Sketching Ireland #9

Waterford & Wexford Counties

We are finally getting into the third leg of my Irish itinerary adventure. I need to clarify that Sketching Ireland is again a fantasy vacation. I am a quadriplegic vicariously driving through the highways of Ireland. How? I thank the Lord and Google for a fantastic internet virtual programs called Google Earth & Maps. You see, when I implement Google’s Street View program, I get a 360 degree picture of the place I’m exploring. It is like I am almost there. I am doing this for fun and also as a way to promote myself as a graphic illustrationist and as a virtual assistant.

Anyway, from Kilkenny (our last stop), we go back on the M9 and head south. I don’t mind saying that I was really tempted to make several stops. Google Earth displayed several markers to say that there may be interesting attractions there. But I decided to stay the course and head straight to Waterford. The M9 ended at the River Suir which was the natural boundary between County Kilkenny and County Waterford. We crossed the river on a very modern bridge unto a highway that hugged the river to another highway that goes into the city.

road-map-wf.jpg

[1] Waterford, which means in old Norse as “ram fjord”, started out as a Viking settlement back in 853 AD. It is said that the city is the oldest, historical and quite an upbeat city in the sunny south-east Ireland (www.ireland.com). This is definately a must see place, however, we are not going into city just yet.

My Ireland Itinerary Plan suggest we first head to the coast to Hook Head which is actually across the river in another county (Wexford). How do we get there? By ferry, of course!

[2] Passage East Ferry

WF-ferry-w.jpg

So, we circumvented Waterford using the by-pass expressway that is south of the city to a fishing village called Passage East. That is where we catch the ferry that frequently crosses the River Suir. Because I love ferries, well sketching one was a no brainer.

[3] Hook Lighthouse, Co. Wexford

From the ferry, we head south to a narrow peninsula to the village of Churchtown on Hook Head. Driving farther down from Churchtown, we followed a two-lane road to the rocky tip of the peninsula where we found the oldest working lighthouse in the world. This is clearly a tourist destination complete with guided tours, rest rooms, restaurant and even handicap access. There were a number of photos of the lighthouse and waves breaking on a rocky shores. I decided to hold off on sketching this scene for later but instead I opted to make a thunbnail sketch and place it on the map.

Upon driving toward the lighthouse, I noticed (via Street-View) a camper parked off the road. Seeing no no-camping signage anywhere, I wonder about boondocking here overnight. Afterall, I am vicariously towing a souped up off-the-grid teardrop trailer. Ah… imagine waking up to gulls squacking and waves crashing.

[4] An Abandoned Cottage in

 

WF-graigue-cottage-w.jpgOn the way back to where the ferry is, I turned off unto the wrong country road. Fortunately, I was happy to find an abandoned cottage which was practically overgrown with foliage. This was a definate sketch subject. (By the way, the kid on the bike is a re-use.)

[click here for Google Map STREET-VIEW link]

[5] Fishing Boat

WF-boats-w.jpg

My next sketch subject is a fishing boat that was moored at the same fishing village where the ferry took me across the river.

[6] Wedding on the Island

On my way back to Waterford, I came upon a small island east of the city. It had no other name except “The Island”. Frankly, I was hoping for an Irish name or even a Viking one. The island had a 16th-century castle that was converted into a classy hotel and an extensive golfing range through out most of the island. The island was also a popular wedding destination. Access here is by a small ferry.

WF-wed-lane-w.jpg

I was only attracted to it because Google Earth was displaying a great many photo markers, two of which caught my attention and I did not hesitate into combine one sketch subject.

In my next posting, we’re going into Waterford.

—————————————————-

If you like my work and want to support my writing and artwork, please donate into my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

Thank you.

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.

Ireland s Medieval Mile in Kilkenny Medieval Kilkenny

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

kil-roots-fruits-w.jpg

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.

kil-cathedral-inside-w.jpg

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.

kil-cath-tomb-w.jpg

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?

kil-beer-w.jpg

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.

——————————————————-

If you like my work and want to support my writing and artwork, please donate into my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

Thank you.

