Latest Entries »

“A three night stay in a very rural and scenic area and this view greeted me from my bedroom window this morning!”

“Time to breath…”

Tuesday 21st September 2021: Day Ten Waterford: What could be more exciting than a whole day of historical adventures in the bustling and vibrant city of Waterford! Waterford is full of trails, museums and acivities that connect to it’s historic past, its seafaring ways and of course its viking connection, all of which make it the fascinating city it is today. Lots to explore in the city’s historic streets and waterfront with some gorgeous and unique little shops and cafes to linger in – i can just smell that espresso!

The name Waterford comes from the old norse ‘Port Láirge’ meaning “ram (wether) fjord”) and is a  city in County Wexford in the south-east of Ireland, in the province of Munster. The city is situated at the head of Waterford Harbour and is the oldest and the fifth most populous city in Ireland. According to the 2016 Census, 53,504 people live in the city, with a wider metropolitan population of 82,963. Viking raiders first established a settlement near Waterford in 853. It and all the other  longphorts were vacated in 902, the Vikings having been driven out by the native Irish. The Vikings re-established themselves in Ireland at Waterford in 914, led at first by Ottir larla (Jarl Ottar) until 917.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterford

Waterford Treasures. Medieval Museum: Wow! What can i say – what a stunning and fascinating museum to visit! It actually consists of the Three Museums in the Viking Triangle, situated in the heart of Ireland’s oldest city. Three museums within a few paces of each other tell the 1100 year old story of Waterford from its foundation in 914 AD by Viking sea pirates. The massive stone fortress, Reginald’s Tower, houses Waterford’s Viking treasures. The Medieval Museum, the only purpose built museum specialising in medieval history in Ireland, showcases spectacular treasures from the Middle Ages. The elegant Bishop’s Palace, dating from 1743, is the home of the treasures of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. We were there a long time and so i will allow the photos to speak for themselves…but further historical info is in the museum link below:

https://www.waterfordtreasures.com/

The colourful history of Waterford – warts and all! <click to view>

The Viking Museum is housed in Reginald Tower, the oldest building in civic use in Ireland, said to date from 1003 A.D. The museum houses extensive artifacts, plus a video screening. The Medieval Museum includes two medieval chambers, the 13th century Choristers’ Hall and the 15th century Mayors Wine Vault and a surviving peice of clothing worm be Henry VIII, a cap of maintenance, awarded to the Mayor of Waterford, along with a bearing sword, in 1536. The Bishop’s Palace Mueum is a 250 year old Geogian structure, containing artifacts from 17th century Waterford to the present day. The Anglo-German architect Richard Cassels designed the palace, which was constructed in 1741. Many artifacts and manuscripts and histories ect can be seen in the photos above.

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • All connections and references will relate here

St Mary’s Church, Church Street, New Ross, County Wexford: New Ross and this  beautiful church were just a few miles away and our next port of call. New Ross was very colourful and quite ‘arty’ with very vibrant painted buildings and plenty of street art and after our visit to the church we fould a lovely little resturant for a home cooked meal. New Ross in Irish is Ros Mhic Thriúin, formerly Ros Mhic Treoin, and is a town in southwest County Wexford, located on the River Barrow, near the border with County Kilkenny. In 2016 it had a population of 8,040 people, making it the fourth-largest town in the county.  The port town of New Ross dates from the pre-Middle Ages. The earliest settlement in this area dates to the 6th century when St. Abban of Magheranoidhe founded a monastery in what is now Irishtown. The original earthen banked circular enclosure of his monastery was visible around the graveyard until it was removed by the council.

