Tag Archive: Ireland


“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>

 

“So continuing with day five, we were on the road again to our next stop-over, but first three important sites to seek out. A town, an island and a mountain journey; a whole day of adventures, lunch and shopping lie ahead, stepping back in time to discover the present…”

 

Day Five: 16th September: Daniel O’Connell Church and Oratory, Ring of Kerry, Cahersiveen, County Kerry: Cahersiveen with a population of around 1200 people is one of the westernmost towns in Ireland and hence one of the westernmost towns in Europe. It has remained principally a market town down the centuries and never fully enjoyed the benefits of the tourist industry perhaps making it one of the more original towns on the Ring of Kerry. The name Caherciveen can actually be spelt in 3 different ways, Caherciveen, Cahersiveen and Cahirciveen. The town of Cahersiveen lies at the foot of Beentee Mountain, on the river Fertha and overlooks Valentia Harbour. A beautiful marina has been added to the town in recent years and if you are a boating or marine enthusiast then it’s well worth a visit. Another unique and indiidual town, full of colour and vibrancy, and we were learning this is a large part of the character of this part of Ireland. Full of ‘arty’ and delightful shopping experiences and of course we did linger awhile to fully experience it all…

Colourful vibrant Cahersiveen <click to enlarge>

An interesting church, beautiful inside, (Grail clues hidden within) and being delighfully open, and the only church, unique in Ireland to be named after a layman. The church is located in the parish of Cahersiveen on the spectacular Ring of Kerry, a trip in itself, for the whole area is stunning and full of historic places to visit, such as castles, standing stones, abbeys and bays. The church bears the name of Daniel O’Connel ‘The Liberator’ who was born in Cahersiveen 6th August 1775 and who worked in his political career in the early 19th century to bring about Catholic Emancipation.

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

The outside of the church showing the informative plaques and artwork <click to enlarge>

The church bearing his name was built between 1888–1902, and is the most dominant feature/landmark in the town.  It is constructed of Northern Irish granite  from Co. Down, and built in a combination of gothic revivalist and medieval style architecture. The laying of a marble slab which serves as the cornerstone took place in 1888. This marble block is very special as it was a gift from Pope Leo XIII sourced from the catacombs in Rome. Buried in the grounds of the church are the remains of Monsignor Hugh O’ Flaherty whose heroic life is captured on the famous Gregory Peck Film “The Scarlet and the Black”. Monsignor O’Flaherty (1898–1963) a Cahersiveen native, was a Vatican diplomat during the second world war. During his time in the vatican O’Flaherty organised the concealment and escape of more than 5,000 people including Jews and prisoners of war from the German occupying forces without the knowledge or approval of his superiors. There are some nice memorial plaques around the grounds of the church and a imposing and colourful artwork painted upon one of the nearby walls.

The story inside was something else entirely, stunningly magnificant, especially for a church <click to enlarge>

https://www.theringofkerry.com/daniel-o-connell

 

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • Earl Gospatrick Mac Maldred (Karl’s 26th X GGF) 1042-1082 = 40

“So across the water it was to Valentia Island”

 

 

St John the Baptist Church Kilmore, Valentia Island: Located on the Skellig Coast in the Southern Peninsulas of the Wild Atlantic Way adjacent to the Ring of Kerry.  Valentia Island is wild and remote and one of Ireland’s best kept secrets. It is everything one would wish for from an island. As one would think, lots of history to connect it to the sea, with even a knight or two within its history. Valentia Island is scattered with ancient cairns, dolmens, wedge tombs, standing stones, Ogham stones, a promontory fort, and the remains of churches and numerous beehive huts. Mug Ruith, or Mogh Roith, ‘slave of the wheel,’ a mythological, powerful, blind druid of Munster, is said to have lived on Valentia Island. Legend says he could grow to an enormous size, and that his breath caused storms and turned men to stone.

The Knights of Kerry: https://www.valentiaisland.ie/life-business/history-culture/knights-of-kerry/

 

Rugged and wild – Valentia Island <click to enlarge>

The name in Irish means Dairbhre, ‘oak isle’, and is one of Ireland’s most westerly points. It lies off the Iveragh Peninsula in the southwest of  County Kerry and linked to the mainland by the Maurice O’Neill Memorial Bridge at Portmagee. Valentia Island’s permanent population is 665, as of the 2011CSO Census.  It is about 7 miles long by almost two miles wide, making it the third-biggest island off the Irish coast. The English name ‘Valentia’ or ‘Valencia’ Island does not come from the Spanish city of Valencia, it comes from the Irish name of Valentia Harbour, cuan Bhéil Inse, “harbour-mouth of the island”. It was anglicized as ‘Bealinche’ and ‘Ballentia’ before evolving into ‘Valentia’ but is It is possible the spelling was influenced by Spanish sailors; there is a grave marker to Spanish sailors lost at sea in the Catholic cemetery at Kylemore.

