Ireland #6
Saint Patrick's Well
Of the many places we visited, this was the most serene. It was also just 15 minutes from the hotel the next town over, in Marlfield. A relatively small attraction that kept us there for hours.  Its raw beauty and its history made for a time passing marvel.  The volunteer groundskeeper. George, was a font of information and went out of his way to accommodate us, traveling the quarter mile back to his auto to get a bottle so he could give us a sample of the well's bounty.  Sweeet it was, and blessed. Image #5 is of the well, You can see the turbulence on the surface from the upwelling of the spring water which occurs year round. Image #17 shows my love, Donna, with the umbrella, chatting with George (in the yellow vest) and a local, Francis at the well itself.  The locals come here every other day or so to collect a bottle or two for their tea. "You'll not find a fairer brew", we were told.  I don't doubt it.  After filling their bottles, they pause with George for a small prayer of thanks.  So simply reverent they are, the Irish.
Most every day of our trip was overcast if not raining. Though it does put a damper on some things, it makes for perfect lighting in photography. And as the Irish are want to say, "If ye wait for fine weather, ye may wait forever". More than once we ran to the car or to get inside in what we thought of as a good drenching only to hear a local say, "'tis just a fine mist".
Some history:
Saint Patrick’s well in Clonmel is one of the largest - if not the largest of all holy wells in all of Ireland. It is situated at the bottom of a long set of winding steps, shaded by a few trees in a small glen. As you approach it, the waters from the well flow into a large and shallow pond with an ancient Irish stone cross set upon a small island in the middle. It is thought that this cross dates to the fifth century. For such a large holy well and surrounding site, it is amazing just how little is actually known about this area, but it is thought that Saint Patrick passed through here and may have used this place to bathe or to baptize.
Tradition has it that this place has been associated with Saint Patrick for a very long time and a sign with some tourist information indicates that people have observed rounds here and stations of the cross from the time of Saint Patrick. Part of this is of course complete fantasy - stations of the cross or ‘way of the cross’ were not used in any churches until the establishment of the Franciscan Order as a means of enabling the poor to make a ‘spiritual pilgrimage’ to Jerusalem. Rounds on the other hand, would certainly have been observed, even if in a very simple way to invoke the protection of the Trinity. Despite the fact that the stations would likely not have been observed here to any great degree until more recently, it seems as good a tradition as any to observe in a place where the cross has central place. The Tripartite Life tells of Saint Patrick’s practice of crossing himself in the name of the Trinity hundreds of times each morning and evening, and if he knew that a stone or wooden cross was nearby on the roads he travelled, he would always make a point of stopping to pray at it. Despite it’s business, this is a good place to pray and an easy place to do so. Sometimes there are places that are described as ‘thin places’, where the presence of God is keenly and easily discernible or the veil between heaven and earth seems remarkably thin – this is one such place.
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Ireland #5
The Blueway
{Note: If I refer to an image #, I mean the catalog #.  It is located in the top left (usually) of the FB images.  The last two to four digits are the #.  In my blog (MKHurder.Photo), mouse over the image and the C# will be revealed. You might have to enlarge the FB image to read the #.}
Back when I visited here for work, I walked everyday on a riverside trail. It was a beautiful place to hike, and what caused my desire for great image making to explode.  I wasn't very good at it then and only used a 'point-and-shoot' camera.  Still the art began to gnaw at me back then. At the time the trail was mostly dirt with only a few sections paved.  It lies on the opposite side of the River Suir from the Hotel.  There was no easy access to it from the Hotel directly so I drove to the St Thomas Bridge and parked there to begin my walk.  You are immediately presented with a view of Old Ireland, with the Tikincor Castle ruins and the St Thomas Bridge itself.
Recently County Tipperary and the involved cities and towns along this stretch of the River Suir began an effort to connect Carrick-on-Suir with Cahir via a fully paved walkway.  Clonmel lies in the middle of this stretch.  What used to be the dirt path used by myself to walk, and the Gypsies to exercise their Ponies has been beautifully redone and cleaned up.  Back in the day, I had to be aware of the horse droppings as I walked.  That's not the case anymore.  I also had to be ware of the gazillion bees. That hadn't changed at all.  Another part of the walk that had me mesmerized were the wildflowers, explaining all the bees.  There were many varieties and they grew all along the bank of the river for the entire mile and a half I covered every day.  There weren't as many in August. From the bridge back to a point directly across from the Hotel was 1.5 miles.
Images #1, 4 and 35 are of the castle. Images #6, 36 and 37 are of the St Thomas Bridge.  The first four images in this set were made from the middle of the Bridge span.  As you can see, it's a one horse-drawn carriage at a time affair, or auto.  There are traffic lights controlling the one direction at a time travel.  Local folk lore would have you believe that St Thomas Bridge is the oldest standing bridge in all of Ireland.  I heard the same claim in several other towns and villages about their own local bridge.  They all looked to be about the same age...very old.
