Rothar Routes

Cycle routes & pilgrim journeys in Ireland and Europe …..

Posts tagged ‘Carlow’

St Patrick & Carlow

The first ever St Patrick’s Day Parade was took place in 1601 in ……. St Augustine, Florida!!

It’s become a global phenomena and is now of course celebrated worldwide with world famous landmarks even being lit up green to celebrate St Patrick and Ireland. An amazing impact for a small island off the west coast of Europe.

Sadly COVID-19 has prevented parades taking place in Ireland or abroad.

St Patrick has an association with Carlow and Rathvilly. Ireland’s patron saint baptised the King of Leinster, Crimthann and his family at the well which is located, naturally, in the townland of Patrickswell, Rathvilly.

Patrickswell Rathvilly. Access by road to the left of the cemetery in Rathvilly

To mark St Patrick’s Day 2020 here are some photos of some of our lesser known heritage sites around the county:

Clogh-a-phuill Well, Ladystown, Rathvilly. Turn left at the Moate Cross after leaving Rathvilly

There are a number of interesting sites very close by which include ancient crosses and ogham stones:

Waterstown Cross
Smaller cross at Waterstown, arms damaged.
Ogham Stone at Patrickswell
Haroldstown Dolmen. Featured on the cover of Robert Kee’s book of the BBC series, ‘ History of Ireland’
Ogham Stone at Rathglass, Tullow The translation of the ogham writing reads ‘of Donnáed son of Marianus’. There are two stones standing here.
Aghade Cloch a Phoill – on the Tullow to Bunclody Road, just before the Bang Up Cross.
Stunning example of Rock Art at Rathgeran
Spahill Rock Art
Crosses at Clonmore
Kildreenagh Cross & Well. Hard to spot when the hedges are in full growth
Templenaboe Church & Graveyard
St Mullins
St Mullins Well
Clashganny Massrock
Broken Celtic Cross at Rathmelsh
Rock Art at Crannagh
The Bible…’Archaeological Inventory of County Carlow’

Huntington Castle

Tucked away in the south east corner of our tiny county is the historic village of Clonegal and its incredible Huntington Castle. A gem.

Huntington Castle is the ancient seat of the Esmonde family. The Esmonde’s moved over to Ireland in 1192 and were involved in other castles such as Duncannon Fort in Waterford and Johnstown Castle in Wexford (both also feature on my cycle routes in Cycling South Leinster) before building Huntington and settling down in Clonegal. The family name has changed twice due to inheritance down the female line and the present family name is Durdin Robertson, who are direct descendants of the Esmondes.

I was surprised to learn that one of their notable ancestors was Lady Esmonde (Alish O’Flaherty) – the grandaughter of Grace O’Malley the famous Pirate Queen of Connaught.

Barbera St. Ledger (Not Bríd), Edward King, Herbert Robertson MP, Nora Parsons, Manning Robertson, and latterly Olivia Robertson are others to name but a few. A Tour of the Castle introduces the visitor to their back stories and to ghosts, witches and Egyptian Goddesses!

The Castle is presently lived in by three generations of the Durdin Robertson family, and the current owners Alexander and Clare Durdin Robertson are very much hands on with the business and can frequently be found giving tours, working in the gardens or making tea in the tearooms.

Rose Shiels, wife of Stephen – a great servant of Kildavin and Carlow football in his day, introduced me to Alexander and I spent a fascinating afternoon plodding round the gardens.

The Gardens were mainly laid out in the 1680’s by the Esmondes. They feature impressive formal plantings and layouts including the Italian style ‘Parterre’ or formal gardens, as well the French lime Avenue (planted in 1680) The world famous yew walk is a significant feature which is thought to date to over 500 years old and should not be missed.

Later plantings resulted in Huntington gaining a number of Champion trees including more than ten National Champions.

The gardens also feature early water features such as stew ponds and an ornamental lake as well as plenty to see in the greenhouse and lots of unusual and exotic plants and shrubs.

