Saturday, September 30, 2017

Castle Gardens

"Surrounding the castle are extensive gardens. 

There are paths touring the grounds with signs pointing out the various attractions such as several natural rock formations with fanciful names such as Druid's Circle, Witch's Cave and the Wishing Steps" (Wikipedia).

Friday, September 29, 2017

Castle Grounds

I think that if I was to return to Blarney Castle, I would reserve the better part of a day just to wander the grounds and to visit the many splendid gardens. As it happened, I visited in May at just the time when many plants were beginning to come into their own, including the alliums shown above (at least that's what I think they are).

Also, I read where there is a secret (maybe not so secret anymore) passageway leading from the castle to a cave that then opens to this stream and provided the castle's occupants a means of escape in case of attack. Seems like the owners thought of most everything. They were, though, I'll have to say, still a very long way away from a Starbucks. Happy National Coffee Day everyone! :-)

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Going Down

Actually, the piper never left. I think it's his job to welcome folks to Blarney Castle. I took these two photos from the castle stairs as I made my way back down to the castle's gardens.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Even if you don't kiss the stone, the views from atop Blarney Castle alone are more than worth the climb.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Blarney Stone

"The Blarney Stone (Irish: Cloch na Blarnan) is a block of Carboniferous limestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle, Blarney, about 8 kilometres (5 mi) from Cork, Ireland. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of the gab (great eloquence or skill at flattery). The stone was set into a tower of the castle in 1446. The castle is a popular tourist site in Ireland, attracting visitors from all over the world to kiss the stone and tour the castle and its gardens.

The word blarney has come to mean 'clever, flattering, or coaxing talk'. Irish politician John O'Connor Power defined it this way: 'Blarney is something more than mere flattery. It is flattery sweetened by humour and flavoured by wit. Those who mix with Irish folk have many examples of it in their everyday experience'" (Wikipedia).

The two below now have the "gift". :-)

Monday, September 25, 2017

Blarney House

Before I reached the Blarney Stone, there was this view of the Blarney House.

"Members of the Jefferyes family would later build a mansion near the keep. This house was destroyed by fire, and in 1874 a replacement baronial mansion, known as Blarney House, was built overlooking the nearby lake.

In the mid 19th century the Jefferyes and Colthurst families were joined by marriage, and the Colthurst family still occupy the demesne. In May 2008, the present estate owner, Sir Charles St John Colthurst, Baronet, succeeded in a court action to eject a man who had lived on his land for 44 years. The man's great-grandfather had been the first to occupy the estate cottage" (Wikipedia).

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Castle Walls

By some estimates, the castle's walls range in thickness from 12ft (3.7m)--although some say from 15ft-18ft--at the base to 8ft (2.4m) at the third story. In any case, they're pretty darn thick and provided ample protection--at least until cannons were invented. :-)

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Friday, September 22, 2017

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Blarney Castle

"Blarney Castle (Irish: Caisleán na Blarnan) is a medieval stronghold in Blarney, near Cork, Ireland, and the River Martin. Though earlier fortifications were built on the same spot, the current keep was built by the MacCarthy of Muskerry dynasty, a cadet branch of the Kings of Desmond, and dates from 1446. The Blarney Stone is among the machicolations of the castle" (Wikipedia).

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Horses & Carts

I understand all the carts were constructed by the Amish here in the United States. I presume, however, all the magnificent horses are homegrown (and speak Gaelic). :-)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Rose Gardens

On my late evening ramble through Killarney, I passed house after house with small gardens, many with exquisite roses the likes of which I haven't seen in quite a long time. Kudos to the gardeners!

Monday, September 18, 2017


Took a stroll late one evening into downtown Killarney. And, no, I was not walking down the middle of the street after having one too many at a pub. :-) 

Sunday, September 17, 2017


Completed in 2013, this mural depicting Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty is the work of artist Ursula Meehan.

"Hugh O'Flaherty (28 February 1898 – 30 October 1963), was an Irish Catholic priest and senior official of the Roman Curia, and significant figure in Catholic resistance to Nazism. During World War II, the Monsignor was responsible for saving 6,500 Allied soldiers and Jews. His ability to evade the traps set by the German Gestapo and Sicherheitsdienst (SD), earned O'Flaherty the nickname 'The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican'. He was the first Irishman named Notary of the Holy Office" (Wikipedia).

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Two gardens, the front
for beauty, the back
for use. Sleepless now,
I wander through both
and it is summer again,
the long summers of youth
as I trace small paths
in a trance of growth:
flowers pluck at my coat
as I bend down to help,
or speak to my aunt,
whose calloused hands
caressing the plants
are tender as a girl's.

~ From Paths by John Montague

Friday, September 15, 2017


When Erin first rose from the dark swelling flood
God Bless'd the Emerald Isle, and saw it was good;
The em'rald of Europe, it sparkled and shone-
In the ring of the world, the most precious stone.

William Drennan, Irish poet (1754-1820)

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Unfortunately, no photography was allowed in the Muckross House in Killarney. So I had to satisfy my shutterbug predilections outside in the gardens.