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

There is not much info about the actual ruin of The Church of Saint John the Baptist, it was built of slate at Kilmore in 1815, and was designed by James Pain and despite Cannon John Warburton’s lengthy absences from Valentia during his time as rector, a new Church of Saint John the Baptist was built at Kilmore in 1815, almost a generation before Knightstown was laid out and developed by Alexander Nimmo on behalf of the Knights of Kerry. The church could seat a congregation of about 60 people. However, as the Church of Ireland population of Valentia grew with the growth of Knightstown, the expansion of the slate quarry and the arrival of the transatlantic cable, the church became too small for the needs of a growing parish.

 

Church of St John the Baptist – beautiful, wild & almost lost in time… <click to enlarge>

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • Earl William Neville, 4th Earl of Abergavenny (previously visited by us) (5th Great Uncle) 1792-1868

 

“We left Valentia Island and enjoyed another spectacular drive up into the mountains to our next destination, almost of another world”

 

Timeless and ‘out of time’ <click to enlarge>

The Glen Cemetry Old, Saint Finan’s Bay, County Kerry,: This little ruin and extensive graveyard, is well off the beaten track and very much ‘off road’ for we had to abandon the car for a little walk there, along an old track. The graveyard  did have a very magical and ‘other wordly’ feel about it, when there. Another capsule hidden in time…

 

The Old Glen Cemetery. Stunning, magical and hidden in time…. <click to enlarge>

 

It was very hard finding anything about the burial ground, it took a while, but i came up with a little something. The cemetery is located in the grounds of an old ruined church, which was probably dedicated to St. Finan (otherwise Fionán) with spectacular views of St. Finan’s Bay. The cemetery is now ‘closed’, except for occasional burials in a family plot, and has been replaced by the newer Glen Cemetery. Old Killmagh Church (in the Irish language: Cill Imleagh) is traditionally is associated with Saint Fionan, founder on the Monastery on Skellig Michael as well as Monasteries on Inishfallen Island and Aghadoe in Kilarney, Church Island in Waterville and the Derrynane Holy Well here in the Glen. This ancient Church is listed in The Papal Taxation List (1302 -1306) for the Diocese of Ardfert. It was noted in the list of parochial churches in 1622 and again as being in ruins in 1756. The ruins visible today are that of a 19th Century Church built against the northern wall of the original medieval church.

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • Earl Gospatrick Mac Maldred (26th GGF) 1042-1082

 

“I have decided to start a new page for the step of the way, as lots to share and comment on, as we visit on Day Six: 17th September: St Fachtna’s Catherdral Rosscarberry, and the Drombeg Stone Circle Co Cork. On Day Seven: 18th September: Saint Fin Barre’s Catherdral. Cork, and Christ Church: Rath-Healy, Fermoy, County Cork”

 

“For now its new digs and bed!”

 

‘The Keeper of Scrolls’ January 2022

<moon.willow@ntlworld.com>

11th July 2021:  Day thirteen and very last day of this epic quest!

Packing up a car in the pouring rain, always makes leaving an area, that much more sad and poignant and it certainly was a wet old day that greeted us as we left our digs for the very last time. But of course we still had a full day of questing and travelling ahead of us before boarding the night time ferry from Belfast back to England and home. So, very much lots still to look forward to! The rain had made everything look very bright and fresh and green, although i swear the green in Ireland is a much more vibrant green than in the uk!

https://www.gloine.ie/search/building/3300/devenish

St Molaise Church: Devenish Parish Monea. County Fermanagh: Happily the church was opened and in use when we arrived and we were able to enter inside and to take photos, especially of the windows. The church is in an extremely pretty setting with rolling hills and mountains behind it and a lovely spacious and very green graveyard. The church tower is dated 1787, the architect being Sir Thomas Drew, 1889-90. The church is limestone ashlar with red sandstone windows, quoins, string-courses and chimney. The fifteenth-century traceried window with carved foliate details and font are from from Devenish Abbey. The church has some stunning stained glass windows.

