Joined December 2019 Message
  • Day15

    Mellifont Abbey

    July 3, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 61 °F

    The location of the ruins — not far from Drogheda — and a photo I had seen showing a circular structure that looked quite unusual. These were the reasons why we headed to Mellifont Abbey today.

    This Cistercian Abbey was consecrated in 1157. If the illustration of the original buildings is anything to go by, the place was quite impressive back in its heyday. Not much remains today, however. Nonetheless, the circular structure did not disappoint ... assuming you are a person who enjoys visiting and photographing ruins.

    Turns out that the structure in question was built around 1200. It was a “lavabo” ... a place of purification where the monks cleansed their bodies and spirit prior to dining in the refectory hall. Today, the lavabo seems to have a split personality ... looking almost intact on one side and in total shambles from the other side.

    That we had this photogenic place all to ourselves — even on “free first Wednesday — was a lovely bonus.
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  • Day15

    Hill of Slane

    July 3, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 59 °F

    The Hill of Slane was not on our planned itinerary for today. But when we encountered a road sign pointing to the ruins, we made a detour.

    The hilltop is home to two sets of ruins. Those of a 16th century Medieval church with a Gothic tower, and also those of a college, which was founded to serve the church. The latter contains the ruins of a monastery built sometime in the 5th century and a tower house that is from the 16th century.

    The Hill of Slane has an important place in Irish spirituality. According to tradition, in 433 AD the first Christian missionary to Ireland lit an Easter Fire where the church now stands. That missionary later became known as St Patrick. In lighting the fire, however, he unknowingly disobeyed the decree of a High King at nearby Tara. The king was pacified when his Druid — Erc — converted to Christianity and was later made the first Bishop of Slane.
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    Nickie Wilkinson

    So much history for such a small island.

    1/11/21Reply
     
  • Day15

    Newgrange @ Brú na Bóinne

    July 3, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ☀️ 59 °F

    Brú na Bóinne, which translates as the “Palace of Boyne,” is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that sits in the bend of the River Boyne. This Neolithic site contains some 90 monuments, three of which — Newgrange, Knowth, and Dowth — are megalithic tombs that date back some 5,000 years or so.

    With our road trip quickly nearing its end, we had no choice but to visit this popular heritage site on “Free First Wednesday.” This event promised that the site would be more crowded than usual. Two things worked in our favor, however. First, we arrived soon after the site opened at 9:00a and managed to get on the first tour. Second, most of the people already in the queue wanted to visit both Newgrange and Knowth. As a result, we had only 10 people instead of the usual 24 in our group for a “single tomb” tour.

    When the shuttle dropped us off at Newgrange, our guide escorted us to the entrance of the tomb, which consists of a cairn surrounded by a white quartz wall girdled by slabs called kerbstones. After she gave us some general information, we entered the very narrow rock passage that leads to a large chamber. Here, our guide talked about how the sun enters the tomb through a door-box above the entrance, travels down the passageway, and lights up the chamber on the three shortest days of the year during the Winter Solstice. A simulation of the event accompanied her words ... a stirring event.

    I’m glad we were able to visit Newgrange this year. Apparently, all tours — except for the Winter Solstice ones — will be discontinued after this season due to damage to the tombs from the humidity generated by the breath of visitors.
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    Sonia Gelman

    Very interesting site. We visited it too.

    1/5/21Reply
    mohotravels

    Oh my goodness, I don't think I knew about this, discontinuing tours. Winter Solstice tours are by lottery. So very grateful that we also got to see the interior of Newgrange. This year I watched the Solstice via live feed on their website. It was wonderful to see, although the simulation was quite good I think. Still, watching the sun enter the tomb on Solstice was kinda cool.

    1/5/21Reply
    Two to Travel

    What with the COVID closure of the site it probably went unnoticed. Perhaps the 2020 forced-closures will have helped heal the damage so that they can do some tours with smaller groups. Our group of 10 was plenty large for that chamber.

    1/6/21Reply
    Nickie Wilkinson

    Fascinating history I read from Wikipedia. Cool to be able to view it,.

    1/11/21Reply
     
  • Day14

    Athlumney Manor

    July 2, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 63 °F

    Our last base of operations for our “Ring around Ireland” ... Athlumney Manor in Navan.

    Pauline and her husband, “chatty Pat,” greeted us warmly and showed us to Room #6, which overlooks the lovely front garden.

    After settling in, we drove into Navan to pick up a few snacks for dinner, which we enjoyed at the table in the front yard.

    We’ve got two days left before we wrap up our road trip!
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    mohotravels

    what a lovely place to stay.

    1/3/21Reply
     
  • Day14

    “Braveheart´s” Trim Castle

    July 2, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 63 °F

    Following lunch, we completed a few errands in Trim. Then, we set off to visit Trim Castle, which sits on the south bank of the River Boyne. It was built on lands granted to Hugh de Lacy in 1172 by Henry II of England.

    Most people visit this castle not so much for its historic value as they do for its place in popular culture. Some of the scenes for the Mel Gibson movie “Braveheart” were filmed here ... even if they represent locales in England rather than in Ireland. Namely, the area outside the curtain wall was transformed into the 13th century city of York ... which was besieged by William Wallace, the character Gibson portrays in the movie. And the keep became the Tower of London, where Wallace was executed in 1305.
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    mohotravels

    Ireland is most definitely a land of castles. beautiful.

    1/3/21Reply
     
  • Day14

    Lunch Time!

    July 2, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ☁️ 63 °F

    I had pre-selected a restaurant for lunch in Trim. Turns out that it was closed for some reason. So we had our meal at Rosemary Bistro & Café instead. A popular place with the locals, we were the only tourists there ... just the kind of place we like.

    Mui thoroughly enjoyed his “smokey burger” ... I found the egg noodle stir fry with chicken very tasty.

    (I forgot to take photos, so the collage is from a collection of photos from Rosemary’s Facebook page.)
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  • Day14

    Clonmacnoise Monastic Site

    July 2, 2019 in Ireland ⋅ ⛅ 59 °F

    Located on a hill overlooking the River Shannon, the Monastic site of Clonmacnoise was founded in the 6th century. The site was associated with the saints and scholars of Ireland’s Golden Age of Learning. Back in the day, it was one of Europe’s largest learning centers. It was also the burial place for many of the high kings from around Ireland, including Tara.

    For us, the attraction for visiting Clonmacnoise was the ruins — a cathedral, several temples, and a couple of round towers ... all set against an incredibly photogenic background.
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