Visits For March, 2010

Sunday, 7th March 2010

Several Tombs With Varying Degrees Of Preservation

One of my goals for this year involves seeing more sites in Monaghan and this is where I decided to concentrate my efforts today. The weather was fantastic and we (my daughter and I) enjoyed a couple of hours in Rossmore Forest, where we had a nice walk, took some photos and saw a court tomb. This is a lovely place and the people of Monaghan are so lucky to have this right on their doorstep.

After the forest we set off in a southwesterly direction and visited a few more tombs, including a beautiful wedge tomb and a great court tomb. At two sites we came across little piles of snow hidden behind hedges where the ground sees no sun at this time of year. One of the sites was in stark contrast to the others, because all that remains is one slab and a small upright. I'm not sure what was more saddening: the poor state of this monument or the fact that the young farmer we asked about its whereabouts didn't know it was anything other than a couple of stones in the field.

The sun was so bright and so low that it was hard to take photos at times due to the harsh shadows it cast. Anyway, that doesn't really matter when you're out and about with good company!

Killydrutan (Co. Monaghan)Court Tomb6 New Images
Skeagarvey (Co. Monaghan)Wedge Tomb2 New Images
Calliagh (Co. Monaghan)Wedge Tomb13 New Images
Greagh (Co. Monaghan)Court Tomb5 New Images
Carnbane (Co. Monaghan)Court Tomb4 New Images
Carn (Co. Monaghan)Court Tomb13 New Images

Tuesday, 16th March 2010

A Quick Trip To Laois

I haven't been to many sites in Laois, but then there aren't many sites in Laois to go to. I had a quick look at the barrow cemetery at Great Heath, where I've been to one barrow, but the rest are spread across a golf course. I think this is one for early one Summer morning.

So, I set off to visit the Rock of Dunamase and a holy well and church. I've seen the castle on the Rock of Dunamase many times and often pondered its location as it looks to be surrounded by small hills. After sitting on the top with a flask of coffee for a while I started to see what the site is about and why it is actually so good for a castle.

The church wasn't as spectacular as I'd hoped, but someone is looking after the place and work appears to be going on to make it nice. The holy well, just down the road from the church, is a bit of a mess and needs tidying up and a bit of TLC. Perhaps it's just because it's winter (I know it's spring, but it feels like winter!) and it may get a bit of attention when the weather improves.

Rock of Dunamase - Aghnahily or Ballycarrol (Co. Laois)Castle13 New Images
Anatrim (Co. Laois)Church3 New Images
Anatrim (Co. Laois)Holy Well4 New Images

Wednesday, 17th March 2010

A Day In The Burren - Enough Said?

Many of you will know Marianne through her posts in my guestbook and more recently her posts in the forums. Today I had the pleasure of being treated to a tour of a lot of monuments and was able to share her enthusiasm and passion for The Burren. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this for me!

We started off revisiting an old favourite of mine - Templecronan (County Clare) - a beautiful early church tucked away in a small dell hidden from sight. We then went to the nearby well.

From there it was time for some tombs. Templecronan is not far from the tombs at Rannagh East & West. We went to what we thought was Rannagh East wedge tomb (actually it's in Termon townland), but decided to move on from there as Rannagh West could have taken a while to relocate in the thick hazel scrub.

The next group of sites was the incredible complex at Fanygalvan: two wedge tombs, a stone row, a cairn or two, hut circles and a chambered cairn with a tiny exposed cist. On the way up to this hilltop complex we found what may be a new boulder burial! From there we walked to a nearby cashel.

By now it was time for a late lunch. I'd already drank half of Marianne's coffee! We decided to head for Templeline, a lovely ruined church that would have been similar to Templecronan in its day: hidden away, but not quite so secretively.

Time for more tombs. Next was the diminutive wedge tomb at Coolnatullagh. Before we moved on to our final tombs we stopped at Tobar Fachtnan, one of the most unusual holy wells I've ever been to, which is surrounded by penitentiary cairns.

Now, how does this sound? It has been a very long day, so you decide to walk for over a mile across Burren limestone pavements? I don't know who's crazier, me or Marianne: she knew what was in store for her! However, I'm very grateful to her for doing so, because Eantymore wedge tomb is a sweet, yet quite ruined one. On the way we saw a souterrain. Unfortunately, I had left my GPS in her car, so I don't have exact coordinates for these.

We finished off at Poulaphuca (County Clare), a site I visited in 2002. Here we managed to find the nearby cist and spotted another small cairn a bit further away.

What an amazing day. I can't repeat enough what a pleasure it was! Thanks!

Templecronan - Termon (Co. Clare)Church9 New Images
Termon (Co. Clare)Holy Well3 New Images
Termon (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb9 New Images
Fanygalvan (Co. Clare)Boulder Burial3 New Images
Fanygalvan (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb14 New Images
Cahermackirilla (Co. Clare)Stone Row or Alignment3 New Images
Cahermackirilla (Co. Clare)Hut Circle2 New Images
Cahermackirilla (Co. Clare)Cairn5 New Images
Fanygalvan (Co. Clare)Chambered Cairn3 New Images
Cahermackirilla (Co. Clare)Stone Fort5 New Images
Templeline - Ballyline (Co. Clare)Church3 New Images
Coolnatullagh (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb7 New Images
Eanty More (Co. Clare)Souterrain4 New Images
Eanty More (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb6 New Images
Poulaphuca (Co. Clare)Wedge Tomb5 New Images
Poulaphuca (Co. Clare)Chambered Cairn4 New Images
Tober na Fiachtnan - Termon (Co. Clare)Holy Well4 New Images
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