The Lake at Huntington Castle

The Lake at Huntington Castle

Vintage Tractor Run at Huntington Castle

Huntington Castle

The Lake at Huntington Castle

Huntington Castle

Huntington Castle

Huntington Castle

17th Century Parterre Gardens at Huntington Castle

Huntington Castle

Carlow’s ‘Boyne Valley’ Revisited!

I love getting a Saturday afternoon to explore a bit of our historic and fascinating county. Today I went down South – again to the Rathanna, Ballymurphy area.

A phone call from Eamon Coleman a couple of months ago to tell me that he had cleared a path to the ancient rock art and holy water wells that are situated on his land had me planning to head down when football commitments allowed.

First port of call was Killoughternane

This single cell Church was built in the 5th Century by St Fortchern. There is a well across the road that has a really interesting history. It was forgotten about until 1880 when the land owner found a bottle with a message inside, written in a foreign language which when translated contained directions to the well! It must have attracted visitors from continental Europe at some point. This obviously created great excitement and the Well became a pilgrimage site with may cures attributed.

Subsequently a lady was cleaning out the well when she unearthed a mud encrusted item from the bottom of the well. It turned out to be a Chalice and Paten – probably hidden in penal times. The Chalice is now in St Andrews Church, Bagenalstown.

 

Headed over to Tinnecarrig Ballymurphy then to meet Eamon Coleman and view the rock art that is well hidden from view in an ancient overgrown graveyard on his land.

Its hard to make out the cups on this stone but if you look carefully you can see many deep cups peppered all over the surface. What did they signify? Who knows at this stage but its great see that rock art many thousands of years old is still present across the county.

Indeed you could say that this area is the Boyne Valley of the South as there are numerous examples close to the foothills of the Blackstairs!

One of the Holy Wells well hidden from view.

Holy wells or water fonts….

Time to head home but a short dash across to Rathgeran and Carlow’s finest example of rock art beckoned.

There are many more ancient heritage sites in this small area of the County – I often think we undersell what we have to offer…

 

Rathgeran

Heritage Week!

August 18 – Aug 26 is Heritage Week. There are thousands of events across the country and there a number in county Carlow too.

I never cease to be amazed by the number of heritage sites in the Count y, many are obscure, hidden away, little is known about them but they are important links with our past. Heritage Week is an opportunity to get out and about and maybe locate some of them and explore your local area.

During the year I visited quite an mont of sites and I have showcased them on the video below:

I hope to put up another post later in the week of other places of interest.

Standing Stones of County Carlow

In a week where significant new archaeological finds have been made in Newgrange i thought it appropriate to post this.

The words of Clannad’s hauntingly beautiful ‘Newgrange’ always come to mind when I pass the many examples of Standing Stones, (also known as Gallauns or Menhirs), that dot our little County: ‘The druids lived here once they said, forgotten is the race that no one knows…’. What these stones represent is lost in time.

A legacy of the Celts, they remain a mystery to us today – were they markers of some sort, burial or ritual sites?

100 Rathglass Ogham Stone

I have numbered the photos to identify them according to their listing in the brilliant ‘Archaeological Inventory of County Carlow. Two of these cary ogham inscriptions; ogham being an early form of writing consisting of lines and notches carved into stone and represent the oldest form of writing in Ireland.

They are an important part of our heritage and we are indebted to the landowners who have protected them and maintain that link with an ancient and mysterious celtic past.

100 Rathglass Standing Stones. A pair of standing stones

515 Patrickswell Ogham Stone

105 Williamstown Gallaun Standing Stone

104 Tombeagh Standing Stone

101 Tankardstown Standing Stone

98 Rathgeran Standing Stone

97 Leighlinbridge Standing Stone

87 Craans Ardattin Standing Stone

81 B Ballyellin & Tomdarragh Standing Stone. I spotted this in a garden – not sure it is authentic!

81 Ballyellin & Tomdarragh Standing Stone

79 Ardristan Standing Stone

78 Aghade Holed Stone 2018-04-15

78 Aghade Cloch a Phoill

 

 

%d bloggers like this: