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 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