands a sundial, this is the back of the sundial.
The front of the Sundial, though with our weather here I don't know how much use they got out of this :)
Inside the church there is a Latin Alphabet stone.

A view of the gables
The carved front door.
Front door from the inside.
middle doorway inside the church
A view along the internal walls.
The view through the windows.
A closer look at the front gables.
The old graveyard where the small weathered stones mark forgotten graves.