Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Trinity college and Mulahide Castle

Today started off with a walk to the trinity university campus, we were amongst the first few to line up to see the book of Kells, it was definitely worth the short wait to get in, it was absolutely amazing, of course they wouldn't let you take photos, so I don't have a photo for you but if you google it, there are many images available on the web.


We were fortunate to have be waiting outside whilst a tour guide operator was educating his group about the book, the book was originally encased in a leather cover that was coated in gold and jewels, during one of their raids the Vikings, obtained the book, fortunately they had no interest in its contents so they ripped the cover off and dumped the book in a recently plowed field, the farmer soon discovered it and returned it to the monastery.
The other Interesting thing we overheard was that they only change the page once every two months and it takes between 6 - 8 hrs, as the room were the book resides needs to be air locked and dehumidified prior to the case the book is in is opened.

 After seeing the book we headed up stairs to the long library.

Oh my gosh, it was the most wonderful room, as you can see the library is huge and is filled with the most interesting books, which we could of course not touch. But I just loved the room and it's bookie smell, I know lots of people whom would happily be locked in this room, myself included.

After a lot of shopping in the college gift shop, we grabbed some lunch.
And boarded a double decker red bus , to head out to 

Mulhide castle.

Mulhide castle was first established in 1185, when Richard Talbot a Knight in the service of Henry 2nd was bestowed the lands for his service to the king.  The Talbot family maintained almost complete ownership of the castle for 791 years.

Throughout the years the Talbot family added to their castle creating the home you see today.

during the battle of the Boyne period, 14 members of the Talbot family sat around this table for breakfast, by evening they had all died. Sadly the last two members of the family Milo and his sister Grace never had children and thus with them ended the Talbot line. Milo was a keen botanist and was particularly interested in tropical and Australasian plants. When Milo passed away. Grace inherited the estate, however she could not afford the taxes so she sold the home to office of public works and she moved to the family property in Tasmania.
After leaving Mulahide , we travelled to Knowth , a village and outer suburb of Dublin. Sadly we didn't have a lot of time there, but our guide assured us that it's the one of the best places in Ireland to get seafood chowder and fish and chips.
It had a huge Marina with hundreds of fishing boats and some lovely old shops and homes and is a popular place for Dubliners to visit on the weekend

sláinte mhaith 
( good health, in Gaelic)

Googy girl 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Killarney to Dublin

We had a few busy nights in Dublin and so the blog is running a bit behind, so I have a couple of Ireland posts to do then we will get to Scotland where we are now.

  As we both packed up to leave Killarney we did so with heavy hearts, Killarney is such a beautiful place and our hosts at Friars glen were so warm and welcoming. I just loved watching the wild deer grazing just outside my window, as I ate breakfast everyday.
As we headed off the rain was coming down and again we were a little concerned, however again Ireland was kind to us and the ran stopped just as we arrived at our first destination.

Blarney Castle


Blarney Castle was originally built in about 1210, it was destroyed about 200 years later and subsequently rebuilt by Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, lord of Muscry. It had a turbulent time passing through many owners, being besieged during wars and surviving a fire of the manor house, which was built against it's walls. The castle now is a partial ruin, with all of its wooden floors long gone, but some of its rooms remain intact.

The fireplace was in the entrance hall, at the moment with its wooden floor gone it appears strangely suspended In the middle of the wall.

Of course Blarney castle is the home of the Blarney Stone, in the above image you can see people lined up waiting to kiss the Blarney Stone.  There are so many stories surrounding the origins of the stone but I think my two favourites are these.
Cormac Teige McCarthy was lord of Blarney castle during the reign of Elizabeth 1, Elizabeth wanted all Irish landowners to "occupy" their land under title to her ( so they signed their land to the crown) Cormac wasn't very keen on this idea, he approached the local wise woman and she told him to kiss the stone and it would give him the gift of eloquence, Cormac managed to use his words and wit and somehow managed to never sign his land over to the English crown.

The other story was that when Cormac Laidir MacCarthy was building Blarney Castle he was involved in a law suit. He was quite concerned and sought assistance from the goddess Clíodhna, she told him to kiss the first stone that he seen in the morning on the way to court, he did so and subsequently using great eloquence he managed to win his case, he then collected the rock and had it built into the battlements of his castle.

