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November: Home is Where One Starts From; Ireland

Gallarus Oratory, Dingle Ireland

Gallarus Oratory, Dingle, Ireland

This past year I had my DNA tested. I have over 45,000 names in my family tree and have done extensive research on my family including going to the villages of my root families in France and the UK. I have traced my family on my fathers side (France/Germany) and mothers side (the UK), both back to the 1600’s. But, as it is, you get so many pieces of DNA from your father and from your mother, who in turn got pieces from their mothers and fathers, ect….. My DNA determined, that a big part of me, (43%) is Western European, specifically from France, Germany and Switzerland. I am (15%) Scandinavian, specifically from Norway and Sweden. and (12%) from Great Britain…. I thought that was extremely low since that figures so much into my family tree and where I have done so much research. But, my biggest surprise was the (28%) Irish! I could find only one family in my family tree with actual Irish descent!  Maybe that explains my love of story telling and writing! So here is a photo of me in front of the Gallarus Oratory in Ireland!

The Gallarus Oratory name is interpreted as either “rocky headland” or “house or shelter for foreigners,” and is a chapel located on the Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland. It has been determined to be an early Christian stone church by its discoverer, antiquary, Charles Smith, in 1756. In 1970, archaeologist Peter Harbison, determined it was a a 12th-century Romanesque church, and in 1994 it was determined to be a shelter for pilgrims. The local tradition prevalent at the time of the oratory’s discovery attributed it to one Griffith More, being a funerary chapel built by him or his family at their burial place. I am glad to see the oratory was a combination of its roots too!

Home is Where One Starts From!

To me, November is everything about the home. We are preparing our homes for the shorter days and longer dark nights; settling in so to speak with a good book and a cup of cocoa in front of the fire. November is also all about the family and food and sharing. So through November I will share tidbits about the home and some fascinating photos of homes around the world. Enjoy!

November: A Man’s Home is His Castle; Ireland

 

Obriens Tower, Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

Obriens Tower, Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

To me, November is everything about the home. We are preparing our homes for the shorter days and longer dark nights; settling in so to speak with a good book and a cup of cocoa in front of the fire. November is also all about the family and food and sharing. So through November I will share tidbits about the home and some fascinating photos of homes around the world. Enjoy!

Let’s start in Ireland! The English judge and jurist Sir Edward Coke (pronounced cook) declared in a ruling known as Semayne’s Case, that there were strict limits on how sheriffs could enter a person’s house. In a famous and much quoted decision from 1604, Coke declared that “the house of every one is to him as his castle and fortress as well for defense against injury and violence, as for his refuge” which over the years has become simplified to “a man’s home is his castle”.

The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown. It may be frail – its roof may shake – the wind may blow through it – the storm may enter – the rain may enter – but the King of England cannot enter.”

Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola; Yellow Green

Muckross House Garden, Killarney, Ireland

Muckross House Garden, Killarney, Ireland

Muckross House, Killarnry, Ireland

Muckross House, Killarnry, Ireland

Muckross Gardeners Cottage, Killarney, Ireland

Muckross Gardeners Cottage, Killarney, Ireland

View of Killarney National Park, Killarney, Ireland

View of Killarney National Park, Killarney, Ireland

There is every shade of green in Ireland, so today I am going to share Muckross House with you! These are some of my favorite pictures of Yellow Green!

The sixty five roomed, Muckross Mansion, built in Tudor Style, was designed by Scottish architect, William Burn, and completed in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, the watercolorist, Mary Balfour. Mary met Henry in Rome and married him in September, 1837. The estate was given to her, by her grandparents, for a wedding present. She loved the grounds, as it reminded her of the family home in Scotland. She brought a large dowry to the marriage equivalent to 3.28 million pounds in 2016, and she and Henry used part of this money to start construction on the house in 1839. She then worked at developing her talents as a watercolor artist, and with no formal training or formal art education, she displayed considerable skill.

Less than twenty years later, in preparation for a visit from Queen Victoria in 1861, extensive improvements to the house and contents, were made for the Queen’s visit. Tapestries, mirrors, Persian carpets, silverware, musical instruments, linen, china and new servants’ uniforms are said to have been specially commissioned for the queen’s visit. Special curtains for the Dining Room were woven in Paris, also to please the Queen.