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”.

google-maps-5.jpg

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.

kilkenny-castle-fountain-w.jpg

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

kilkenny-castle-people-w.jpg

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

kilkenny-castle-2-w.jpg

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]

——————————————————-

If you like my work and want to support my writing and artwork, please donate into my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

Thank you.

Sketching Ireland #6

Kilkenny – At Last!

LOL! We’re finally completing the first leg of the itinerary that I’m following based on a travel blob by Wanderlust Crew. We’re getting into Kilkenny Ireland. Technically, the first leg should have taken only a few hours drive on the M9 from Dublin, but with my detours… hahaha… we’re about 5 days later, give or take (vicariously, of course).

Kilkenny, which means “church of Cainnech”, may be the smallest city in Ireland, but for a time during the 17th century Kilkenny was unofficially the capital of Ireland. Built on both banks of the River Nore, this 400 year plus city is a tourist destination, and its environs include historic buildings such as Kilkenny Castle, St. Canice’s Cathedral and round tower, Rothe House, Shee Alms House, Black Abbey, St. Mary’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Town Hall, St. Francis Abbey, Grace’s Castle, and St. John’s Priory. Kilkenny is also known for its craft and design workshops, the Watergate Theatre, public gardens and museums. Annual events include Kilkenny Arts Festival, the Cat Laughs comedy festival and music at the Kilkenny Roots Festival. [contents from Wikipedia]

google-maps-kil1.jpg

Before we head in to the city, we’re making a quick stop at the Paddy’s Country Pub just off the M9 for a late breakfast or a brunch. Based on Tripadvisor dot com, a commentary recommended Irish Bacon and Cabbage. I loved sketching this pub. The front all the way up to the roof was covered with a thick vine foliage.

kilkenny-paddy-w.jpg

google-maps-kil2.jpgAfter breakfast, we got back on the M9 and because I’m using the hover mode on Google Earth/Map, I can see that I have two exit the M9 and take the N10 into Kilkenny.

If this was an actual vacation and not a vicarious one, I would not want to bring my towed tear drop camper into a busy city. So, we needed to find someplace to camp. Fortunately, after doing some googling, I found the Tree Grove which was south of the city and conveniently just off the N10. The campground was the only one listed in the area. After ditching the trailer, we got back on the N10 and work our way back to the North side of the city to meet up with some people.

Kilkenny is divided by the River Nore. We drove around the eastern side of the city which happened to be quite modern. Most of the touristy stuff is on the western side. We were in the Newpark district when we drove by a marsh.

kilkenny-marsh-w.jpg

The Newpark Fen or Marsh is a diverse habitat with open water and a rich variety of bird, mammal, plant and insect species. It was designated an area of scientific interest and is recognised as being of local scientific importance. It is a most important natural reserve with no less than 49 different species of birds identified to date and more than 70 species of plants, trees and shrubs. It includes a bird feeding area, wildlife information boards, a 2km circular walk and a wheelchair accessible walkway. In my sketch of the marsh, I included an Irish duck on the foreground. After the marsh, we head for the river.

The River Nore is a 140-kilometre (87 mi) long river. Along with the River Suir and River Barrow, it is one of the constituent rivers of the group known as the Three Sisters. After it flows through the city it will eventually end up emptying into the Celtic Sea way far south. When you have a river like the Nore in a tourist city, what can you expect? Kayaking!

kilkenny-kayaks-w.jpg

By the way, those people we’re meeting, happen to be my brother and his wife. That’s them in my sketch. Well, in reality, that’s their faces on the bodies of actual kayakers on the actual River Nore. Supposedly, they would have leisurely kayaked down the river under bridges and past the Kilkenny Castle then land near the campground. Meanwhile, as we crossed the Green’s Bridge again, I spotted a giant sundial.

kilkenny-sundial-w.jpg

It is the Monumental Sundial entitled Arch and Sundial in the garden beside Green’s Bridge. The Arts Council (sometimes called the Arts Council of Ireland) commisioned artist Brian King to mark the success of Kilkenny in the Tidy Towns competition in 1985. A nearby plaque tells the user how to read the sundial and how to convert sun time to watch time. The Arabic hour numerals are carved into the seats of the pinic stools. [contents from http://www.sundials-ireland.com]

In my next post, we go to Kilkenny Medeivel Mile. See you then.