"During the 1850s, the Herberts undertook extensive garden works in preparation for Queen Victoria's visit in 1861. Later, the Bourn Vincent family continued this gardening tradition. They purchased the estate from Lord and Lady Ardilaun early in the twentieth century. It was at this time that the Sunken Garden, Rock Garden and the Stream Garden were developed" (

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Ring Fort

"The most common archaeological field monument in Ireland is the ringfort: there are about 45,000 ringforts scattered across Ireland. While ringforts are basically enclosed homesteads which are associated with farming during the Early Medieval Period (5th to 10th centuries CE), there are some which date earlier than this. Ringforts are found in areas with good-quality soils" (

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Ring of Kerry

"This 179km [111.2 mile] circuit of the Iveragh (pronounced eev-raa) Peninsula winds past pristine beaches, medieval ruins, mountains and loughs (lakes), with ever-changing views of the island-dotted Atlantic, particularly between Waterville and Caherdaniel in the peninsula's spectacular southwest" (

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Skellig Bay

Skellig Bay near the Butler Arms Hotel

"Because of our location at the western edge of Europe and our temperate climate, the Irish coastline is blessed with over 625 of the worlds appx 10,000 seaweed species. Many of these have been eaten and utilised since ancient times. Earliest written references describe 6th century monks harvesting Dillisk/Dulse. Both Saint Brendan and the Vikings are thought to have carried Dillisk and/or sleabhac on their voyages to stave off scurvy with the Vitamin C they contained. With recent scientific research yielding important medical results and the increased culinary influence from the Eastern seaweed loving cultures of Japan, Korea and China, Sea vegetables are enjoying a massive renaissance. Our pristine shoreline supports a sustainable and abundant sea garden containing a food source packed with minerals, trace elements, anti oxidants and a vast range of easily assimilated nutrients.Virtually fat-free and fibre-rich, seaweeds can contain as much as 10 times the minerals of land plants. Some seaweeds are over 1/3 protein. They are a great natural source of Omega 3 oils, Iodine, Iron, Zinc and a range of essential B vitamins. Sea Grass, Ulva Intestinalis), contains the highest levels of Vitamin B12 of any known plant. This Vitamin is absent in all land plants .With specific components, which dont occur in land plants such as Alginates, Fucoidans, Laminarins, Fucoxanthins and phyto-defensive compounds, seaweeds have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic and anti-bacterial properties. To feed and replenish our hair and skin, we simply draw the oils, gels and minerals out with a seaweed bath and they are absorbed across the skin membrane. Likewise, by throwing seaweeds onto our crops/gardens, the nutrients are taken up over time giving better and more resistant crop yields. Forage, Find and Feast…..Some Seaveg a day keeps health professionals away" (

Friday, September 8, 2017

Butler Arms

"The Butler Arms Hotel in Waterville, County Kerry, Ireland is best known for its guests such as Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Flatley. But it has a written history closely linked with the history of Ireland that extends back to 1884. In that year the Commercial Cable Company established a transatlantic cable station in the village while the Direct United States line had already one at Ballinskelligs and the first cable had been laid into Valentia Island a quarter of a century before. As the Butler Arms opened its doors the Morse Code had spanned the earth" (Wikipedia).

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Another addition to my life list--the jackdaw. I spotted this one in a bayside park in Waterville, Ireland.

"The western jackdaw (Corvus monedula), also known as the Eurasian jackdaw, European jackdaw, or simply jackdaw, is a passerine bird in the crow family. Found across Europe, western Asia and North Africa, it is mostly resident, although northern and eastern populations migrate south in winter. Four subspecies are recognised, which mainly differ in the colouration of the plumage on the head and nape. Linnaeus first described it formally, giving it the name Corvus monedula. The common name derives from the word 'jack', meaning 'small', and "daw", the native English name for the bird" (Wikipedia).

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

My Land

She is a rich and rare land;
Oh! she's a fresh and fair land;
She is a dear and rare land--
This native land of mine.

No men than her's are braver--
Her women's hearts ne'er waver;
I'd freely die to save her,
And think my lot divine.

She's not a dull or cold land;
No! she's a warm and bold land;
Oh! she's a true and old land--
This native land of mine.

Could beauty ever guard her,
And virtue still reward her,
No foe would cross her border--
No friend within it pine!

Oh! she's a fresh and fair land;
Oh! she's a true and rare land;
Yes! she's a rare and fair land--
This native land of mine.

 ~ "My Land" by Thomas Osborne Davis

Monday, September 4, 2017


"Aghadoe . . . is a large townland overlooking the town and lakes of Killarney in Ireland. Officially it is also a parish, although the parish is larger than the area normally associated with the name. The area is famous for its views of the lakes and islands, including Innisfallen Island . . . .

Aghadoe takes its name from Acha Dá Eo, which is Irish for 'The place of the two yew trees'. (It was traditional for church yards to have only one yew tree)" (Wikipedia).

Sunday, September 3, 2017


"This modest Methodist Church is dedicated to the memory of Philip Embury and Barbara Heck, Palatines from Ballingrane, who gained wide recognition as founders of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America. 

The building retains much of its original form, despite additions, and is enhanced by features such as the coloured glass sash windows and limestone date plaque, which adds valuable context to the site. The well crafted rusticated stone piers, boundary walls and graveyard add to the setting qualities of the site" (