The Queen’s apartments at Mockross were described by the local press as: “An entire section of apartments has been set aside for the royal family so that they do not need to communicate with the Herbert family when passing through halls. The Queen will live in privacy, and from her rooms can walk onto the delightful grounds, which will be kept private during her stay.” It was clear the Herberts thought the Royal couple and friends would stay awhile.

The Queen, Prince Albert, and two of their children spent two nights there!  Little time was spent with the Herbert family and on the last day, Queen Victoria took a carriage ride around the grounds with the Mrs. and then Queen Victoria and entourage went to the train to go elsewhere. As a farewell gift Mary gave the Queen two of her paintings of the landscape at Muckross.

Moral of the story: never re-do your house to please someone else. If they want to come, they can come as you are. Don’t live above your means.

The restorations resulted in huge financial difficulties for the Herbert family, which resulted in the sale of the mansion and the 11,000 acre estate.

Henry died in 1866, (he probably never fathomed being in debt), and Mary with two of her daughters moved back to England, where she lived until 1871, and then moved to Lake Como, Italy, to continue her artwork. She died in London in 1893 and was buried next to her husband in the family vault near the Muckross estate.

In 1899 the estate was bought by Arthur Guinness, who wanted to preserve the landscape.

In 1911, the house and estate were sold to William Bowers Bourn, a wealthy Californian involved in mining. He and his wife passed the estate to their daughter, Maud and her husband Arthur Rose Vincent, as a wedding present. The couple lived there until the death of Maud in 1929. In 1932, her parents and her husband decided to give Muckross House and the 11,00 acre estate to the Irish people and it became the first National Park in the Republic of Ireland. The house and grounds are now part of Killarney National Park.

Yellow Green has been in the Crayola Collection since 1930. It is also known as Monster Green in the “Halloween Crayons” series. The Muckross House and estate turned out to be the green-eyed monster for the Herbert family, but a windfall for the people of Ireland!

This post is just one of many in the Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola Challenge! 

Check out some of the other 150+ challenge participants, it’s amazing what we have done with the Crayola colors!

 

Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola; Shamrock

 

Irish Shamrock Plant

Irish Shamrock Plant

You know the old saying, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Well so are the Shamrocks, so to speak! I love this green colored Irish Shamrock plant along my neighbors fence line. They remind me of the real deal Shamrock.

In my garden they look like this! I have the Purple Shamrock Plant!

My Purple Shamrock Plant

My Purple Shamrock Plant

Shamrock has been in the Crayola Collection since 1993. It is known as Circuit Board Green in the Techno Brite series and US Mint in the “Colors of Washington, DC” series.

This post is just one of many in the Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola ChallengeDay 93!

Check out some of the other 150+ challenge participants, it’s amazing what we have done with the Crayola colors!

 

“My Thoughts Exactly, Maeve!”

View from Ashford Castle, Cong, Ireland

View from Ashford Castle, Cong, Ireland

Today I thought I would post something for my favorite author ever, Maeve Binchy. She was the most popular Irish woman writer of all time and wrote books about the interactions of everyday people; just real people in real life. Maeve had advice about writing that I never forgot. Maeve passed away on July 30, 2012, but every year on St Patrick’s Day I write her a little something. 

Maeve’s advice on writing.

Write like you talk, it is your voice.

She also wrote scenes in her books that were conversations she had overheard. One day she was so engulfed in a conversation by two women on a bus that she actually got off the bus, where they did, and followed them so she could hear the end of the conversation!

She was an excellent listener.

I have been going through my emails and letters to file for family history and came across this email I sent to my sister on Wednesday, September 8th, 2010 at 5:31pm. I thought Maeve would enjoy it too.

J, the November date is good.  Will you be here a week? 

This weekend I made hamburger and hotdog buns, because we grilled out, cooked 21 servings of chili to put up and made two batches of pizza dough, because we ate pizza on Monday, and put up 20 more pounds of tomatoes.  I am trying to get ready for winter.

