Sunday, 25 September 2016

Friday & Saturday in County Clare

Friday morning in Ennis, County Clare, Ireland and a free morning before the conference - Diaspora of the Wild Atlantic Way - commences at 1:00 pm. Yesterday on my way to Kilfenora I heard a song on Clare radio - I left my heart in Miltown Malbay - so I thought I must go to this market town 32 km from Ennis. The drive went well, hardly any other traffic just a few tractors close to the village. I found Miltown Malbay quite disappointing, definitely not what I would call a charming village so I went through the village and turned on to a charming side road. Once again my prayers were answered and I didn't come across any traffic except one truck and that occurred when I had room to pull over! 

On my way back to Ennis I came across a sign to Clare Abbey and decided on the spur of the moment to go down another small road towards the Abbey. Such a lovely idea as it turned out as there was nobody else there at the time and so peaceful. Clare Abbey was the first, largest and most important Augustinian house in Clare, founded in 1189. It's situated on an elevated site beside the River Fergus and is surrounded by farmland. You can read more about Clare Abbey here.

Part of Clare Abbey, Clarecastle, Co Clare
Back to the Conference Centre, time for a nap and then the conference registration and some talks. Interesting meeting some new people, there a few Australians here for the conference. Then time for the Conference Dinner, I chose soup, poached salmon and apple & rhubarb crumble, all delicious. 

After good weather yesterday I was pleased I was not venturing outdoors today as it was raining (just a soft Irish day). The conference started at 10:00 am, very civilised really and opened with our very own Pauleen Cass speaking about From East Clare to Australia, Assisted Migration and Irish Mobility.

Pauleen Cass at the Diaspora of the Wild Atlantic Way Conference.
The rest of the presenters were very interesting and entertaining and well worth attending the conference. Well done the Clare Roots Society.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Thursday in County Clare Ireland

Thursday morning at Ennis, Co Clare and the weather is fine and sunny with a little cloud and a cool wind. After breakfast - and no I didn't have the full Irish - I decided to go to the Burren Centre in Kilfenora, about 27 km away.

The trusty inbuilt GPS wanted to take me the direct way and I wanted to go where I wanted so I turned it off and made my way towards Kilfenora. On the way there I saw a sign for the Dysert O'Dea castle so turned off the road and made my way down a very narrow road, all the time praying that I would not meet an oncoming vehicle. The prayer must have worked as I didn't meet anyone on the way.

Dysert O'Dea Castle, Corofin, Co Clare
The Castle was built in 1480 by Diarmuid O’Dea, Lord of Cineal Fearmaic. The uppermost floors and staircase were badly damaged by the Cromwellians in 1651. Repaired and opened in 1986, the castle houses an extensive museum, an audio visual presentation and various exhibitions.(Thanks to the Dysert O'Dea Castle website - you can read more about it here)

I went on to Kilfenora and the Burren Centre and the amazing Kilfenora Cathedral. I found the Cathedral truly moving. The sun was shining, the breeze was gentle and the silence profound. I will post my photos on Instagram but here are a couple

Kilfenora High Cross East Face

Entry to the Chancel - very low
You can read more about the Cathedral here

After leaving Kilfenora I came back to Ennis, found a Tesco and bought some supplies I needed and decided to come back to the hotel. I will be hopefully meeting up with Pauleen Cass later tonight.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Ireland - first two days

Arrived safely at Dublin airport at midday. After negotiating with the car hire company who tried to give me a manual car I was given a BMW. You may think that was wonderful but as the controls were European - on the opposite side to AUS it took some working out I can tell you.

My hire car at CArlingford
Stayed at a great B & B in Carlingford Co Louth  - the Belvedere B & B - for the first two nights see the view from my room below

This shows the ppub across the road and the top of Taafe's Castle.

Fortified town houses were a popular form of residence amongst the merchant cloasses of medieval Ireland. Taaffe's Castle was situated on the old harbour front which suggests that the building was the residence and depot of an important member of this merchant class. Business was conducted in the bottom floor and the upper floors contained the living quarters. The architecture indicates two phases of construction, the main tower of early 16th century date and a later 16th century extension. The building derives its name from the Taaffe family who became Earls if Carlingford in 1661.
(Thanks to Carlingford Heritage Trust for this info)

Belveder B & B also has a beautiful restaruat attached - The Bay Tree - with the excellent chef Conor. Con & Kristina own the B & B and restaurant and have two delightful daughters, Lucy and Zoe.
Entrance to The Bay Tree

Zoe at the Bay Tree

Inside The Bay Tree with Kristina's decor
On Tuesday I drove to Ardee County Louth whwere my 4th great grandmother, Rosetta Johnson, was baptised. Interesting market town and quite busy. Rosetta lived at Ballygown just outside Ardee and there is nothing there really just some cottages. I drove on to Kells for lunch - found a quaint cafe and had delicious mushroom and tarragon soup with brown bread. See below.

Mushroom & Tarrogon soup & brown bread
Carlingford is an interesting village and must be so busy in summer - I am pleased it is September. The weather has been wonderful - cool at night but pleasant days.

King John's Castle
This early Noprman fortress was named after Kinmg John who visited CArlingford in 1210. The western portion of the castle predates this visit and was probably commissioned by Hugh de Lacy c 1190. A massive curtain wall divides the earlier western courtyard from the eastern wing which  contained the living quarters.  The eastern section was constructed in the niod 13th century and has alterations and additions dating from the 15th and 16th centuries. The castle commanded an important defensive position on the Lough but by the 16th century it was described as being in a wretched condition and remained so until the O.P.W. undertook conservation work onit in the 1950s.
(Thanks to Carlingford Heritage Trust for this info) 

Left Carlingofrd about 10 am on Wednesday to drive to Ennis - staying at the conference venue for the next four nights. More later.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Off to Dubai and Dublin

Well it's finally here - six weeks in the Uk, Ireland, Scotland, Channel Islands and Northern France - I am currently in the Emirates Lounge enjoying a champagne - flight leaves at 9 pm - feeling tired and excited so hope I sleep in the lovely flat bed.

AM staying in County Louth for two days before I go over to Ennis for the conference - amazing that I will meet up with Pauleen Cass from Aus when we don't seem to catch up at home. I will be keeping you posted in my travels