There are some interesting windows here, a very ancient font and some interesting plaques <click to enlarge>

St Molaise: One of the windows depicts St Molaise, so i endevoured to find out who he was. One century after St. Patrick’s death and paralleling the growth of monasticism in Ireland in the sixth century, St. Molaise (whose death is recorded in the Annals of Ulster in both 563 and 570 A.D.), founded a monastery on Devenish Island. The story is told that St. Molaise, resting from his labors, listened spellbound to bird song that was the Holy Spirit communicating. The reverie lasted a hundred years, and then St. Molaise looked around after the interval and the monastery had been built. The early Irish Christians’ belief in the supernatural had deep roots in the Celtic religion, and early saints were regarded as a more of powerful druid.  Other stories attributable to St. Molaise give him a magical rather than spiritual or moral authority.  Legends claim that during a snow storm on a visit to Tara, St. Molaise’s tent alone was free from snow. “The most excellent fire of divine love in him made the snows to melt.”

This stained glass  portrait of St. Molaise in the church was created in 1968. The  window is within a  stone window frame over 450 years old originally from St. Mary’s Priory on Devenish Island.  September 12th is the feast day for St. Molaise.

https://www.holyisle.org/the-island/history/

Another wonderfully scenic journey took us on to our next destination…

Mountcharles Pier: on the Wild Atlantic Way: Mountcharles Pier and the village of Mountcharles is located between Donegal Town and Killybegs in the south of County Donegal and is a Wild Atlantic Way Discovery Point. The area was originally known as Tamhnach ant Salainn (meaning “The salt mountain field”). This refers to a salt mine in the area. It was renamed Mount Charles by the local 17th century landlord Charles Conyngham after himself. Charles Conyngham was a direct ancestor of the current Lord Henry Mountcharles of Slane Castle in County Meath famous for it’s music festivals. Many of the local buildings date from the 17th century with one building in the village known as the Olde Market House built in 1676. The pier is a tranquil spot with good views and we can certainly testify to that fact. It was a gorgeous spot, big open skies with a totally unspoilt vista, giving us a well earned place of peace. The sunlight and actual light was very clear and calming and so photogenic; infact a very calming place of peace and beauty to be truly savoured…

Grail Bloodline Connections:

  • ‘The beginning of an ending…..’

So once more on the road again, through Ireland’s many vibrant towns and villages, stopping for lunch along the way, our next stop being the amazing and revealing St Nicholas Church in Carrickfergus and what a gem of information that would prove to be.

St Nicholas Church in Carrickfergus: Carrickfergus (from Irish: Carraig Fhearghais meaning ‘Fergus’ rock”) is a large town in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It sits on the north shore of Belfast Lough, 11 miles from Belfast and had a population of 27,998 at the 2011 census. It is County Antrim’s oldest town and one of the oldest towns in Ireland. Carrickfergus Castle was built in the late 12th century at the behest of Anglo-Norman Knight John de Courcy, whom played a very significant role in the towns history. The town is said to take its name from Fergus Mor (Fergus the Great), the legendary king of Dal Riata. According to one tale, his ship ran aground on a rock by the shore, which became known as ‘Carraig Fhearghais’, the rock of Fergus. Throughout the course of The Troubles, there was a reasonably large parmilitary presence in the town, namely the Ulster Volunteer Force and Ulster Defence Asociation.

St Nicholas Church and graveyard plus a beautifully painted building nearby..

Read much more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrickfergus

The church stands in the centre of Carickfergus and was built 1182 AD. It was commisioned by Anglo-Norman knight John de Courcy whos castle is just a short way away. It is believed that an earlier religious building was originally on this site attached to St Mary’s Abbey. St Nicholas, at over 800 years old has had an interesting and tumultous past. The original design was cruxiform in shape and constructed on Cistercian lines. It had Norman arches opening up on the side asles. In 1306 the church was enlarged by Robert de Mercer, resulting in the chancel being twice as long as the nave. After the reformation he church changed from catholic to church of Ireland and was not only the spiritual centre of the town but also the mayor’s courtroom. In 1568 the church was repaired by Henry Sidney, however attacks on the town in the 1570’s sadly left St Nicholas roofless and semi-derelict. But in 1614 the master mason Thomas Papps was employed to rebuild the church.