I slaved over the chili, soaking beans all night before hand and I have come to the conclusion that I don’t know beans about beans.  After soaking all night they were still hard, but I thought no problem because the six pounds of meat, with onions, green peppers, chili powder, paprika, tomato sauce and tomatoes will all cook down in the pressure cooker and the beans will soften up too. Wrong, I pressured the chili and it smelled so good, then when that was done I added the beans and just cooked them down like the recipe said.  For some reason because of the gas from the beans the recipe stated NOT to put them in the pressure cooker with the other ingredients.  The chili cooked down to nothing and those beans were as hard as ever.  SO then SB and I spent the rest of the day picking 3 pounds of cooked hard beans out of the chili!!!!!!!!!!!

I guess from now on I will use CANNED BEANS.  BUMMER!!!!!!,

The news of the day: Ghost hunters every year on the anniversary of a train accident in the 1860’s near Statesville, NC meet up at 430am on the train trestle where the train went over the trestle and killed 35 people.  Supposedly after the train accident a train conductor could be found on the track at this time of morning on the anniversary day, waving his lantern looking for the derailed train.  So ghost hunters have been showing up for years to see the train’s conductor.

This year was no exception.  A group of ghost hunters started walking the track one day last week at 430am.  Suddenly a real train came around the bend and since there is not a stop or anything else there, the conductor did not blow a whistle that the train was coming, nor was he looking for people on the track.  The ghost hunters were caught off guard and were running for their lives on the trestle.  Several jumped off the trestle when the train caught up to them and one man was run over by the train. He pushed his girlfriend off the trestle telling her “he loved her”  and then was ran over.  The others that jumped from the trestle are in intensive care with critical injuries, including the girl.  Now for several days there have been stories in the newspaper about how this episode will now become one of the ghost hunters legends too and they will be looking for the guy that got ran over.  Can you believe it? !!!!!!!!! 

The book for our book club meeting this month is “Serena” and I have never read a book that from the first page git-go, I disliked the main character. A new first!

The relationship among the characters is not believable either.  I am learning about the Smoky Mountain National Park developers versus the timber industry. The mountain families were run off their land or became lumber jacks making little to no money to timber the trees.  The depression was going on and they lived horrible lives because they could so easily be replaced.  I hope it gets better, although I am half way through it and so far I am not impressed.  It is a chore to read and I have to have it read by next Wednesday.

How is K feeling?  S’s wrist/arm has held up in the cast. Today was the back surgery on SB’s mom.  She is in intensive care and in pain, following the surgery and he is on his way to see her.  HMMMM…..  If you are in pain in intensive care when you are so doped up I say you are in a pickle.  Just my two cents worth.  More later. c

Well Maeve, I hope this email has given you a good laugh and something to write about today, because I know you are still writing and the stories up there might be a little too goodie-two-shoes for you! And, you might have a buzz in your head trying to strain to hear all the conversations down here! So I am making it easy for you!

PS I also am sending you a photo I took at Ashford Castle in Cong, Ireland. It is still the greenest country in the world!

Sincerely, Cady

Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola; Manatee

 

 

Gardener's Cottage at Ashford Castle, Ireland

Gardener’s Cottage at Ashford Castle, Ireland

I have never seen a Manatee. But, I do know it is also called a sea cow.

Since I don’t have a photo of the Manatee, here is the lovely gardener’s cottage at Ashford Castle in Ireland. Instead of having a Manatee, you could have a Cup a Tea here! It has a nice shade of gray in the stone, plaster, and shingles, and I loved the trim of green! Green and Gray for Ireland!

Crayola added Manatee, the grayish color, to their line in 1998.

This post is just one of many in the Color Your World: 120 Days of Crayola Challenge! Enjoy!

Ring Around the Kerry

This is my last posting of 4, of the Going Green to Ireland Series.

St Finian's Beach

St Finian’s Beach

We are on a long circular stretch of road called the Ring of Kerry from Killorglin to  Kenmare. We are adding in the Skellig Ring, a twenty mile, bus free ring road, traveling out to Portmagee. Here we reach St Finian’s Bay, where we will staying at the Beach Cove B&B, owned by Bridie O’Connor.

The Beach Cove B&B

The Beach Cove B&B

She offers four comfortable rooms on Coomanaspic Ridge, overlooking the beach at St Finian’s Bay. We are welcomed by bright sunshine, but cool temperatures, and as we sit on her lawn bundled up in our jackets and wool caps to watch the world go by, there are people in the bay swimming. I guess if the sun is shining make hay or swim!  Later we travel around the entire Skellig Ring, and I like the antics of the puffins as well as the views of the Skelligs, two huge slate and sandstone rocks, seven miles from the shore.