Some History:
Castles of Munster: Tickincor, Waterford:
This stronghouse on the south bank of the Suir was built by Alexander Power in c.1620. It passed to Sir Thomas Stanley, and then in the 1650s to Sir Nicholas Osborne. His descendants continued in occupation until the late C18, when they moved to Newton Anner in Tipperary. The block comprises three storeys and an attic, with a staircase wing projecting from the middle of the east side. In the C19 the building was modified, and this is evident externally from the carriage entrance pierced through where the original entrance doorway was on the west side.
Sir Thomas Bridge:
Sir Thomas’s Bridge has a long history. It is one of the oldest bridges over the River Suir, having been erected in 1690 by Sir Thomas Osborne to connect his estates on either side of the river.
Clonmel was ‘home’ to me for almost a decade from 1976-1985. Sir Thomas’s Bridge was the mid- point of many a walk or jog and I spent hours standing on the bridge watching the River Suir make its way towards Waterford City. Back then, I never imagined that I would end up marrying a man from Clonmel and that we would move down-river to Waterford and onwards to Tramore.
The Blueway:
With 53km of paddling trails and a 21km cycle route, Suir Blueway Tipperary is the perfect escape for all the family to savour some of Ireland’s most beautiful countryside and fascinating history.  Kayak or canoe on flowing waters, go for a cycle along river banks, take a hike up nearby mountains, or a more sedate stroll in the bustling medieval towns and villages from Cahir to Clonmel and on to Carrick-on-Suir.  Marvel at centuries-old castles, tower houses and churches and discover their history of drama, romance, intrigue and deadly rivalries all set against a world of natural wonders in Ireland’s Ancient East.  Stay a while and sample the sensational local food produce, arts and crafts – it’s matched only by the local hospitality.  Just two hours from Dublin, and one hour from Cork, Suir Blueway Tipperary has something for all ages and interests.
For ways to explore Suir Blueway Tipperary, here's an interactive map to follow:
Cut and paste into your browser address bar.  Scroll down the left side.
The Blueway
The Blueway
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Ireland #4
Kilkenny Castle
When I was here previously in 2010 and 2011, I was told I couldn't have a camera. They were afraid of folks using flashes which can readily disturb fine OLDS art and the like. So this time instead of having to go back to the car with my camera, I just brought my handy dandy Galaxy S8+. Of course they had changed their policy to "NO FLASHES" by the time we arrived this time. 🙄  I have not catalogued these photos as I will not be selling a phone made image.
When I first came here it was foggy and as you approached the Castle form the huge green field in front of it, this giant façade creeped out at you. At the time of the conquest of Kilkenny, there was another wall across the front. Cromwell's cannons blew it asunder. I couldn't help but wonder, what must it have been like for the foot soldiers in Cromwell's army to have to see that towering wall and the thousands of soldiers defending it and then hearing their commander yell, "Charge"? 😵
From the lawn, to the gardens, to Royal drain spouts, to the entryway, to the opulence within, it was all quite was mind-numbing.
A little history:
Kilkenny Castle (Irish: Caisleán Chill Chainnigh) is a castle in Kilkenny, Ireland built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several routeways. It was a symbol of Norman occupation and in its original thirteenth-century condition it would have formed an important element of the defences of the town with four large circular corner towers and a massive ditch, part of which can still be seen today on the Parade.
The property was transferred to the people of Kilkenny in 1967 for £50 and the castle and grounds are now managed by the Office of Public Works. The gardens and parkland adjoining the castle are open to the public. The Parade Tower is a conference venue. Awards and conferring ceremonies of the graduates of the Kilkenny Campus of National University of Ireland, Maynooth have been held there since 2002.
In the 17th century, the castle came into the hands of Elizabeth Preston, wife of then Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormond. Butler, unlike most of his family, was a Protestant and throughout the Irish Confederate Wars of the 1640s was the representative of Charles I in Ireland. However, his castle became the capital of a Catholic rebel movement, Confederate Ireland, whose parliament or "Supreme Council" met in Kilkenny Castle from 1642-48. Ormonde himself was based in Dublin at this time. The east wall and the northeast tower of the Castle were damaged in 1650 during the siege of Kilkenny by Oliver Cromwell during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. They were later torn down. Then, in 1661, Butler remodelled the castle as a “modern” château after his return from exile.
