So I am going to start trying to get caught up. Am up late tonight to get a post in before we leave Galway early tomorrow morning and head up to Northern Ireland (Belfast).
On Thursday when we left Dublin, we had some car issues. We’ll leave it at that. It put us back at least 4 hours. So our original plan went out the window. We made it down to the Rock of Cashel before it closed, though, which was great.
The Rock of Cashel, also known as St. Patrick’s Rock, is a series of buildings that were built between 1100 AD and 1270 AD. Unfortunately, they are renovating the roof of part of it (so it doesn’t cave in…I suppose that’s a good thing, then), so the oldest part of the building (Cormac’s Chapel) was covered in scaffolding, etc. But inside was incredible. There are frescoes and all kinds of great artwork. There was also most of a baptismal font that appears to have the infinity symbol on it. The significance of that is that it means it was probably built after the Vikings invaded the Celts. I found it very interesting how they can date things like that. Context clues are important, I guess! Just being in a room that is so old was incredible.
Then we moved on to the Cathedral portion of the building, which also housed the Celtic Ruler and his family. Again, they can place a general date on the building because the architecture is more Gothic than in the chapel. This area was missing some walls, but still had the exterior structure, as well as some columns within the structure. This area also housed a bell tower and the tower had openings at the top. During Cromwell’s siege, the residents fled up to the roof and out, but unfortunately were stuck there.
The people at the Rock of Cashel recently uncovered an additional fresco toward the back of the Cathedral area. It’s of Jesus, Peter, Paul, and some girls. It has fantastic detail on the rendering that the art restoration people believe it looked like. As in the chapel, there are only portions of the frescoes that were able to be restored after being plastered over for hundreds of years.
Then there is the cemetery. There are some fantastic Celtic high crosses here. Notably, people are still being buried there. That was kind of freaky. Apparently at some point in the early- to mid-20th Century, they said no one else could be buried there because there wasn’t enough room. But the people decided that if one’s parents were buried there, then the children could be. But not the grandchildren. There was a book and the people’s names who qualified were entered into the book. There are only three names left.
St. Patrick’s Cross also stands at the Rock of Cashel. The original is now used in the on-site museum and a replica sits outside. Additionally, there is a fantastic view of Hore Abbey from the Rock.
After almost being locked inside for the evening, Loren and I made our way to Clonmel. The home of Bulmer’s…or as it’s known in America…Magner’s. It is my favorite cider and I am pretty sure I will have drank my weight in it by the time I leave Ireland! We had a mediocre (at best) dinner (there will be a post about our dinner experiences later) and got set up in a guesthouse. We had our own rooms, which were above a tapas restaurant.
We went out and met an…um…interesting fellow. He talked to us and then took us to another bar. Which he said is where all the action was. There was like, 5 people there. This guy was a character. His name is David and he couldn’t stop talking about shopping. He raved about “TJ Maxx”. (The following night, I was speaking to Mike, a guy we met from FL, and I was telling him about David and TJ Maxx…Mike goes: “was he a maxx-inista”? Best line ever.) Anyway, the bar eventually picked up, but unfortunately it picked up with 12 year olds in very short skirts.
So that was last Thursday! We left Clonmel for Cork and Blarney Castle the next day. More on that when I have time!