The Skelligs

The Skelligs

Skellig Michael, the larger of the two, has a tiny cluster of abandoned bee hive huts clinging near the summit. The island was originally inhabited by ultra-pious, sixth-century Christian monks seeking isolation to get nearer to God. The smaller island, Little Skellig, is home to a colony of gannets (a large sea gull) protected by law from visitors stepping foot on shore.

The Beach Cove B&B is perfectly situated on the bay and is just down the road from the Skelligs Chocolate Factory. Yes, a chocolate factory on the tiny road around the bay! Inviting visitors in for a sample they proclaim their chocolates are “ never boring, always gorgeous, and sometimes a little different…..just like the Irish!”  Where else can you find dark chocolate, lime zest and pepper chocolates, I think?  I buy several different varieties for our road trip. Fabulous! Spending only one night here we move on the next day following the ring along the shore and then back to the bigger Ring of Kerry to Kenmare, a lovely little town where we stop for a look see and lunch.

Muckross House

Muckross House

Muckcross House Garden

Our last stop is the Muckross House, located on the small Muckross Penisula, located between Muckross Lake and Lough Leanne. Muckross House is a mansion built in 1843 for Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, watercolorist Mary Balfour Herbert. With sixty-five rooms, expansive improvements were made in the late 1850’s in preparation of the visit of Queen Victoria in 1861. It is said that these improvements for the queen’s visit resulted in financial difficulties for the Herberts’ resulting in the sale of the estate in 1899 to Arthur Guinness, who wanted to preserve the dramatic landscape. In 1911, the estate was sold to William Bowers Bourn, an American mining magnate. In 1932, Muckross House and the 11,000 acre estate was presented to the Irish nation, and became the first National Park in the Republic of Ireland and formed the basis for the present day Kilarney National Park. The house and grounds are beautiful!  Be sure to take the cart ride out to the falls!

Last, but not least, I want to mention my favorite author, Maeve Binchy.  I picked up my first “Maeve” book in an English bookstore in Quebec, Canada, mostly because I thought she had the most unusual name. I went on to read every book I could find.  A novelist, playwright, short story writer, columnist, and speaker, she is known for her humorous take on small-town life in Ireland and her descriptive characters. I am inspired by her. Her novels have been translated in 37 languages and sold more than 40 million copies worldwide. She finished third in a 2000 poll for World Book Day. Binchy was raised Catholic and attended convent schools, but a trip to Israel affected her life and her career.  To quote Maeve.

“In 1963, I worked in a Jewish school in Dublin, teaching French with an Irish accent to kids, primarily Lithuanians. The parents there gave me a trip to Israel as a present. I had no money, so I went and worked in a kibbutz– plucking chickens, picking oranges. My parents were very nervous; here I was going out to the Middle East by myself. I wrote to them regularly, telling them about the kibbutz. My father and mother sent my letters to a newspaper, which published them. So I thought, It’s not so hard to be a writer. Just write a letter home. After that, I started writing other travel articles.”

Maeve went on to write and write. I love all her books, but I re-read every year, The Lilac Bus and Evening Class. My inspiration, is her book, the Maeve Binchy Writer’s Club, words of encouragement in letters from Maeve. To read about the Irish culture, Maeve Binchy, is the author for you! Sadly, Maeve passed in 2012 and is missed by readers everywhere.

For more information about Beach Cove B&B see: http://www.stayatbeachcove.com

For more information about the Skellig Chocolate Factory see: http://www.skelligschocolate.com

For more information about Muchross House see:http://www.muckross-house.ie

For Information about Maeve Binchy see:http://www.maevebinchy.com

From Cong to Dingle

This is Part III in a series called Going Green to Ireland. We are driving along the western coast of Ireland.

Saying goodbye to Ashford Castle today we are driving to Kinvara, where we will be staying in the Cois Cuain B&B. Mary Walsh greets us into her three bedroom cottage with  a garden overlooking the square and harbor close to the Dunguaire Castle, a 16th-century tower house on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay.

Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle is one of the most visited castles in Ireland. Tonight we will be attending a medieval feast of food, folk music and storytelling at the castle. Greeted by the butler, who gives us a brief history of the castle and a goblet of mead, we are led up the stairs to the Banquet Hall and seated on benches at long oak tables. I have learned another thing here this evening, even in the summer it is very cold in a stone castle. Bundle up!   We enjoyed our evening meeting other travelers and participating in the feast.

The next day, after Mary’s terrific breakfast, we head to the Cliffs of Moher. Facing gale winds and a torrential downpour we walk to the edge of the cliffs. On the way back to the car we stop to have hot chocolate in the tiny cliff restaurant to warm up!  Making our way to Dingle we enjoy the peacefulness of the drive, just looking at the scenery; the potato fields separated by stone walls and fields of cows. Going through Adare we stop and look in the old thatched cottages that are now shops.

Adare  Thatched Cottages

Adare Thatched Cottages

Adare Gift Shop

Adare Gift Shop

Rainbow in Dingle

Rainbow in Dingle

Dingle, is a fishing village on the mountainous finger of land that juts into the Atlantic Ocean that has supported various tribes and populations for almost 6,000 years. Because of the remote location and lack of specialized agriculture there is a large preservation of over 2,000 monuments from the Mesolithic Age onward. On our first full day in Dingle we signed up for a tour with Sciuird Archaeological Tours. (Screw-id)  The tour is offered by Tim Collins (a retired Dingle police officer) and Michael, his son. A group of six ventured off in his van. We were transported down tiny farm roads, (formerly cow paths) and over hedges and ridges to view mysterious stone tombs, sweeping seasides and long forgotten castles, all while Tim offered a commentary on the history of Dingle.

Dingle Loop

Dingle Loop

Puffin

Puffin

Two tours are offered: west to Gallus Oratory and east to Minard Castle.  We enjoyed both tours. Returning to Dingle, after the tours, we were delighted to find that St Mary’s Church was having a folk music concert that evening. Enthusiastic guests were toe-taping to Irish jigs and teary eyed with the slow haunting melodies. Afterwards, everyone to the pub!

For more information about the Cois Cuain B&B see: Several listings are on the internet under Ireland B&B’s

For more information about the Dunguaire Castle see: Several listings are on the internet under Dunguaire Castle.

For more information on the Sciuird Archaeological Tours see: http://www.dingle-peninsula.ie/tours.html

Be sure to watch my video to explore Ireland!

The King of Cong

A Look at Ashford Castle

A Look at Ashford Castle

This is Part II in the Going Green to Ireland series.  Today we have made our way to Cong!

Ashford Castle is a medieval castle built in 1228 by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family. Over the centuries the castle has been expanded and turned into a five star luxury hotel near Cong on the Mayo/Galway border in Ireland, on the shore of Lake Corrib. In 2012 the hotel was voted the best resort in Ireland and the third best in Europe by Condé Nast Traveler. We arrived at the expansive wrought gates and drove down the long driveway to the castle at early dusk. In the shadows I felt just like a maiden returning to the manor. We were shown to a beautiful corner room of the hotel with views of the garden and Lake Carrib.

King George Ding Room at Ashford Castle

King George Dining Room at Ashford Castle

The dining room was our next stop, just like something out of Downton Abbey, but on a much larger scale. It was tuxedos and white gloves for all the servers. Later, we topped off the evening in the castle pub, where the singing was about to begin. The Irish music was so captivating, and I had had just enough drink.  The result: I was coerced to go onstage and sing. It was so much fun! However, there was a group in the rear of the pub who would rather talk than listen and/or sing. Before I got up for the sing-along with the entertainer, he had warned the inattentive group to keep it down. We began our song, reading the lyrics from a tele-prompter. Of course he had a beautiful voice with an Irish brogue, and I was happily trying to sing along and not make a fool of myself.  During one of our subsequent songs, suddenly the entertainer stopped singing and the music stopped. He determined the guests at the rear table were not paying any attention and asked them to leave. So that was my stage debut and my last. But, it was great fun while it lasted!