——————————————————-

If you like my work and want to support my writing and artwork, please donate into my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

Thank you.

Sketching Ireland #5

Carlow – A Must Stop

Why? Well, Carlow is just off the M9 and is a fair size town to just pass by. According to Wikipedia, the settlement of Carlow is thousands of years old and pre-dates written Irish history. The town had played a major role in Irish history, serving as the capital of the country in the 14th century. Besides, read what Carlow Tourism wrote on their site and tell me that you would not drop by as well.

Immerse yourself in the story of Ireland’s Ancient East in County Carlow. Get off the beaten track to see, hear, touch and feel the imprints of the millennia of settlers in this county. Take your time to discover it all – Stone Age artifacts, monasteries, medieval castles and large country houses and estates.

google-maps-oakpark-w.jpgUnfortunately, I’m just making a quick exploration. But I did save some provided photos for later ‘Sketching from the Neck Up’ projects. Meanwhile, Carlow Tourism said that ‘Carlow is a treasure trove of wonderful gardens to visit. Some of the best in the country are here and the county also contains what is regarded as the best garden centre in the country – Arboretum Home and Garden Heaven, which has been continuously awarded a coveted 5 stars in the Bord Bia Garden Centre of the Year Awards.’ One particular park I found is just on the outskirts of the town.

Oak Park Forest Park

There are few locations which could rival the beauty and tranquillity of Oak Park Forest Park. Ideal for leisurely strolls and walks, a visit here is a relaxing and pleasurable experience and a must for any visitor to Co. Carlow. Colour coded circular walkways of varying lengths with excellent accessible surfaces and easy gradients make a visit here an enjoyable experience for young and old alike.

carlow-oak-forest-path-w.jpg

The park is a mature, mixed species woodland of over 120 acres with a predominance of beech, oak, scots pine, silver fir, larch and sycamore. The proximity of the walkways to the extensive collection of ferns, mosses and woodland flora provides the visitor with an ideal opportunity to interact with nature. Boasting a rich diversity of wildlife, the lakes and their surrounds provide a habitat for swans and ducks, while the islands shelter many wild and game birds. The Woodland Looped walks extend over 4km.

The park also features a picnic area, informal leisure areas and seating at regular intervals. For us who are physically challenged, the Looped Board Walks have anti-slip surfacing and are wheelchair accessible. You can read more in this PDF brochure link -> Carlow-Garden-Trail

After a vicarious visit in the forest, I’m heading in for town. My first stop – the River Barrow and the rowing club.

carlow-rowing-on-the-barrow.jpg

I love watching a rowing team pulling on their oars, slicing through the water.

Downtown Carlow

google-maps-downtown-w.jpg
So, from the river, using Street-View, I went exploring down narrow streets. Just a block from the river, I found the ruins of the Carlow Castle which is today facing a modern apartment complex called the Water Front. I decided not to sketch the castle and continue my touring. I decided to check out Carlow College.

carlow-cannon-w.jpg

On the way there, as I was passing the court house, I had to stop and sketch an 18th century canon which sat on a strange carriage. I say strange because as a historical student of this period, if this canon was fired, well… I can just imagine it flipping back and crushing the gun crew. But I think this canon carriage, in-front of the court house is more for display.

The college campus reminded me of my own college days. Because I was a Theatre major, I always look for the campus theater; in this case, VISUAL Carlow.

carlow-visual-w.jpg

VISUAL is one of Ireland’s leading contemporary art spaces situated in the heart of Carlow Town, with four world class gallery spaces and a 320-seat performance space. It receives national, international and regional touring productions as well as presenting locally produced work. The theatre itself comprises of one performance space and associated workshop space. It is the home venue for a number of Carlow based amateur and professional groups who can use it for workshops, rehearsals and presentation of their work. [content by http://www.visualcarlow.ie]

For my sketch subject, I chose a beautiful, chrome shining, modern art piece which stood about 3-storeys high and fronting Visual. After the college, we go shopping.