By the 18th century, the castle had become run down, reflecting the failing fortunes of the Butler family. However, some restoration was carried out by Anne Wandesford of Castlecomer, who brought wealth back into the family upon marrying John Butler, 17th Earl of Ormonde. In the 19th century, the Butlers then attempted to restore it to its original medieval appearance, also rebuilding the north wing and extending the south curtain wall. More extensions were added in 1854. In 1904, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and his wife Queen Alexandra visited Kilkenny Castle.
Ireland #3
The Hotel Minella, John's farm and Clonmel
Hotel Minella Clonmel is nestled between the Comeragh Mountains and the River Suir in Clonmel , Co. Tipperary. The original Georgian house was built by the Malcomsoms in 1863, and the Minella was opened as a hotel by
Mr & Mrs Jack Nallen in 1963.
The first four images are of our apartment, #7 with the green door. The entryway shows the master bedroom straight ahead.  The entry to the second Bedroom is nestled under the stairway.  Both have their own bath.  The stairs lead to the living room and kitchen, yes upstairs. The bottom floor is actually called the ground floor.  The upstairs is the first floor...ahem.  You have a choice of rentals here as you can also stay in the hotel proper. The original building has several gorgeous Victorian rooms.  The rest are contemporary.  It's centrally located and within easy driving distance to Dublin, Waterford, Kilkenny, Cork, Blarney and the south, southeast and southwest coast.
The next ten images are of the Hotel proper and the surrounding grounds.  I invite you to visit their web site and if you ever travel to South Ireland, you couldn't do better for a place to stay.
https://www.hotelminella.com/
On my previous visits here I became well acquainted with the present owners, siblings John and Liz Nallen.  We became close enough for them to invite me to their homes and to special events at the Hotel.  John also brought me to his farm where he breeds, trains and races champion horses...Steeple Chasers.  These animals are incredible athletes, running 5 mile races with jumps as if taking a walk in the park.  In 2019, by the time we left in late August John's stable has won 44 major events.  Easy to say, John knows his business.  On a previous visit in 2011, I accompanied John to his farm and out to his training grounds.  I noticed that some of the horses had names on their stalls and some just numbers.  I thought it was just becasue they hadn't gotten around to putting the name tag up, so I asked John, "What's this one's name ?"  He peeked over my shoulder at the stall and said, "Erm, Dat's noomber 5".  It seems they don't name them at Minella Racing until they know for sure the horse has what it takes to race.  If not, they sell it and let the new owners name it.  Later that day he introduced me to a chocolate Lamb that had free access to the farm grounds.  For giggles I asked John, What's this guy's name.  John said. "Lunch".  Later that month there was a family get together for John's son Jack's birthday.  John served roast lamb.  I didn't ask!!!!! 😳
Donna and I were lucky enough to get to visit the farm again.  The middle twelve images are of some of John's stock.  The ones you see with a name tag on their stalls are champions.
You can see more about Manilla Racing  here: https://www.minellaracing.com/
The last eight images are of downtown Clonmel.  We didn't spend a lot of time here as the days we set aside for local tourism were rainy and bleak.  We went elsewhere.  These are from one morning before we took off to visit Kilkenny. The first and last images are of the Irish Gate.  When the English ruled here after Cromwell defeated the local militia, the Brits lived downtown and the Irish served their estates.  At 6pm every day the Irish had to be outside the Irish Gate or else.  The monument shown is for a William Byrne and is dated for October 29, 1589.
A little more local history: The town of Clonmel in Co Tipperary is believed to have been founded by the de Burgos in the 13th century. From 1338 to 1583, the lands were owned by the earls of Desmond. In Tipperary: History and Society (1985), Bradley states that Bridge Street is mentioned as early as 1388 and the laneway east of it in 1424.
Clonmel (Irish: Cluain Meala, meaning "honey meadow") is the county town and largest settlement of County Tipperary, Ireland. The town is noted in Irish history for its resistance to the Cromwellian army which sacked the towns of Drogheda and Wexford. With the exception of the townland of Suir Island, most of the borough is situated in the civil parish of "St Mary's", which is part of the ancient barony of Iffa and Offa East.
Oliver Cromwell laid siege to Clonmel in May 1650. The walls were eventually breached, but Hugh Dubh O'Neill, the commander of the town's garrison, inflicted heavy losses on the New Model Army when they tried to storm the breach. That night, O'Neill, deciding that further resistance was hopeless due to a lack of ammunition, led his soldiers and camp followers out of the town under cover of darkness. The story is told that Cromwell became suspicious of O'Neill's desperate situation when a silver bullet was discharged by the townspeople at his troops outside the walls. The following morning, 18 May 1650, mayor John White was able to surrender the town on good terms as Cromwell was still unaware of the garrison's escape just hours before. Although feeling deceived, he did not put the inhabitants 'to the sword' as occurred elsewhere.
History is an incredible wonder.