The colourful streets of New Ross <click to view>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Ross

St Mary’s church was built in 1210 on the site where St. Abban built a monastry in the 6th century. It was was founded by William Marshall, 1st Earl of Pembroke or his wife Isabel de Clare, a daughter of  Strongbow. The bells were stolen in 1654 by a  Liet-Col Beale, during the Irish Confederate Wars. Divine Service was performed at St. Mary’s until 1811 or 1812, when the west aisle was demolished to make room for the modern church. Many stories are associated locally with the ruins, including one about a soldier who entered the “Black Hole” under an archway with his dog; only the dog returned. In another, a man who attempted to take the cross out of the old chancel had his brains dashed out.

The outside of St Mary’s Church New Ross showing some beautiful carvings and mosaic <click to view>

It is now a Church of Ireland building that now occupies the site the nave of the old building; only the chancel and trancepts survive. The chancel has an aumbry, sedilia, piscina, tomb canopy, and two doorways: one transitional and one Gothic.  There are three lancet windows in the east gable. The old chancel and the north and south transepts contain one of Ireland’s largest collections of medieval funerary. One features a cross with Lamb of God, symbolism associated with the Knights Templar. Another rarity is a woman buried next to both of her husbands, a rarity in the Middle Ages.

Many stunning artworks and artifacts on display in St Mary’s Church, New Ross <click to view>

Grail Bloodline Connection:

  • Earl William Neville: 4th Earle of Abergavenny (5th Great Uncle) 1792-1868

 

“As we had a very busy day and took many lovely photos, i shall leave day ten as it is and not add another day. Returning back to our digs, almost on the coast this time, we took time out to chill before a 5 minute ride back to our digs…”

 

Carnivan’s stunning beach at near sunset… <click to view>

 

‘The Keeper of Scrolls’ February 2022

<moon.willow@ntlworld.com>

 

Sunday 19th September 2021

‘The Wild Atlantic Way’ is Ireland’s great secret… <click to enlarge>

“Another beautiful day greeted us as we journeyed towards Ballymackean in Co Cork, remaining flexible on our quests to chance encounters, we stopped awhile at this peaceful spot to enjoy the views and investigate. Killbrittain Castle is one of the oldest inhabited castles in Ireland and is well known with a very interesting and chequerd history. It was wonderful to encounter this peaceful spot, but as not part of our quests, each individual can check it out…”

Killbrittain Castle, so peaceful…. <click to enlarge>

The Lusitania Museum & Old Head Signal Tower: Ballymackean, Co Cork: The musem looked beautiful in the sunshine, as we arrived. It has been very thoughfully set out with a garden of remembrance so all can enjoy it. A very poignant place to visit, especially for our Karl whom has realatives on board the ship, which was probably sunk by a submarine. One can take photos of a ‘see through’ installation, that when viewed at the right angle, is positioned over the sea in the same position the oroginal vessel would have been. We took our time there, and let it all sink in, the sadness of it all, and Karl found his conection there too. The museum is very well set out with lots to see and an interesting, albeit sad story to tell. It is in a beautiful spot, yet no one knew all those years ago what would eventually be on thos spot. Another point on The Wild Atlantic Way and good to see so mant visitor there who we re interested and engaged.

