Saturday, 24 September 2016

Where a Viking Sleeps.

On a recent day out we visited St James Church, Castledermot, Co. Kildare.

The original foundation and dedication of this Christian Church was as the hermitage of St. Diarmada [Dermot] in 812. In later years it became a monastery and was twice raided by the Vikings and was burned down in 1106.
In the present church, now dedicated to St James, there is a list of The Church of Ireland incumbents dating from 1605 to the present day.

In the foreground is a reconstructed Hibernian-Romanesque arch detailing the original entrance to the old church.

An artists impression of what the original hermitage may have looked like.

The only Scandinavian hog back grave marker slab in Ireland - beneath which is possibly 
a sleeping Viking.

One of two existing 9th century High Crosses, 
there were once three.

Opposite the entrance to the church is a well kept and attractive tree lined walkway 
connecting to a main thoroughfare.

The Pledging Stone.
Similar stones were used by lovers who would place their hands into the hole 
and make their pledge to each other. 
From this practice came about the phrase ‘being set in stone’.

The round tower dates to the 10th century and was the monastery bell tower. 
The tower has some unusual features to other similar constructions. Here the entrance is only slightly above ground level and it is situated to the north of the church, normally towers were built to the west with access 15 feet or more above the ground. 
There are two arched vaults inside the tower, one over the second storey and the other at the top, with the tower itself constructed mainly of granite blocks with small pieces of limestone used as fillers. 
At sometime during it’s history the original stone capping was removed from the top and replaced with a castellated top which looks very odd - I have heard it likened to that of an electric torch stood on it’s end!

For further information :-

Sunday, 18 September 2016


On my full spoon sits a portion of delicious Rocky Road sundae, while in the foreground
looking delicious and untouched is Mrs H's Salted Caramel sundae !
So here we are again enjoying ourselves by massaging our taste buds with an orgasmic mix of chocolate and ice cream at The Chocolate Garden, Rathwood, Co. Wicklow.

I know of at least one other person who will be tormented by reading this and I am not at all ashamed :-)

We needed after having quietly consumed and sated ourselves. A leisurely modicum of gentle exercise and so in warm sunshine we drove a couple of miles to the East and a walk
around Rath Gael. Actually walking was the last thing my body was calling for it said
"Sleep, sleep you would enjoy some pagan dreams amid these old stones" I denied my eyes and merely sat listening to the grass growing.


Sunday, 4 September 2016


Yarn Bombers have been busy in the small Co. Laois town of Mountmellick,
it is also rumoured that the men of the town will be suffering 
from cold feet this winter.
Well done to the Women of Mountmellick!

Thursday, 1 September 2016


The building of Shannon Harbour took place in 1803 in the townland of Clononeybeg or in Irish, ‘Cluain Uaine Beag’, meaning the small enclosed meadow.It was a purpose built settlement, constructed to meet the requirements of the Grand Canal Company. Situated on the western end of the Grand Canal it forms a confluence with the River Shannon and the River Brosna. 
On completion it became a thriving, vital place having a bonded warehouse, a customs and excise post, a large R.I.C. barracks complete with holding cells, a Harbour Masters House, boat and barge repair dockyard with two dry docks, a small school, a smithy and livery. As well as many cottages in the town there was also the Grand Hotel and several taverns. At its peak over 1,000 people lived in Shannon Harbour and its’ hinterland. 

The construction of any canal is a feat of civil engineering. The Grand Canal venture was no less and has to have been a headache at times for the engineers, especially when cutting through the many acres of bog lands between Shannon Harbour and Dublin. The work was all done by hand and over three thousand navvies were on site, for the mechanical digger had yet to be invented. Putting in puddled clay bottoms thirty-six inches deep and up the bank sides to a thickness of ten inches was not always sufficient to prevent seepage through its peat banks and in many areas the fibrous material of peat had to be removed and replaced with other materials, such as stone and clay soils. A spectacular opening ceremony, complete with a military band, was planned for the completion of the Grand Canal however, this had to be cancelled when the bog banks collapsed between Shannon Bridge and Tullamore.

During it’s commercial life over 250,000 people were believed to have used the canal, many of them were on the emigration route to countries such as America, Canada and Australia. 
Today less than 30 people live in the village and the Harbour Masters house is now a well appointed three star B&B 

Now seeing this gave me a surprise!

I wonder how this twinning came about ?

This is the penultimate lock or the second depending on which way you are going.

The house peeping out from behind the trees was the Lock Keepers Cottage

The First or Last Lock of the Grand Canal.

I hope that you have enjoyed the mini tour as much as I have.

Where we go next is in the lap of the Gods!