The first view of the Rock of Cashel as we approached Cashel yesterday. They have a major restoration project underway to conserve and restore a chapel which is deteriorating rapidly from the effect of moisture. Hardly surprising without a roof after all.
The Rock of Cashel rises majestically from the encircling plain of Golden Vale. This limestone outcrop has the most complete Romanesque church in Ireland, (must be some big wrecks about then) a 13th century Gothic cathedral, a 12th century round tower and an exquisitely restored 15th century Vicars choral. It is here that the original St. Patricks cross can be seen. The Rock of Cashel is a unique heritage site and it is universally recognised as having one of the world’s greatest collections of medieval architecture and Celtic art. (From the reverse of the town map we received from the hotel….except for my comment).
A view through the gravestones at the Rock of Cashel to the fields below and yet another ruin of a church. As you can see the day is to quote our Hotelier “a grand soft day’ which in our terms means soft drizzly rain to rainy drizzle and back again….which it has been all day…or close to it.
In spite of the weather we have had a comfortably warm ride. Not as far today and the travel was not particularly fast as a good bit of it was on country roads which had a reasonable amount of mud on them. (Norm is out with the bucket and rag as I type to get some of the grime off the exhaust pipes at least).
The back of the Cashel Palace, the front is much more impressive but we were in the wrong place to get that..…and by the time we got out we were drenched so take our word for it that this is the ‘birthplace of Guinness’….or so the sign said and so far we haven’t seen anywhere else claim that title..yet anyway.
The countryside has been much more what I’ve expected to see since arriving in Ireland. We have seen lots of gently rolling hills of green well-manicured fields with harvest in varying degrees of completion. Probably more noticeable is the fact that there have been very few fields with rampant weed growth and no properties that have the appearance of being abandoned and being engulfed with weeds and encroaching scrubby tree growth which we have seen a reasonable amount of over the last couple of days.
Our first decent view of Blarney Castle. The cantilevered window was the bedroom of the Earl apparently. Bit of a show off by the look of it. As a young girl having spent many school holidays trying with my sister Maureen to put together a 1,000 + piece jig saw puzzle of the palace with much surrounding foliage and stonework (and never quite managing that)it was a satisfying view to see the thing intact!
We have travelled through parts of Tipperary, Limerick and Cork Counties today and we have also noticed fewer new build houses, especially on farmland and while I don’t like sweeping generalisations I am about to make a HUGE one. Perhaps the farmers in these counties (on the roads we have travelled) have had a greater concentration on the farming side of things with their EU money than on building houses. Having said that of course, any farmer worth his salt who has a wife who says ‘if you spend your Euro money on the farm instead of giving me a decent house to live in I’m walking out the door’ would build a house. So, win, win however you look at it. What the hell do I know? I’m enjoying it all from the bike seat.
One of the medium sized trees in the gardens….I kid you not. When we say we plant trees for future generations we are not kidding! We have seen many examples of trees from all over the world which would have been gifts from important dignitaries saying they had confidence in the longevity of the Irish Family / Clan resident on sight no doubt.
We missed out on a tour of Blarney House by a small margin but it didn’t matter. We enjoyed our wander around the grounds and gardens between showers lunch and hot chocolate. What an immense area to maintain and pay for! Good luck to them.
Bits and Bobs:
As we were heading towards the gate at Blarney Castle an Irish Grandmother was explaining to her granddaughter (about 8 – 9 years old) what the difference was between ‘boloney’ and ‘blarney’ since there is the Blarney Stone to be kissed at Blarney Castle which apparently bestows the individual with great eloquence once they have kissed the stone.
Grandma said ”boloney is when you are talking rubbish but blarney is when you are being much smarter or cleverer than that” to which here granddaughter replied “it all sounds like boloney to me”….Out of the mouths of babes!
It may interest you to know that Norm didn’t quite understand what was being said until I explained to him that he is usually talking boloney and I am talking blarney..…not convinced he took that on-board.
Last nights’ Accommodation:
Baileys Hotel, Cashel Ireland
A lovely building (built in 1709) which has been lovingly looked after or restored and is a beautifully comfortable spot to have a break from travel. All the staff were welcoming and warm and friendly and we felt well taken care of. The rooms were spacious and the bathroom beautifully appointed and shower delicious with good temperature and water pressure. The bar and restaurant were beautiful spaces (food was delicious) and the library a welcome chill spot. So welcome after a few hours on the road. This would definitely be somewhere I could return to. Good value for money I thought.
Baileys Hotel, the gate to the right is where Norm pushed our bikes for a safe night.