https://www.oldheadofkinsale.com/

The Old Signal Head with views from the top <click to enlarge>

The R.M.S. Lusitania: The Royal Mail Steamship, RMS Lusitania, was built following an agreement, signed in 1903, between the Cunard Line and the British Admiralty. The British Government provided a loan of £2.6 million and an increase in mail subsidies to allow Cunard to build two new ships, Lusitania and Mauretania, which would be able to compete with their German transatlantic competitor. She was officially launched, on Thursday, 7th June 1906. On May 1st 1915, Captain Turner left Pier 54, in New York harbour, sailing to Liverpool with 1959 passengers and crew on board (including Karl’s own ancestors). On the morning of Friday 7th May, as Captain Turner brought Lusitania out of a heavy fog west of the Fastnet Lighthouse and entered the war-zone around the British Isles, he began receiving a series of vague signals from the British Admiralty based in Queenstown. One such Admiralty instruction was to maintain at least ten miles between his ship and the south coast of Ireland.  Just before 2.10 pm, Lusitania was struck by a single torpedo, fired by the German U-boat, U-20. The torpedo strike, at a point somewhere in the vicinity of the Bridge, was followed, almost instantly, by a second massive explosion which caused the bow of the ship to immediately list to starboard at an alarming rate. At the instant of impact Lusitania was fourteen miles off the Old Head of Kinsale. Captain Turner put the helm to land immediately. Lusitania travelled a further two and three-quarter miles before finally disappearing beneath the waves in a terror-inducing 18 minutes. To this very day, many mysteries still surround why this happened and no satisfactory explanation has ever been offered as to why the Juno, out of Queenstown, was withdrawn as an escort for the Lusitania, and no satisfactory explanation as to why the Juno was recalled from Roches point when she was on her way to the rescue of any possible survivors. Some even say that the Lusitania was not as ‘innocent’ as believed and that there is much more to all of this and why she was targeted than meets the eye and probably we shall never ever  know….

 

Images of the ill-fated Lusitania <click to view>

The Memorial Garden:  is peaceful and well thought out with a very poingnat ‘wave’ sculptor that depicts the whole sad story and contains all the names of those onboard. Here we can see Karl, in a contemplative moments as he  discovers his relatives names……

 

Time for contemplation in the memorial gardens…. <click to view>

The museum within the tower is very interesting with lots of photos, newspaper clippings and artifacacts. Just a small selection here:

Grail Bloodline Connection:

Died in the sinking of Lusitania 7th  May 1915 (sinking probably by a submarine)

  • Albert Charles Neville (2nd x G Uncle) 1874-1915 (41yrs). Along with children, but Mabel Neville, hus wife survived and is buried in Watford Cemetry, UK.

      

The Martello Tower: Ringaskiddy: The tower here lies in an out of the way field on the Ringaskiddy peninsula, east of the village of the same name, in County Cork in Ireland. Today looking rather like a building site or reclaimed land.

Martello towers are small defensive forts that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century, from the time of the French Revolutionary Wars onwards. They stand up to 12 meters high (with 2 floors) and typically had a garrison of one officer and 15 to 25 men. Their round structure and thick walls of solid masonry made them resistant to cannon fire, while their height made them an ideal platform for a single heavy artillery piece, mounted on the flat roof. They were used during the first half of the 19th century, but became obsolete with the introduction of powerful rifled artillery. Ringaskiddy Martello Tower is one of 5 Martello towers built in Cork Harbour. The Ringaskiddy tower is the most southern one. It never saw action.

At present the site is closed off but you can walk around it, but the day we arrived to see it the entrance drive was restricted with a warning sign at the entrance. We did try and drive around the area but no other entrance exisited. Also a mysterious figure whom appeared to be some kind of ‘guardian of the gate’ was hovering very near to the entrance, trying to engage with us, but something did not make sense as he was not there a few minutes before hand. He was apparently waiting for a lift, yet this was a very out of the way place, a very strange place to wait for a lift… And as mysteriously as he had appeared, a few minutes later he was gone. Read about it all in the video account below. We managed to squeeze through a small gap in the fence where the track took us to the area of the tower, something that many local dog walkers appeared to have done. As we saw the tower in the distance, the heavens totally opened up upon us and we were drenched in a matter of seconds, it was a very local occurence and it almost seemed as we were not meant to be there. We hot-footed it back to the warmth of the car and needless to say our ‘visitor’ was nowhere to be seen… Not an unusual occurence at al for us on these quests – and i seemed to have picked up a visitor of my own!

https://www.castles.nl/ringaskiddy-martello

Lusitania is at 31:48 in and The Martello Tower is at 39:47 in:

Quest 33 ‘Eire the Great’ Round Up Video!