Five blocks south is Carlow’s shopping district and if this was an actual physical vacation, my wife will really be enjoying it. Meanwhile, since I’m not really a shopping type, I have to hunt for something to sketch. And in a small circular park surrounded by boutiques, shops, restaurants and tourists is the Liberty Tree.

carlow-liberty-tree-w.jpg

At first sight, the Liberty Tree is a bronze sculpture with a tree shaped outline. It stands on a circular base at the centre of a large fountain. I almost ignored it, until I looked closely at the tree’s trunk and found several emaciated human images hanging from the trunk; like they were cruelly tortured to death.

This almost gruesome sculpture actually commemorates the 1798 Irish Rising that started here in Carlow.

After the shopping, it is time to look for somewhere to eat. There are many recognizable restaurants in Carlow’s commercial area. I found McDonald’s and even a Burger King (by the river). But I went looking for a hole-in-the-wall type restaurant that’ll surprise me. In a narrow street, right across from the Cathedral is a Spanish restaurant, Mimosa.

carlow-mimosa-w.jpg

If you looked at the outside, it didn’t seem special. Now, look at the framed door of my sketch and you’ll see a star and 4 discs. Mimosa may seem a hole-in-the-wall, but it is an award winning place. So, I hope for future travellers, please eat there and write to me about it.

For more about Carlow, GUIDE TO CARLOW & CARLOW’S ADVENTURE TRAILS.

——————————————————-

If you like my work and want to support my writing and artwork, please donate into my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

Thank you.

Sketching Ireland #4

Had to Stop at Castledermot

road-map-4.jpg

Well, I’m back on the M9. I had to work myself back to Ballytore. Okay, I confess! I cheated! I flew back over the mountains back to my last stop on the M9.

It’s kinda funny, but the first leg of this Irish tour was suppose to be at Kilkenny. I hope you all don’t mind me making these extra stops. Because… hahaha… I’m making another “un-itinerary’ stop. It is a small town just off the M9, named Castledermot. At first, by its name, I thought there was castle about. But Castledermot (in County Kildare) was originally called ‘Diseart Diarmad’; meaning ‘Dermot’s Hermitage’. Now, there is a castle about 4-5 miles away, across the M9 from Castledermot. It was modernly refurbished into a hotel overlooking a golf course. I decided to focus on the small town.

Ruins of Franciscan Friary

castledermont-ruin-w.jpg

Believe it or not, this tiny town had historical significance. And to my delight I found part of it right on the main road just across a gas station. It was a ruin of a Franciscan friary which was once a very important ecclesiastical centre in this part of Ireland. This ‘frontier’ location was significant enough to attract many unwanted visitors over the years. It was attacked by Vikings in 841 and 867, the Normans in 1169, Edward the Bruce in 1316, the McMurroughs in 1405 and 1427, the Crown forces in 1530 and of course good old Cromwell whose forces destroyed most of the place in 1650. The town had been so important at one stage that it was allowed to mint its own coins. By 1850 however Castledermot was described as having ‘neither trade nor manufacture’ and is now wholly dependent on agriculture. [content from Wikipedia]

The sketch I made is of the inside of the friary showing the oldest intact stone window in Western Europe. It is believed the Franciscan Friary in Castledermot or Thrisledermot, as it was known at that time, was founded by Walter de Riddlesford II in the early part of the 13th century. All that remains of the Friary today is an undifferentiated nave and chancel church, with a 14th century aisle and transept added to the northside. There are three side chapels on the eastern side of the transept. An unusual feature of the building is the defensive tower attached to the south side of the church. [content from Wikipedia]

St Dairmuid’s Monastic Site

About 2 blocks from the ruins is an older monastic site founded by St Dairmuid back at 815 or 818 CE. He was the son of Dairmait, high king of Ireland, and was an abbot and bishop. However, he died in 823 CE not long after founding his monastery. His feast-day is held on 23rd June.

Castledermot-monastry-w.jpg

Today, you’ll find in the ancient monastic site, the church of St James (which is modern) and a round tower, now somewhat damaged, dating from the 10th century. You’ll also find the foundations of a ruined church, a reconstructed Romanesque doorway (arch), grave-slabs dating from the 8th-12th century and two 9th century High Crosses.

