The Templar’s Church

As we made our way south from Duncannon, we stumbled upon this little gem… Ruins of a Templar’s Church. There are only scant remains of the original Templar Church, but the medieval tower is quite impressive. It stands four stories high and has crenellations on top. The old 19th century church has all of its walls standing but is completely roofless and is joined to the tower by an extension where the entrance door lies.

The Knights Templar first utilized this spot by building a wooden tower here. The current stone tower that can be seen was built after the Templar lands were given to their rivals the Knights Hospitaller. The more modern church building is the old Church of Ireland church that was used up until the newer St Mogues church in Fethard was built.

The Order of the Knights Templar were originally founded in 1119 with the responsibility of protecting pilgrims making the journey to Jerusalem. While the military arm of the order was battling in the Crusades many lands throughout Europe were given to the order to help fund their efforts.

Following the Anglo-Norman Invasion of Ireland King Henry II granted the lands to the south of a line drawn from Duncannon to Baginbun. Following the dissolution of the order on Friday 13th, 1307 the lands were given to their rival order, the Order of Knights of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, also known as the Knights Hospitalier. Three stone towers still stand from the time of the Hospitaliers, built on the same locations as those used by the Templars. One at Ballyhack, one at Killoggan and this one at Templetown. ~Hookpenisula.com

See you at our next stop; stay safe my friends!

To see Dan’s post from this lucky find, click HERE

Duncannon Fort, County Wexford, Ireland

Once we crossed the River Barrow on the ferry from Passage East, we stopped at Duncannon Beach to stretch our legs and take in the sites. The beach was so peaceful during our visit; however, knowing this site has been utilized by many to protect from invaders since earlier than the 12th century, I am sure it has seen its share of troubled waters.

A fort was built on this site by Normans in the 12th century, and there may have been an earlier earthen fort built by Gaelic Irish. The present fort was built in 1587–88 by Queen Elizabeth I to defend Waterford from possible invasion from the Spanish Armada.

Duncannon Fort is an impressive presentation of a bastioned fortress perched on the side of the stunning Hook Peninsula, County Wexford, part of Ireland’s Ancient East. This historic structure has gathered countless intriguing and awe-inspiring stories over its 450-year history and holds one of the best vantage points to take in the beautiful Waterford Estuary from.  Further information can be found at www.duncannonfort.ie

To see Dan’s images from this site, click HERE

County Waterford, Ireland

We started our day off at Colneen House B&B in Tramore just like every other morning in Ireland – BREAKFAST!

In avoiding major metropolitan areas as much as possible, we made our way towards a ferry town – Passage East through Crooke town. We stopped for coffee and noticed St. John’s Baptist Church and decided to take a closer look. After this brief stop for some morning coffee and a quick adventure, we hopped on the ferry and away we went! Our day was just beginning; see you at our next stop.

To see Dan’s post of this portion of our trip, click here

To End the Day

Our stop in Tramore, Co. Waterford was one of our unscheduled destinations as we really did not know where we would end our day. We called ahead to make reservations at Colneen House Bed & Breakfast which is located in charming town by the sea in southeast Ireland.

We were not aware, but April 24, 2016 was the Republic of Ireland census. The census is a detailed count of every person living in Ireland on that particular date. Census forms are delivered to every household in the state on the night of the census. Any property where someone might be present on that night also received a form which includes hotels, guesthouses, hospitals, and ships.  I am not sure how we were counted in this census but we did fill out a form.

The Bed and Breakfast was adorable and offered a wonderful breakfast; I would highly recommend a stay if in the area. We did not have much time in this town but did talk a walk along The Doneraile Walk. Enjoy some photos taken as we traveled to our destination for the night and ended this very exciting day. I also included some interesting finds in Tramore during our walk that night.  Both Dan and I very much enjoyed the Guinness signage from town to town.

To see Dan’s blog of our adventures in this town, click here.

The Town of Cahir and Cahir Castle, Ireland

Our next adventure for this day was to stop in the beautiful town of Cahir. Close your eyes and imagine the colorful pubs and the other stone buildings that lined the streets.  For much of its history, the town has been influenced by the Butler family. It was from this family that the first Barons of Cahir were created. The town was known for much of its history as being a defense town.