The grounds that the castle sits in is a gardener's delight and we could easily have spent hours in the Blarney park.

We continued to head north with our next stop in the town of Cashel.

The rock of Cashel

We continued with our good Irish luck and the rain stopped when we were maybe 20 mins away from Cashel.

The rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for hundreds of years, however in 1101 the king of muster , whom had recently converted to Christianity gave the rock of Cashel  to the church.

The oldest building on this site is the round tower you can see below

The tower was built sometime around 1100. The doorway to the tower is approximately 9 feet off the he ground, this is due to the tower having very shallow foundations. Access would have been via a wooden purpose built staircase.

The next oldest building on the site is the cormac's chapel 

Cormac's chapel was built around 1127.  It was quite sophisticated for it's time and had vaulted ceilings and elaborate carvings above the doorways and arches in the chapel.

The chapel also
contains one of the best-preserved Irish frescoes from this time period. Sadly however over the years the sandstone ( of which the chapel is built) became waterlogged and this significantly damaged the frescoes.


During the past 10years approximately the whole chapel was shrouded in a waterproof tent and they have managed to dry the stone out using dehumidifiers, 

They also discovered that the frescoes were being attacked by a form of bacteria so the frescoes are currently undergo a form of radiotherapy several times a week

Around the 1200's the church decided that they needed a cathedral on site so the built it right in the middle of round tower and Cormacs chapel.

Unfortunately around the 1700's the church decided to build a new church down in the town. They decided that they would take the roof of the cathedral with them.

The site was then abandoned and left to ruin 

The view from the rock of Cashel were stunning, 360 degrees of beautiful lush Irish farmland.

After our visit at Cashel we drove back to Dublin
And had a lovely quiet evening at one of the Dublin pubs.

sláinte mhaith 
( good health, in Gaelic)

Googy girl

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Gap of Dunloe

This morning we woke to a misty Irish morning. We were a little concerned as our planned outing was an all day outdoor event. But Ireland was kind to us and whilst we got a little wet, it really was just light misty rain.

Today we did a tour of the gap of Dunloe. 

The gap of Dunloe is a narrow mountain pass forged between the MacGillycuddy Reeks and Purple Mountain.

The tour commenced with a bus trip pretty much all over Killarney as we collected the other members of our tour, we arrived at Kate Keaney's cottage and were organised into small groups to be taken on a jaunting Car, ( a small horse carriage for four people) we were fortunate enough to be combined with a lovely Irish couple, celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary.

The jaunting car ride was 7miles in duration and our lovely horse kept a lively pace most of the way, she knew exactly where to stop for us to take photos.

The bridge in this image is the wishing bridge, and it is believed that wishes made here come true.

It was also a lovely spot to get some photos, during the seven miles travelled in our horse and carriage we passed 5 lakes. 

At the end of the jaunting car journey we reached Lord Brandon's cottage, where they had a cafe where we could purchase some lunch, we had some warming soup with Irish black soda bread and a cup of tea. After lunch we boarded traditional Irish boats to journey back to Killarney 

We travelled by the same lakes that we seen on the ring of Kerry
We drifted gently through some stunning Irish countryside, seeing hills of heather and wild mountain goats.

 We passed under some lovely old stone bridges, did a little white water rafting . . . . lol

Until we finished here at the beautiful Ross Castle.

It was a lovely relaxing day, without the sound of the GPS and the constant  trying to work out where to park the car. As our tour day ended at 4 we searched out a Tesco, and had our first Tesco shopping

So now as I write this we are sitting in front of a nice warm fire
Drinking a nice red wine  eating Irish cheese and contemplating the beauty of Ireland and all we have seen

sláinte mhaith 
( good health, in Gaelic)

Googy girl

Friday, August 11, 2017

Ring of Kerry

Today was another big day in the car, but wow the different landscapes we passed through.

Not long after setting just after  the village of Killorglin, we came across this cheeky fellow and his friends, just love the spot the dog has settled in . . . I payed for the photo ( donation) but it was absolutely worth it . . .