 

  

…..and the heavens opened! Plus i seem to have ‘passenger’ on board! <click to view>

Grail Bloodline Connection:

  • Lord Robert De Neville (21st x GGF) 1237-1271

Monday 20th September: Day Nine: Tintern Abbey, Saltmills, New Ross: Co Wexford: Located on what as known as the ‘Hook Penisular’ near where we were staying, this Cistercian monastery, set in the heart of  beautiful countryside, was founded c. 1200 by William, Earl Marshal on lands held through his marriage to the Irish heiress, Isabella de Clare. This abbey, founded as a daughter-house of Tintern Major in Wales is often referred to as Tintern de Voto. It is wonderful to see so much of the abbey still standing, and we were able to go inside despite covid. The abbey was colonised by monks from the  Cistercian abbey at Tintern, Wales, of which Marshal was also patron. To distinguish the two, the mother house in Wales was sometimes known as “Tintern Major” and the abbey in Ireland as “Tintern de Voto” (Tintern of the vow).

Well preserved with beautiful views <click to view>

The nave, chancel, tower, chapel and cloister still stand. In the 16th century the old abbey was granted to the Colclough family and soon after the church was partly converted into living quarters and further adapted over the centuries. The Colcloughs occupied the abbey from the sixteenth century until the mid-twentieth. Conservation works have included special measures to protect the local bat colonies. The abbey is set in a special area of conservation and is surrounded by woodland within which are walking trails. Not to be missed is the restored Colclough Walled Garden situated within the old estate, and what a delight they were, as said set in a natural wooded area, quiet away from the main abbey area, but we were given kind permission to drive there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tintern_Abbey,_County_Wexford

This is exactly what a walled garden should look like; an absolute delight! <click to view>

https://hookpeninsula.com/guide/tintern-abbey

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • Lord Robert De Neville (21st GGF) 1237-1271

 

The beautiful area of Saltmills on the way to Fethard Castle <click to view>

Fethard Castle, Fethard, Co Wexford: We were pleasantly suprised when we arrived at Fethard Castle, as for all intents and purposes (according to our print out) the castle was closed, as in a state of total disrepair. So what a treat to see that the castle is now under going intensive renovations. One still cannot go inside but the surrounding gardens have all been made beautiful for pilgrims and visitors alike. The castle is part of the Norman Way, pligrims and leisure walk. Fethard (Irish: Fiodh Ard, meaning “high wood”) is a town in the barony of Middle Third, South Tipperary in Ireland. It is also a parish in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly. It is located 10 miles east of Cashel on the Clashawley River. The town is remarkable for having been heavily fortified and completely surrounded by town walls as part of Edward I’s policy of establishing fortified market towns. The town walls rise to a height of 25 feet and can still be seen today. Most of the circuit survives, making Fethard the most complete medieval circuit in Ireland.

Under renovation but lots more to come! <click to view>

The castle was built by Christ Church Canterbury after they had been granted the borough of Fethard by Hervey de Montmorency. However, it had belonged to the Bishop of Ferns before the Norman conquest of 1169, and he successfully reclaimed it. The stone castle here at Fethard was built in several phases during the 14th and 15th centuries. The earliest part of the castle is a gatehouse located on the eastern side of the building. The castle was probably built by the Bishop of Ferns as a summer residence and the crenellated circular tower was topped by a bellcote. In the later medieval period several bishops resided at Fethard to avoid the attacks of the native Irish in north Wexford. In the 17th century Fethard Castle became the property of the Loftus family whose grand residence at Loftus Hall is another site along the Norman Way. It was inhabited until 1922.

https://www.1066.co.nz/Mosaic%20DVD/whoswho/text/Fethard%20castle.htm

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • Lord Robert De Neville (21st GGF) 1237-1271

 

“And so with this wonderful Irish quest heading towards its conclusion, we still have a lovely full and fascinating day in Waterford to look forward too, where you may see the ‘queen of Waterford on her throne!