Cahir Castle, which is situated on a small island in the River Suir, is the town’s main tourist attraction.  It is one of the largest ancient castles in Ireland and was built in County Tipperary in 1142.  Standing tall, the castle appears to grow out of the rock. Now situated in the town center, Cahir Castle is well preserved and has a guided tour and audiovisual show in multiple languages. The castle tour will take you down spiral staircases as well as into the deep dark prison dungeons. It is one of the best-preserved standing castles of Ireland. In 1375, the castle was granted to James Butler, newly created Baron of Cahir, for his loyalty to Edward III. In 1961 the last Lord Cahir died, and the castle reverted to the state. ~irishtourism.com

We spent most of our time wandering the castle grounds, but we did take a brief walk in the town center. The geese and goslings on the castle grounds where a hit as the crowd watched them drop from the foliage where they nested along the wall into the cast moat. Dan got the best sequence of the babies entering the water so I have included them here. To see Dan’s post of this site, click here.

I hope you enjoyed this leg of the trip; I will see you at our next stop! Until then, I am sending peace and love to each and everyone of you.

The Castle and a Mill – County Cork, Ireland

Leaving Killarney National Park was bittersweet; however, this was just the beginning of the adventure for this day. I knew we had many more opportunities to become awestruck as one never knows when they happen to come across a ruined castle in Ireland 😉

Carrigaphooca Castle or “Castle on the Rock of the Fairy” is a ruined five story rectangular tower house situated on a steep-sided rock overlooking the River Sullane. Located just west of Macroom, the tower dominates the landscape is is hard to miss. Carrigaphooca is made of sandstone and limestone and was built as a defensive tower by MacCarthy clan member, Donal MacCarthy of Drishane. The structure is positioned in an area rich with neolithic monuments; a stone circle lies two fields to the east. Wikipedia

Bealick Mill

Built by the Harding family in the closing years of the eighteenth century, its first years of business were busy meeting the increased grain demands which arose due to the Napoleonic wars. Corn and milling created prosperity in the area at the time, as farmers had a ready market for their crop, while the mills provided employment. In 1899 the power of the mill wheel was harnessed to provide electricity to the town, and it is thought that Macroom was one of the first towns in the country with electric street lighting. https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/20907103/bealick-mill-bealick-county-cork

Bealick Mill has recently been restored and is now a fully functional mill and heritage center. Visitors can now enjoy the tranquil lawns around the mill or venture inside to view its intricate mechanics. The mill also houses a gift shop selling produce from local artists and craft workers and a famine exhibition.

See you all at our next stop!

Click –> here to view Dan’s blog on Bealick Mill

Killarney National Park, a Ladies View, and a Haunted Church

 

We continued our drive through Killarney National Park and found many treasures along the way. From a Ladies View, a haunted church, multiple leprechaun sightings, and of course, more sheep 😉

Ladies View

Ladies View is about 12 miles from Killarney on the N71 road as you go towards Kenmare. The view here is probably the best known of Killarney and is a major attraction for visitors. Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting visited here during the royal visit in 1861. They were so taken with the view that it was named after them. The Irish Times ranked Ladies View as one of the most photographed places in Ireland

A Haunted Church

Derrycunnihy Church is 120-years old and sits about halfway between the famous tunnel and Ladies View on N71 in the heart of Killarney National Park. The old church has long since been abandoned but is currently going through renovations. Many years ago, a girl died when she was knocked off her bicycle outside the church on her way home.  It has been mentioned that a young girl dressed in white can still be seen wandering around outside the church late at night and if you ask the locals, they’ll tell you that she’s still trying to make her way home. There have also been many reports over the years that the ‘girl in white’ appears INSIDE passing cars. We did not meet this little girl, but we did manage to capture images of this stunning church.


Killarney National Park and Leprechaun Crossings

While hiking this area, we found quite a few breathtaking views which of course, included more sheep 😉

I hope you enjoyed the stop! I am thankful for my family and friends; stay safe everyone!

To visit Dan’s Blog about this area click –> here

Killarney National Park, County Kerry – Ireland

We awoke to our tenth day in Ireland and after spending two nights at the Hillcrest Farmhouse, we needed to move on. It was going to be a long day full of adventure, so we started our day with the most delicious Irish Breakfast.  We headed to the sheep pastures that were located within minutes of our B & B which are just inside the boundaries of Killarney National Park. I absolutely adored spending time with the sheep; all of their different personalities just made me smile. Killarney National Park is a truly magical place and is so full of beauty and wonder.