Castledermot High Crosses  St Dairmuid s Cross   Ancient Cross   The Megalithic Portal and Megalith Map .pngA high cross or standing cross is a free-standing Christian cross made of stone and often richly decorated. The best preserved of the two high crosses, the North Cross, stands at 10 feet tall and is made of granite. On it’s base (front) there is a hunting scene, while on the back the miracle of the loaves and fishes. The shaft (front) has panels depicting biblical scenes, including David with his harp and Adam and Eve. The central panel between the wheel-head (heaven) shows the crucifixion of Christ.

The South Cross has only the granite shaft remaining but the detail, although worn, shows Daniel in the lion’s den in the lower panel (front) while the top panel has the sacrifice of Isaac; the middle panel has Celtic interlacing and spirals (front and back).

Castledermot-holed-stone-w.jpgIn the graveyard is a holed stone that was formerly known as the ‘swearing stone’. A ringed cross is carved on one face of the stone and the circular hole extends through the centre of the cross. The purpose of this stone is somewhat enigmatic, but it is suggested that it may have been used during wedding ceremonies or for swearing oaths or allegiances in early Christian times. [contents by megalithicireland.com]

After Castledermot, there is one other stop before we reach Kilkenny, the large town of Carlow. I hope to see you then.

——————————————————-

If you like my work and want to support my writing and artwork, please donate into my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

Thank you.

Sketching Ireland #3

Detour to Glendalough

road-map-3.jpgWhile researching my next stop in my itinerary of following the M9 Highway to the city of Kilkenny, I came upon promotional touristy stuff on beautiful mountain lakes just east of my last stop. The place is called Glendalough, pronounced as Gleann Dá Loch, meaning “Valley of two lakes”. When I first read the name, suddenly Brigadoon came to mind. Brigadoon was an old movie musical of a mystical village in the Highlands of Scotland starring Gene Kelly. Well, Glendalough may not magically appear every hundred years through the mist, but clearly it does sound like a worthwhile detour to take. However, I had to backtrack back to Ballytore and take country back roads first to the town of Dunlavin. Implementing Street View, I found that the town was quite modern. Frankly, I hoped to see more classical Irish style cottages with its tatched roof and stone walls. So, I continued on northeast to what was a pleasant drive on a well paved two lane road [R756] lined with hedges, wooden fences and fields of barley (I think). I drove by both country estates, quaint houses and farms but no public places like pubs & restaurants. (Note to travelers: gas stations can usually be found on major road junction.)

Anyway, the next stop in our detour, believe it or not, is Hollywood. No… not the one in Los Angeles. For one thing, Hollywood Ireland is smaller but much older than it’s LA’s namesake. Here is a historical note, Hollywood was an old designated stage coach stop. As a travel blogger, I recommend that you stop over at Hollywood and eat. I suggest you stop at either the HOLLYWOOD CAFE and HOLLYWOOD INN. For there will be no place to eat on the long road to Glendalough.

Glendalough

glen-map-w.jpg

The drive into the mountains of Glendalough is not like driving through the Cascades of Washington State or even the Rockies. These mountains were not as high or sheer, but I really enjoyed riding through them even if I’m watching it on my computer monitor. I can even imagine feeling the cold air through my imaginary Fonzie like leather jacket. As I turned a bend on the highway, I came upon a wonderful sight of Glendalough resting at the bottom of a valley between two mountains. Those mountains are the Tonelagee and the Camaderry enveloping the glacial valley of Glendalough. For a sketching project, I made a perspective map of Glendalough. I love making this kind of maps. You’ll probably see more of these later.

Cascading Stream

glendalough-cascade-w

When driving into the valley, I look to the right and found to my delight a flowing mountain stream cascading down rocks and mossy boulders. So, I think we’ll camp next to the stream.

Glendalough Monastic Site

Glendalough Monastic Site, also known as the city of the seven churches, was once enclosed within a circular wall of stone. You enter through the Gateway.