A bit further on near the village of Cahersiveen was the Cahergall stone fort. This fort is believed to have been built around the Stone Age, however no one is completely sure. This one has had some reconstruction, due to the inner stone building it is believed that this stone fort would have been home to someone of importance.

Also near the town of Cahersiveen is the remains of Ballycarbery Castle. It is believed that this castle dates from around the 16th Century. It passed through several families however it is believed that it was damaged irreparably by cannon fire in 1652. It was a wonderful structure and the views around it spectacular.

After leaving Cahersiveen, we headed to Portmagee where we had a light lunch and then headed out to the Skellig Islands.

In recent times the skellig islands have become famous due to their brief appearance in the Star Wars film the force awakens. However their history is just as interesting.  Skellig Michael is the larger of the two Skellig islands. It became the site of a Christian monastery between the 6 th - 8 th century and remained occupied up until the 12 century when it was abandoned.

The little mounds on the top of the image are some of the surviving beehive "cells" built by the monks.

If you really zoom in on this image you can see a pathway winding up to the top of the island, this pathway was part of the monastic constructions.  Access to Skellig Island is very restricted, with boats only able to dock for a couple of months of the year and then only if the weather permits.  The restrictions are in place to protect the flora and fauna of the islands.  Skellig Michael is the preferred breeding area for the puffin and several other birds.  It was an awesome sight, so rugged and remote.

The cute little village of Portmagee

Looking south towards the villages of Smee and Kenmore.

As we travelled the final few kilometres, county Kerry, Ireland continued to wow us with its diverse views and rugged landscapes . . . I could wander these hills forever, everyday would spectacular 

sláinte mhaith 
( good health, in Gaelic)

Googy girl

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Galway to Killarney

Not a lot to tell you about today, today was a travelling day. As we headed southwards towards
To Killarney through some really beautiful country side, I am totally besotted with the stone wall fences and the super cute Irish houses. I even seen my first thatched roof house but wasn't quick enough to get a photo.

Cliffs Of Moher
The cliffs Of Moher are located on the west coast of Ireland , in County Clare. They stretch for about 8km.
And are 214 metres high at their highest point, on a clear day you can see the Aran Islands, Galway bay, the dingle peninsula and Blasket Islands. After wandering across the cliffs for over an hour we continued our journey through some gorgeous coastal towns.
As we travelled along we munched on fresh local strawberries, purchased at a farmers gate and hobnob biscuits , which are a kind of cross between Anzac biscuits and shredded wheatmeals.

The River Shannon
Just under an hour after we left the Cliffs Of Moher we arrived on the banks of the Shannon River, at the point where the ferry crosses is was Very wide. 
The River Shannon is the longest river in Ireland at 360.5 km. 
The Shannon divides the west of Ireland from the east and south
We finally arrived in Beautiful Killarney with its gorgeous green hills to this absolutely gorgeous little 
Bed and breakfast "Friars Glenn"
Last night we attended a traditional Irish night and we're lucky enough to see some wonderful Irish dancing
It was a lovely drive which I really enjoyed just gazing at the scenery.
Thanks for continuing the journey with us 
sláinte mhaith 
( good health, in Gaelic)
Googy girl

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Dublin to Galway


This morning again, found my body clock still out of sync, with a 2:30 am wake up, at least this time I was able to roll over and go back to sleep. Today we left Dublin and headed west to Galway. Our first stop was Newgrange. 

Newgrange is a prehistoric passage tomb built around 3200BC. There is a 19 metre long passage way, that takes you to the centre of the mound. In the centre there is three smaller chambers. The roof is what they call a corbled roof, which means they used a series of stones layered on top of each other gradually working there way in to a single cap stone. sadly I was not allowed to take picture inside but it was really amazing, and even more amazing when you realise that this structure is older than the pyramids and has required no human intervention inside, it is still perfectly intact. On the outside some restoration work has been done with the main front facade being rebuilt with stones found on the site.