Killarney National Park (Irish: Páirc Náisiúnta Chill Airne), near the town of Killarney, County Kerry, was the first national park in Ireland, created when the Muckross Estate was donated to the Irish Free State in 1932. The park has since been substantially expanded and encompasses over 25,425 acres of diverse ecology, including the Lakes of Killarney, oak and yew woodlands of international importance, and mountain peaks. It has the only red deer herd on mainland Ireland and is the most extensive covering of native forest remaining in Ireland. The park is of high ecological value because of the quality, diversity, and extensiveness of many of its habitats and the wide variety of species that they accommodate, some of which are rare. The park was designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981. ~ Wikipedia

The Gap of Dunloe, County Kerry – Republic of Ireland

I agree with Dan when he said, “The Gap of Dunloe in an absolute jewel of the Emerald Isle”.   The Gap of Dunloe or the Valley of Echoes was formed 25,000 years ago during Ireland’s last ice age as a result of a “glacial breach”. This is where a glacier in the Black Valley which was part of the Templenoe Icecap, estimated to be over 500 metres deep, broke through the Head of the Gap and moved northwards carving out this magical U-shaped valley. The glen is a place of enchantment and full of legend and lore. It was an old tradition to ‘wake the valley’ by blowing a horn. One of the most famous local horn-blowers was Paddy Boyle with his magic bugle. It would have been wonderful to hear that bugle, instead we gave it our best “Woohoo”. There are five lakes within the Gap of Dunloe.  Coosaun Lough, Black Lake, Cushnavally Lake, Auger Lake, and Black Lough; all connected by the River Loe. Between the first two lakes is an old arch bridge called the Wishing Bridge. Locals claim that wishes made while upon it are destined to come true. The bridge was a beautiful piece of architecture that has probably lasted for hundreds of years.

The abandoned Arbutus Cottages sit at the base of the gap and have been left in ruins. Of course, Dan and I had to stop for pictures. We have learned so many times to stop and capture these sites. Sometimes you can almost hear the stories they have to tell as the wind blows through the open windows. The light that shines through these ruins can definitely add character and atmosphere.

We must have passed through the Gap of Dunloe a handful of times but never during the day from roughly 10am-4pm as it is quite the tourist attraction.  The road is open to the public and locals use it often, but they even try to stay off the road during the busy hours. With our B & B on the other side, we needed to travel the very narrow road and we were never disappointed.  Since the road is very narrow (mostly one lane) and there is high pedestrian and carriage traffic, I would recommend hiking this beautiful area or supporting local business and taking a ride on a horse-drawn trap.

As we made our way back to the B & B, we decided to stop for Dinner at Kate Kearney’s Cottage and walk around the town for a wee bit. During our walk, we were approached by a local who asked if we would like a ride on the horse drawn trap and we accepted. The ride was a wonderful experience, and we feel fortunate that this lovely man had approached us even though most were done for the night. His pony, Lucy, was absolutely stunning and was very well mannered – Thanks Paul and Lucy; you provided a memory that will last a life time!

A popular form of transport for tourists is the horse-drawn trap, a cart where up to four occupants sit facing each other. The traps are guided by men from families that live in and around the Gap. These ponymen use a rotation system called the Turn which determines who takes the next customers. The Turn has been in existence since the 1920s and is passed down in the families to the next generation. – Wikipedia

You can see Dan’s post and images from this area here:

Dan Traun – Gap of Dunloe – Part 1

Dan Traun – Gap of Dunloe – Part 2

I hope you enjoyed this area as much as we did. See you on our next adventure!

On our way to Dingle

I know, I know… I promised a post on the Gap of Dunloe. We have not quite made it there yet, but I promise, it will be worth the wait! After we spent the morning driving around the Ring of the Reeks and the Ring of Kerry, we made our way to our goal for the day, the town of Dingle. A stop along the way at Derrynane Beach to stretch our legs was such a treat. The fresh sea breeze, the sand art we encountered signed by mother nature herself, and the calmness of the gentle waves just made the day even more special. Driving the Dingle Peninsula was absolutely stunning (much like the rest of Ireland) 😉

Derrynane Beach

Derrynane Blue Flag Beach is located in a proposed Natural Heritage Area site. It is also part of the Kenmare River SAC and the Iveragh Peninsula SPA. The area is rich in biodiversity and of significant national importance. – https://www.discoverireland.ie/kerry/derrynane-beach

The Town of Dingle

The town of Dingle was extremely colorful and full of cute little shops. A tourist destination for sure; it was even busy in April! We walked around town for the few hours we had left of the day’s drive and just took in the sights of this cheery town.

We made our way back to our B & B for the night, Hillcrest Farmhouse and yes, the Gap of Dunloe.

I hope you enjoyed the trip as much as we did!