The Gateway

glendalough-gateway-w.jpg

There is a delightful feeling of discovery as you walk through the arches and along the pathway towards the settlement. The very picturesque Gateway has the distinction of being Ireland’s only surviving example of a medieval gateway to an early monastic city. This structure was originally two-storied with two fine granite arches. The gatekeeper would have lived on the second floor. The projecting walls at each end indicate it had a timber roof. Very little remains of the enclosure walls. [content from http://www.megalithicireland.com]

Monastic Site Map

glen-monastery-w.jpg

The Round Tower was built of mica-slate interspersed with granite. It stands about 30 metres high, with an entrance 3.5 metres from the base. The conical roof was rebuilt in 1876 using the original stones. The tower originally had six timber floors, connected by ladders. The four storeys above entrance level are each lit by a small window; while the top storey has four windows facing the cardinal compass points. Round towers, landmarks for approaching visitors, were built as bell towers, but also served on occasion as store-houses and as places of refuge in times of attack. [content from Wikipedia]

The Cathedral
The largest and most imposing of the buildings at Glendalough, the cathedral had several phases of construction, the earliest, consisting of the present nave with its antae. The large mica-schist stones which can be seen up to the height of the square-headed west doorway were re-used from an earlier smaller church. A few metres south of the cathedral an early cross of local granite, with an unpierced ring, is commonly known as St. Kevin’s Cross. [content from Wikipedia]

St. Kevin’s Cross
St. Kevin’s Cross is a fine example of a plain cross remarkably carved from a single granite stone. The arms of the cross are over a metre in length. The imperforate cross stands about 2.5m tall. It may have marked the boundary of the cemetery in which stands the priests’ house. A local legend surrounding St. Kevin’s Cross says that anyone who can wrap their arms around the entire width of the cross body and close the circle by touching fingertips will have their wishes granted. [content from http://www.megalithicireland.com]

The Priests’ House
Almost totally reconstructed from the original stones, based on a 1779 sketch made by Beranger, the Priests’ House is a small Romanesque building, with a decorative arch at the east end. It gets its name from the practice of interring priests there in the 18th and 19th centuries. Its original purpose is unknown although it may have been used to house relics of St. Kevin. [content from Wikipedia]

St. Kevin’s Church or “Kitchen”
St. Kevin’s Church is an intact stone-roofed structure. The steep roof, formed of overlapping stones, is supported internally by a semi-circular vault. Access to the croft or roof chamber was through a rectangular opening towards the western end of the vault. The church also had a timber first floor. The belfry with its conical cap and four small windows rises from the west end of the stone roof in the form of a miniature round tower. It is commonly known as St. Kevin’s Kitchen as the bell tower resembles a kitchen chimney. However, food was not cooked there. [content from Wikipedia]

St. Mary’s or Our Lady’s Church

St. Mary’s one of the earliest and best constructed of the churches built just outside and west of the Monastic Site. The church belonged to local nuns and was probably built outside the main enclosure. The chancel has an east window with hood moulding. On the outside of the window are two very weather worn carved heads. Built into the altar is one of the many bullaun stones in Glendalough.

Glendalough Bullauns – The Deerstone

At this early Christian monastic site are a number of interesting bullaun stones. Bullaun are large stones first flattened on the top then a bowl shap was carved into it. One of these is known as the Deerstone. The site was founded by St Kevin who died in 617 AD. According to legend St Kevin had no cow so he persuaded a doe to leave milk in the bullaun for him. Situated in and around the valley there are over forty other bullaun stones, a number of which are located on the monastic site.

There are more to check out and I’ll reveal it at later SKETCHING from the Neck Up posts.

glendalough-mine-w.jpg

Glendalough is also a fantastic recreational area with kayaking on the lakes, rock climbing and numerous trails for both hiking and mountain bikes. One of those trails led me to my final drawing of an old stone crusher with an abandoned miner’s village on the background.

Well, we got to head back to the M9 and continue with my itinerary.

——————————————————-

If you like my work and want to support my writing and artwork, please donate into my PAYPAL account [click below]

DONATE TO MY PAYPAL

Thank you.