Sketching Ireland #13

Another Castle on a Lonely Hill

It is amazing how many castles I find in my vicarious vacation to Ireland. I found castle ruins in the middle of cities, even in residential areas. I found castles rebuilt as high class hotels and as golf clubs. And the last castle (that I sketched) I found was in the middle of a river. I was thinking of holding off sketching any more castles, but then I found this one castle in the middle of no where.

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I was on the N22 looking for something to sketch. I thought I would get some prospects when I crossed over the River Lee but no game yet. When I reached the town of Macroom, take a guess on what I found but yet another castle. Aaarrrggh! (I type out in exaspiration and for fun.) So, I continued on for another 2 miles and lo ‘n’ behold, a lone GE marker led me to another castle… a smaller 13th century castle, the Carrigaphooca Castle, sitting on a rocky knoll about 500ft from the highway. It was just a simple rectangular 5-storey tower tasked as a defensive keep against marrauders who came up the River Sullane and according to history, it was frequently attacked.

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Frankly, I loved the look of the castle in the photo. But I felt the picture needed a couple of battle-hardened Irish warriors. By the way, the ‘Brave Heart’ sword… the heavy long sword was not just limited to Scottish rebels & Mel Gibson.

Click Google map link to Carrigaphooca Castle.

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Sketching Ireland #8

Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile

Again, it is said that, Kilkenny is a popular tourist destination in Ireland. Well regarded for its cultural life, it has always tended to attract culturally aware visitos. Art galleries, historic buildings, craft and design workshops, theatre, comedy, public gardens and museums are some of main reasons Kilkenny has become one of Ireland’s most visited towns and a popular base to explore the surrounding countryside. Points of interest within the city and its environs include Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral and round tower, Rothe House, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kells Priory, Kilkenny Town Hall, Black Abbey and Jerpoint Abbey. [content from unknown resource]

We focused on Kilkenny Castle in our last post. From the castle, you can’t leave this city without walking through Kilkenny’s Medieval Mile.

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The Medieval Mile is a discovery trail running through the centre of Kilkenny City linking the Anglo-Norman castle and the 13th-century St Canice’s Cathedral with much more in between. Of course, it does not really look that medieval with unpaved muddy streets. The Medieval Mile is set up for tourists and is not just focused on ancient history. There is a lot to see and I wish I could show you more but I can only sketch so much.

St. Kieran’s Street

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I wanted to sketch a fun place where you can shop, mingle and eat. That place, in my opinion, would have to be St. Kieran’s Street. It is a long and narrow back ally street nicely paved with dark bricks, lined with cafes and a variety of retail shops. It is also a place that in occasion is cordoned off to allow street vendors and performers. By the way, the Roots & Fruits may have closed.

St. Canice’s Cathedral

A tour of the city usually would include seeing nine churches and two cathedrals. The largest of which is the St. Canice’s Cathedral.

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St Canice’s Cathedral is a cathedral of the Church of Ireland. It was built in the Early English, or English Gothic, style of architecture, of limestone, with a low central tower supported on black marble columns. The internet had provided hundreds of photos of both outside and in. For my sketch subject, I chose an inside perspective from the vantage point of the podium of where the Scripture is read. From the drawing, you can see the high pointed arches form entrances from the nave into the choir and the two transepts. Between the nave and each aisle is a row of five black marble clustered columns, with high moulded arches. The nave is lighted by a large west window and five clerestory windows, while the aisles each have four windows.

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In one of those naves, I found the stone tomb of John Grace. I have no other information on who John Grace is, but with its intricate carvings, I had to draw it.

Biddy Early’s Pub & Kilkenny Beer

Kilkenny offers all sorts of tours and I also read that there is even a guided merriment tour to the 70 pubs in the city. Biddy Early’s Pub happens to be one of the best. By the way, the pub is right next to… get this… Sweeny Todd Barbershop and the letter T of Todd is shaped like an old styled swith razor. Who said that the Irish had no humor?

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I also found out that Kilkenny has their own beer.

Well, we’re finally leaving Kilkenny. We’re heading south to the coast. See you at my next posting.

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Sketching Ireland #7

Said to be Most Beautiful Castle in Ireland

When in Kilkenny, the must see attraction is the Kilkenny Castle.

kilkenny-castle-1-w.jpgThe castle was built in 1195 to control a fording-point of the River Nore and the junction of several route-ways. It was a symbol of Norman occupation and in its original thirteenth-century condition it would have formed an important element of the defenses of the town with four large circular corner towers and a massive ditch, part of which can still be seen today. Few buildings in Ireland can boast a longer history of continuous occupation than Kilkenny Castle.

Explore the Castle   Kilkenny Castle.jpgFounded soon after the Norman conquest of Ireland, the Castle had been rebuilt, extended and adapted to suit changing circumstances and uses over a period of 800 years. The castle’s website (kilkennycastle.ie) provided an artist’s impression of what the medieval castle would look like. As time went by, the castle eventually deteriorated to ruin and abandoned. The property with its ruins was transferred to the people of Kilkenny in 1967 for only about £50.

The Lord Ormonde sold the abandoned castle to the Castle Restoration Committee for a ceremonial £50, with the statement: “The people of Kilkenny, as well as myself and my family, feel a great pride in the Castle, and we have not liked to see this deterioration. We determined that it should not be allowed to fall into ruins. There are already too many ruins in Ireland.” He also bought the land in front of the castle from the trustees “in order that it should never be built on and the castle would be seen in all its dignity and splendour”.

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Today, Kilkenny Castle is open to the public all year round and is largely a Victorian remodeling of the thirteenth century defensive Castle. Each year, hundreds of thousands of visitors come to see this grand country house and walk through its fifty acres of rolling parkland with mature trees and an abundance of wildlife. Other features include a formal terraced rose garden, woodlands and a man-made lake, which were added in the nineteenth century. There is also a tearoom, playground and several orienteering trails for visitors to enjoy.

There are ornamental gardens on the city side of the castle, and extensive land and gardens to the front. It has become one of the most visited tourist sites in Ireland. Part of the National Art Gallery is on display in the castle.

Rose Garden

kilkenny-castle-diana-w.jpgLocated on the north-west side of the castle is a formal garden with axial paths radiating from a central fountain retains much of the basic form that could have been there during the ducal period. The existing fountain is probably the base of an original seventeenth-century water feature. Two lead statues stand on pedestals near the castle: one is of Hermes after the original in the Vatican Collection, and the other is of Diana the Huntress. All of the garden features, including the terracing, have been recently restored.

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For my sketch subject, I focused mostly on the fountain. The fountain sculpture is that of three mermaids. I decided to frame it and put on the foreground the sculpture and 2 tourists.

Castle’s Parkland

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The Castle’s Parkland is south of the castle and is made up of fifty acres of rolling parkland with mature trees and an abundance of wildlife. Other features include woodlands and a man-made lake, which were added in the nineteenth century. There is also a tearoom, playground and several orienteering trails for visitors to enjoy.

In this sketch, I mostly drew in people enjoying the park. Like the fountain sketch, I thought it would be cool to frame it and a few folks on the foreground (again).

The Watch Tower

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Canal Square is just below the Rose Garden on the banks of the River Nore. My sketch shows a small watch tower (gate lodge) stands guard to a wide public walkway that goes along the river that eventually circumvent the entire castle and parkland property.

In my next post, we’ll finish our time in Kilkenny by exploring the Medieval Mile.

[Contents are mostly from Wikipedia and kilkennycastle.ie]

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