Newgrange is particularly of interest during the winter solstice, when the sun shines down the 19 metre long passage way lighting the inner chamber for just 17 minutes.  Entering Newgrange for the winter solstice is by lottery, with only people whom have visited the tomb being able to enter the lottery.  mounds like Newgrange are considered to be fairy mounds and Newgrange itself was said to be the home of Oenghus, the god of love. It was definitely worth the visit, we only wished we had 
time to visit the other two mounds in the same site.

One of the lovely towns, we passed through as we headed west.

Above is the quick photo I got of Trim castle sadly we were unable to stop and visit this castle as there was no parking and we needed to keep traveling. 


Our next stop was at Clonmacnoise in the county Offaly, on the banks of the river Shannon.

Clonmacnoise was a monastery founded in 544 by Saint Ciarán. It's strategic position enabled it to become a major centre for religion, learning and craftsmanship. 

The site includes the ruins of a cathedral, seven churches, two round towers, three high crosses and a large collection of Early Christian graveslabs. 

The high crosses were just stunning, so beautifully carved and the whole site felt very peaceful, they still have religious services there today in a purpose built glass chapel

We finished our journey for the day late in the  afternoon in Galway.
Of course we found ourselves a pub, The sliding rock, and finished the afternoon with a pint of Guinness and for me a Gin with rose lemonade

Thanks for continuing the journey with us 

sláinte mhaith 

( good health, in Gaelic)

Googy girl

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Dublin day 2

This morning started pretty early for me with a 3am wake up, not for necessity, just my body clock not quite adjusted as yet.  Just outside our front door, literally directly across the road is the famous Temple bar, to my surprise when I got up there was still a lot of partying happening, and the bar was still open.

I waited until the sun rose a bit before I wandered down to get some photo's whilst the street was deserted. It s a lovely looking pub, but we haven't ventured in as yet.
So we started off with an early morning stroll, to the Guinness storehouse tour, we were the first group to go in . . . Anyone who knows Mr Googy knows he likes to be organised and arrive early.

The tour was self directed and was over five floors, detailing the process of how the beer is made and how different advertising ideas were invented.  There was a tasting room ( I didn't partake....) where they explained the different tastes and how to drink the beer properly. And finally as you reached the top there is a bar with a 360 degree view over Dublin. It was a really interesting tour and only one mouthful of Guinness passed my lips.

After leaving the Guinness factory we headed to Christchurch Cathedral. Here we payed for the tour of the church, which I have to say was a really smart move. The tour was fabulous, the tour guide was so funny and so knowledgeable. He explained the various aspects of the church and how one of the walls is leaning 18inches . . . but it's been like that for a long time so we weren't to concerned 

We were taken up to the bell tower, where they let us ring one of the many bells . . . and we could see these fabulous views across Dublin and to the hills.

The tour guide was telling us that the choirs of both the Christchurch cathedral and St Patrick's were the first to perform Handels Messiah back in 1742. 
Whilst showing us the two organs that belonged to the cathedral, the tour guide explained that, a quiet a while back the they had had trouble tuning the oldest organ, eventually it was decided to pull it apart to discover the issue. The above mummified cat and rat were found firmly wedged in one of the pipes. The cat and "mouse" are referred to in James Joyce's "Finnegans wake".

After leaving the church we wandered to another part of town to meet up with the infamous Molly Malone. Molly is actually a fictional character  however is so well know for her cockleshell sales by day and her alternative employment by night that she has been immortalised for all time in brass. After this we headed of to a yarn shop "this is knit", that I have followed for months on instagram, unfortunately I was totally out of luck, the shop was closed for Bank holiday, and when I return next weekend it will be closed again.

So after after all this walking and to drown my sorrows we headed to the oldest pub in Ireland " the Brazens head" Mr Googy had his Guinness and I had a cider and we enjoyed the history surrounding us on every wall of the pub. Later that night we enjoyed a few other bars and pubs, in clouding the O'neills pub which has little rooms going off everywhere and I had my first bowl of Irish stew. 
It was a little great day and we both managed to stay awake u til 9pm . . . . 

Thank you for sharing this journey with me


Googy girl 

Please don't feel offended if I do not reply to messages, we will be on the move a lot through out this trip and I have limited internet access