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Ireland #2
Cahir Castle, the Swiss Cottage and Limerick Castle
Another of south Ireland's marvelous attractions is Cahir Castle.  On the same stretch of green lies the Swiss Cottage another popular attraction.  The last image is of Limerick Castle.
Cahir Castle (Irish: Caisleán na Cathrach), one of the largest castles in Ireland, is sited on an island in the river Suir. It was built from 1142 by Conor O'BrienPrince of Thomond. Now situated in Cahir town centre, County Tipperary
The castle was sited on and near an earlier native fortification known as a cathair (stone fort), which gave its name to the place. The core structure of the castle dates to construction in the 13th century by the O'Brien family.
Granted to the powerful Butler family in late 14th century, the castle was enlarged and remodelled between the 15th and 17th centuries. It fell into ruin in the late 18th century and was partially restored in the 1840s. The Great Hall was partly rebuilt in 1840.
In 1375, the castle was granted to James Butler, newly created Earl of Ormond, for his loyalty to Edward III. His son James, the second Earl (by his second marriage) passed the lands around the barony of Iffa and Offa West to his children, though they were not themselves noble. This changed by 1542 when the first of the Barons Cahir was created. Unlike their Anglican kinsmen, this branch of the Butler dynasty sided with the Roman Catholic Irish in the Elizabethan wars. In 1599 the castle was captured after a three-day siege by the army of the Earl of Essex and was for a year put under the charge of Sir Charles Blount. Lord Cahir joined with the Earl of Tyrone in 1601 and was attainted for treason, but later obtained a full pardon. In 1627 the castle was the scene of a celebrated killing when Cahir's son-in-law, Lord Dunboyne, murdered his distant cousin, James Prendergast, in a dispute over an inheritance: he was tried for the killing but acquitted.
During the Irish Confederate Wars the castle was besieged twice. In 1647 George Mathew, the guardian of the young Lord Cahir, surrendered to Murrough O'Brien, 6th Baron Inchiquin (later 1st Earl, and a descendant of Cahir's builder) following his victory at the Battle of Knocknanauss. In 1650 he surrendered again to Oliver Cromwell, during his conquest of Ireland without a shot even being fired.
In 1961 the last Lord Cahir died and the castle became the property of the Irish state.
Built in the early 1800s by a lad named Richard Butler, the Swiss Cottage in Tipperary was originally part of Lord and Lady Cahir’s vast estate, and was mainly used for entertaining guests. Although it was restored in 1985, the cottage’s unusual and rustic features thankfully remain intact.
King John's Castle (Irish: Caisleán Luimnigh) is a 13th-century castle located on King's Island in LimerickIreland, next to the River Shannon.[1] Although the site dates back to 922 when the Vikings lived on the Island, the castle itself was built on the orders of King John in 1200. One of the best preserved Norman castles in Europe, the walls, towers and fortifications remain today and are visitor attractions. The remains of a Viking settlement were uncovered during archaeological excavations at the site in 1900.
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Ireland #1
Rock of Cashel
This is the first of several Ireland sets.  Our first touristy trip was to a couple of Castles local to Clonmel where we were staying.  The first is the Rock of Cashel.  The history of this Island is fantastic and mystical to begin with.  Some of the local lore is even more incredible and the legends are well, legendary. 😋
According to local legends, the Rock of Cashel originated in the Devil's Bit, a mountain 20 miles (30 km) north of Cashel when St. Patrick banished Satan from a cave, resulting in the Rock's landing in Cashel. Cashel is reputed to be the site of the conversion of the King of Munster by St. Patrick in the 5th century.
The Rock of Cashel was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster for several hundred years prior to the Norman invasion. In 1101, the King of Munster, Muirchertach Ua Briain, donated his fortress on the Rock to the Church. The picturesque complex has a character of its own and is one of the most remarkable collections of Celtic art and medieval architecture to be found anywhere in Europe.  Few remnants of the early structures survive; the majority of buildings on the current site date from the 12th and 13th centuries.
Images #3, 4 and 29 show the ruins of the Abbey that supported the castle above. You can see the pens for the livestock.  Only the Bishops and high clergy stayed in the castle.  Eventually the Archbishop of Ireland stayed there. Image #24 shows a gravestone for the Ryan family. The first date is 1780. The next is 1805. The last is 1942.  Image #49 shows some gravestones within the cathedral itself. The one in the far upper left of the frame is dated 1101, the grave of one of the original monks who helped build the cathedral. The lighter toned structure in image #22 is the last structure built within the castle walls.  It (the Chapel) was finished in the 12th century.  It has also been recently refurbished.  They tried the process out on this building as they weren't sure the older ones could withstand the power washer. The latest grave we saw was for 1972.  Some families have been burying their dead here for centuries.
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