 

 

‘The Keeper of Scrolls’ February 2022

<moon.willow@ntlworld.com>

 

‘The next day, day six was a beautiful sunny day as the photos will testify and it was just a ten mile drive from Clonakilty, Cork where we were staying for the next 4 nights, to Rosscarberry and our first port of call for the day’

Day Six: 17th September: St Fachtna’s Cathedral. Rosscarberry: (Irish: Ros Ó gCairbre, meaning ‘Cairbre’s wood’) is a town in County Cork that sits on a shallow estuary, opening onto Rosscarbery Bay. The area has been occupied since at least the Neolithis period, as evidenced by several Neolithic sites such as portal dolmens. The area is also home to a number of Bronze Age remains, including stone circles, ring forts and holy wells. Due to its popularity as a centre of pilgrimage it was also known as Ros Ailithir (“Wood of the Pilgrims”). The hereditary chieftains of the area, or tuath, were the O’Leary’s, known as Uí Laoghaire Ruis Ó gCairbre, until it passed to Norman control in the early thirteenth century. In March 1921, during the Irish War of Independance, Tom Barry’s 3rd Cork IRA Brigade attacked and destroyed the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks in Rosscarbery. Two RIC officers were killed in the attack, and nine others were injured. There is a plaque on the site of the former barracks, beside the current Garda station, commemorating the event. In the 20 years between the 1991 and 2011 census, the population of Rosscarbery grew by approximately 17%, to 534 people. As of the 2016 census, the population of the town was then 490. Although it looked an interesting place to explore, it was the catherdral which was our focus of attention and we spent an interesting time there.

A gorgeous day to visit St Fachtna’s Cathedral, one of the keystone churches <click to enlarge>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosscarbery

Although at first the cathedral appeared to be locked, a quick phone call was all it took for us to be let in by a very chatty and obliging guy, attached to the church of course. He of course turned out to be the very kind Rector Chris, whom shared his history and knowledge with us. He certainly knew his history of the cathedral and the area, so we were treated to a personal guided tour. It was so important to be able have access to St Fachtna’s Catherdral today, as it is a Keystone Church, an energy point and it is said that there are some very important remains hidden within it’s walls… This cathedral is one of the smallest in Ireland, yet lovingly looked after and beautiful inside and out. St. Fachtna’s Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral Church of St Faughan, has been a place of Christian worship for over 1400 years and is one of the most significant religous sites in Ireland. The current cathedral dates from the 1600’s, and was extensively restored in the 19th century. It is the smallest cathedral in Ireland, being the size of a small parish church. It is also the only cathedral in Ireland in which the bellringers can be seen from inside the building. There are a fine set of six bells here, in the key of G, and they are regularly rung.

 

The interior was immaculate and beautifully cared for <click to enlarge>

Here St. Fachtna founded a monastic school in AD 590. Pilgrims and scholars came from near and far and gained for Ross the title “Ross Ailithir”: the wooded headland of the pilgrims. The ruins of a church erected by St Faughnan still exist on the southern slope of the land on which Rosscarbery is built . A church or cathedral has occupied the site since at least the tenth century, and after Bishop John Edmund de Courcy resigned in 1517, Pope Leo X ordered an inquiry into the state of the diocese, and it was noted that by then a cathedral stood on the site. It was known at that time as Tiompal mor Feachtna, or “Feachtna’s big temple”

Such wonderful carvings to see, and very much a part of our Grail Quest, with subtle clues for the keen and learned of eye <click to enlarge>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fachtna_of_Rosscarbery

The first reference to a Cathedral on this site is in the 12th. century. The present building dates from 1612 and was extensively rebuilt following the Rebellion of 1641. Significant developments occurred within the building in the nineteenth century. The spire of the original building was removed in either 1785, 1793, or 1795, with the current spire being added in 1806. The walls of the church were freestone, but what remained of the old walls were plastered and dashed in 1880. Storms have blown the top of the spire over on two occasions, once in the winter of 1886, and then again in February 1923. Between 2002 and 2005, major restorations were carried out on the cathedral, including rebuilding the organ and restoring the bells. In 2012, an additional bell was added to the tower.