There were so many very ancient and symbolic artifacts within the church and we were very lucky to meet the very kind verger (?) and to have the church unlocked for us. The energies there were very strong indeed, which was no surprise given what a powerful and significant site the chuch was built upon (Craft-wise) <click to enlarge>

Read much more about the church here:

St Nicholas Church, Carrickfergus

https://shapedbyseaandstone.com/attraction/saint-nicholas-church-carrickfergus

The Book of Kells: There is also of course a big connection here, on times path, to the town of Kells that we visited earlier on, on this quest. Kells in County Meath, and the monastic site with it’s round tower is from where the Book of Kells takes it ‘s name, from the monks of the monastry there. But sadly the Book of Kells is no longer there in Kells, it’s real home and currently resides in Dublin. St Columba Tower is at Kells and the Book of Kells is also known as the Book of Columba. The monks there were said to have a metaphysical connection to G-d, in the form of a portal reached via the tower… and a connection here to the ‘Last King of Tara’ and the ‘First Christian King’ (maybe one and the same?)

Amazingly on our last day, in St Nicholas Church here in Carrickfergus; a church of extremely high and potent energies, we came across this beautiful manuscript. A most wonderful copy of the Book of Kells, not many copies were actually produced so how amazing to see it here! Sadly there were lights right above it but i did my best in the way of photography.The church was full of very ancient and relevant symbolism which i am yet to fully digest.

St Columba Tower at Kells, where the monks created the Book of Kells

One of the rare copies of the Book of Kells silently residing in St Nicholas Church, Carrickfergus

An amazing find and a fitting end to a most wonderfull and amazing quest, where knowledge was sought and found, where companionship became stronger and where the physical and mataphysical combined as one….

Glenoe Waterfall. Lairn. County Antrim: So as this quest was drawing to its close, two more beautiful sites still awaited us. Glenco waterfall turned out to be truly stunning sight, with the clearest of water and deep green folaige, nature at its best and with connections also to the Knights Templars and their rites, a truly mesmerising peaceful place, imbued with amazing energies still.

Glenoe or Gleno (from Irish: Gleann Ó, meaning ‘Glen of the mass or lump’) is a hamlet in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It is halfway between Larne and Carickfergus. In the 2001 Census, it had a population of 87 people. Glenoe Waterfall, owned by the National Trust, is located near the village. St. Columbas Church of Ireland, is located at the top of the village, nearby the Orange Hall and Young Farmer’s Hall. The village is home to an Orange Lodge and a Royal Black Preceptory.

One of N.I. lesser known ‘hidden treasures’, Gleno is a truly magnificent 30 foot waterfall nestling in the glens of Antrim. This was a bit of a surprise visit for us at the end of a busy day, making our way towards the night ferry from Belfast. It was a lovely stop to admire the view and to drink in the energies there. It is a very quite spot, blink and you would miss it, one of the hidden secrets of our lands. There was a small car park, near a short wooded walk up to the waterfall; one can hear the water before one actually sees it. A couple of elderly gentlemen were sitting on the far side, with maybe a flask of tea between them, but apart form that we only saw another couple the whole time we were there, so plenty of time to relax and take it all in.

A tranquil wander on our last day….

https://whatsonni.com/attractions/glenoe-waterfall

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

James Chaine Memorial Tower. Larne: With the sun getting ready to set we arrived in Larne for our last stop of the day – the James Chaine Memorial Tower alongside the harbour, it is a memorial to James Chaine, a former Member of Parliment for Antrim, who died in 1885. It is a cylindrical stone tower lighthouse with a conical roof, situated on the west side of entrance to Larne Lough. It is reminiscent of the Irish Round Towers of the past. It is know locally as ‘the pencil’ and is built of Irish granite. It is in a lovely setting beside the sea, although i could imagine the seas pounding those tall granite walls in wintertime.

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

https://plex.page/James_Chaine

A fitting end then to a lovely day and a most wonderful quest. So many very special memories to take home. We really enjoyed Ireland, nay fell in love with the counrty, the vast spaces, the clean air, the coastline and mountains, the wonderful light and amazing ‘greens’. But above all Ireland is a land of contrasts, the old sitting side by side with the new. Ireland has a sense of place, identity and purpose and is deffinitely not going to give up its past, in more ways than one, holding on tightly to it’s secrets and comradeship. There is a lot in Ireland, in the places we passed through, that alluded to ‘the troubles’ and in many communities one can sense a feeling of solidarity even to this day, and hints of times gone by are all around, only just kept hidden… I guess each community has a different tale to tell and many miles yet to travel.

From Larne, showing some of the &#