Aughnanure Castle

We woke to yet another beautiful day full of sunshine. After our delicious traditional Irish breakfast, we said our goodbyes to the owner of the B & B and started our daily adventure. A very short distance away from the B & B, stood Aughnanure Castle. Of course we had to take in a tour!

The name Aughnanure comes from the Gaelic, Achadh na nIubhar – the field of yews.  One very old specimen remains nearby the gates.

The uses and mythology of the Yew Tree are quite interesting:

  • Yew timber is incredibly strong and durable. Traditionally, the wood was used in turnery to make long bows and tool handles. One of the World’s oldest surviving wooden artifacts is a Yew spear head estimated to be around 450,000 years old.
  • Anti-cancer compounds are harvested from the foliage of Taxus baccata and is used in modern medicine. Eating just a few leaves can make a small child severely ill and there have been some deaths linked to yew poisoning. All parts of the tree are poisonous.
  • Yew trees are associated with churchyards and there are at least 500 churchyards in England which contain yew trees older than the buildings themselves. It is not clear why, but it is thought that yew trees were planted on the graves of plague victims to protect and purify the dead, and also in churchyards to stop ‘commoners’ from grazing their cattle on church ground as yew is extremely poisonous to livestock.

Aughnanure Castle and grounds

The castle, which stands on what is a rocky peninsula, is a particularly well preserved example of an Irish Tower house. Though the castle did finally succumb to superior cannon power, the O’Flahertys knew well enough how to protect themselves. The great rectangular Tower House is protected inside two alls or enclosures. The inner enclosure is wedge-shaped with walls pierced with gun-loops. The remains of a gatehouse and drawbridge are at the northwestern corner. On the northern side, the Drimneed River adds a natural defense line. the outer ward consisting of a large irregular enclosure protected by a much more extensive outer brawn wall, which had five wall towers at intervals along its length, to provide a greater variety of angles from which to shoot at attackers.

You can view Dan’s post about this site here.

This was our morning stop; I cannot wait to share more of this day with you. See you all very soon!

Just Take That Turn

After spending some time hiking and exploring Slieve League with the time we had, we made our way to our next stop. Driving our way back through Donegal and following the coast heading south, we ran into some more breathtaking sights (Ireland was full of them).  During our time driving, we had always decided to “just take that turn” to see what was down the road which has never disappointed us. One of these roads took us down to Mullaghmore Peninsula and we stumbled upon Classiebawn Castle. As we laid eyes on this property, I caught myself pointing to the structure with my mouth open in awe.  The scenery was like a dream; post processing some of these images from this day was so much fun as I played with texture, filters, and color (which I love).

Classiebawn Castle is a country house built for the 3rd Viscount Palmerston (1784–1865) on what was formerly a 10,000-acre estate on the Mullaghmore peninsula near the village of Cliffoney, County Sligo.  It was designed in the Baronial style by J. Rawson Carrol, a Dublin-based architect, and is constructed from a yellow-brown sandstone brought by sea from County Donegal. It comprises a gabled range with a central tower topped by a conical roofed turret.

One of my favorite panoramic images came from this accidental run in. To this day, this image still adorns my desk at work and it takes me back to that spot in Ireland everyday… A little escape to Classiebawn Castle!

Our last stop of this leg of our adventure was Glencar Waterfall. Again, we did not have much time, but it was worth the stop; what a tranquil sight!

Glencar Lough (Irish: Loch Ghleann an Chairthe, meaning “lake of the glen of the pillar stone”), locally known as Glencar Lake, is a freshwater lake in the northwest of Ireland. Glencar Waterfall is located near the lake’s north shore on the Leitrim side.

This was the perfect birthday full of adventure and breathtaking scenery. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. See you all soon; have a wonderful week!

The Town of Donegal and Donegal Castle

On our next leg of the journey, we explored the area between Dunlewey and the town of Donegal. We stayed close to the coast and followed N56, traveling through Dungloe, Lettermacaward and Bogagh on our way to our next B & B, Ardlenagh View B&B, which was a short distance from the town of Donegal. We stayed our third night and started our fourth day in Irelend in this wonderful town. After and good night sleep and fulfilling breakfast, we toured the Donegal Castle and stopped in a few of the local shops. Everyone we ran into so far on this trip was welcoming and extremely friendly.

Donegal Castle is a castle situated in the centre of Donegal Town in County Donegal in Ulster, Ireland. For most of the last two centuries, the majority of the buildings lay in ruins, but the castle was almost fully restored in the early 1990s.

The castle consists of a 15th-century rectangular keep with a later Jacobean style wing. The complex is sited on a bend in the River Eske, near the mouth of Donegal Bay, and is surrounded by a 17th-century boundary wall. There is a small gatehouse at its entrance mirroring the design of the keep. Most of the stonework was constructed from locally sourced limestone with some sandstone. The castle was the stronghold of the O’Donnell clan, Lords of Tír Conaill and one of the most powerful Gaelic families in Ireland from the 5th to the 16th centuries.

This was a fun filled day and one of the most memorable birthdays thus far! See you at our next stop.