A joy to see so many treaured artifacts still in place <click to enlarge>

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_Church_of_St._Fachtna

 

Many stunning windows and plaques tell the history of the cathedral <click to enlarge>

Grail Bloodline Connection:

  • A Keystone church and energy point

Drombeg Stone Circle Co Cork: Just a very short drive away was this very impresive stone circle, a small axial stone circle, also known as ‘The Druid’s Altar’. Luckily it was quiet when we arrived even though a very popular place to visit. The stone circle originally consisted of seventeen closely spaced stones, made of local sandstone, of which 13 survive. The circle spans 31 ft in diameter. As an axial or “Cork–Kerry” stone circle, it contains two taller entrance stones placed opposite a recumbent axial stone. Its axis is orientated south west towards the setting sun. The most westerly stone is the long recumbent and has two egg shaped cup marks, one with a ring around it. An axial stone circle, also known as a “Cork–Kerry type” stone circle, it is flanked by a pair of high axial portal stones, which mark the entrance to the stone circle, and face the recumbent altar stone. This arrangement creates a south-west axis, and orients the monument in the direction of the setting sun during the midwinter solstice.

Drombeg Stone Circle: an amazing site with powerful energies, interesting features and of course Craft/Grail quest connections hdden within the land. Old stories, from the physical and the metaphysical realms never fail to delight….  <click to enlarge>

Near the stone circle, approximately 40m to the west, are two round stone-walled prehistoric huts and a fulacht fiadh which evidence suggests was in use until approximately the 5th century AD. Of the two huts, the largest had a timber roof supported by timber posts. The smaller hut contains the remains of a cooking sport on its eastern side. A causeway leads from the huts to the fulacht fiadh, which has a hearth, well and a water trough.

The domestic areas, although some parts allude to a more sinister past (as the energies testify) especially as bones have been recovered here…<click to enlarge>

Following a number of surveys in the early 1900s, the site was excavated and restored in 1957. Radio Carbon Dating of samples taken from the site suggest that it was active c. 1100 – 800 BC. An inverted pot, found in the centre of the circle, contained the cremated remains of a young adolescent wrapped with thick cloth. The pot was found close to the centre of the circle and was found alongside smashed sherds and a collection of sweepings from a pyrle, so one could hazard a gues that it was a place of sacrifice too…. Parts of the site are still to be excavated, so who knows what will be discovered there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drombeg_stone_circle

A riddle from Mr Karl Neville to make you think about the secrets of the stones & what they may have witnessed…

Grail Bloodline Connection:

  • King Niall Mac Echdach. King of Ireland (53rd GGF) 311 – 378 (67)

Mizen Head: Not a part of our quest but this stunning area was recommended to us by some fellow travellers and as we were in the area it proved to be well worth a vist, for the views of the coastline are simply out of this world! It is a stop on the ‘Wild Atlantic Way’, a route that takes in all the wild and ancient places. Ireland truly is the land of dreams…. 

It was a stunning drive to reach it too. Mizen Head is one of the extreme points of Irealand and is a major tourist attraction, noted for its dramatic cliff scenery. One of the main transatlantic shipping routes passes close by to the south, and Mizen Head was, for many seafarers, the first (or last) sight of Europe. The tip of the peninsula is almost an island, cut off by a deep chasm, now spanned by a bridge; this gives access to an old signal station and a lighthouse. The signal station, once permanently staffed, is now a museum housing displays relating to the site’s strategic significance for transatlantic shipping and communications, including the pioneering efforts of Guglielmo Marconi. The “99 steps” which formed part of the original access route have been supplemented by a series of paths and viewing platforms, and a full range of visitor facilities is available at the entrance to the site, however it is not for the faint-hearted or for those challenged by walking, for there are lots of steps and very steep slopes to navigate up and down the rocky cliffs.