Guest with Harris Hawk

Guest with Harris Hawk

The next day we toured the Falconry School training area where falconry classes are taught at Ashford Castle, the oldest established falconry school in Ireland. A young American girl led the class and I watched and some participated in a session with a falcon and an owl, known as the Hawk Walk. Falconry is an ancient art and said to be the oldest sport in the world. It was used as a way to catch food for yourself and your family.  Harris Hawks, owls and falcons are brought from their cages and within minutes, with the bird sitting on your gloved hand you are ready for the walk and his performance. Our teacher explains the birds’ exceptional eyesight, speed and agility and how the bird will follow you from tree to tree and at the end return to your gloved hand. Everyone truly enjoyed the falconry class.

The Cong River

The Cong River 

 Later in the day we walked more of the grounds of Ashford Castle. I was particularly interested in seeing the cottages and land marks filmed in the 1951 movie, The Quiet Man, with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara. The grounds of Ashford Castle and nearby village of Cong, formed the backdrop for much of the action in the film. It’s March, time to watch The Quiet Man and listen to Bing!

For information about Ashford Castle see:http://www.ashford.ie/irish-castles.html

Going Green to Ireland

Thatched Roof Cottage Connemara, Ireland

Thatched Roof Cottage Connemara, Ireland

Cashel House Gardens

Cashel House Garden

Wild Rhubarb

Wild Rhubarb

March is all about green so we are off to Ireland! On this adventure we want to see the Ireland we have seen in the movies.

During this excursion we are renting a car to get around. I am driving……on the left side of the road…….. shifting gears with my left hand………the driving seat on the ride side of the car.  Hmmmmm……this will be interesting.  During car inspection in the Shannon Airport we notice the side-view mirror of the rental car is askew.  Not to worry, it just seems loose and the attendant is not concerned. The road out of Shannon is a divided two lane highway that soon narrows to a smaller road, which narrows to a smaller road, which narrows to a smaller road……  At the tight spots, we face cars head on and inch by each other, very slowly, since there are no places to pull over.

Traffic on west coast of Ireland

Traffic on west coast of Ireland

We are surrounded by trees or stone walls. Now I know why the side view mirrors are loose! They kiss as we pass each other! Before we know it we are on gravel roads surrounded by peat bogs or sheep grazing on the knolls. I have never seen a peat bog; a marsh without cattails, a wetland made up of dead and decaying vegetation.

Peat Bog in Connemara

Peat Bog in Connemara

Moss, mud and an earth mixture are dug up and made into little bricks. Peat bricks are piled high along the gravel road to dry out. I have to get out and look at the bog closely. Stepping on it is like stepping on a sponge. How to they get those peat bricks so uniform and perfect in size? It is getting dark with a drizzle of rain as we pull into our first stop, Cashel House in Connemara.

Bay from Cashel House

Bay from Cashel House

Cashel House overlooks the Cashel Bay on the west coast of Ireland. Designed by Geoffrey Emerson, the house was built in 1840 for Captain Thomas Hazell.  Geoffrey Emerson is the great, great grandfather of the present owner. The country home was converted to a family run four star hotel in 1968 by the McEvilly family. Situated in the heart of Connemara and nestled in 50 acres of gardens and woodland walks, it is perfect for artists or naturalists. Each of the 30 bedrooms and suites are decorated and furnished in antique furnishings presenting a charming chintzy country house style.  The turf fires give a relaxing homey atmosphere. Here are those peat bricks again! There is a sweet smoky smell wafting from the chimneys and fireplaces. I learn that a single brick-shaped piece of peat turf burns for 1 hour. Bogs are sometimes called fens, mires or quagmires.  Who knew?  There are hundreds of bog bricks placed next to the entry fireplace at Cashel House. The glass conservatory overlooking the gardens is now an elegant dining room. It is so romantic! Unfortunately, we only spend one night here and we are up and off early the next morning to a quick visit through Clifden, then on past the Kylemore Abbey and on into Cong, our next stop.

Clifden, Connemera

Clifden, Connemera

Kylemore Abbey, Connemera

Kylemore Abbey, Connemera

Kylemore Abbey and Castle, is home to a community of Benedictine nuns who came here in 1920 after the abby in Ypres, Belgium was destroyed in World War I.  (I have also been to the battlefields around Ypres, so will talk more about that in the Belgium post) At Kylemore the nuns opened a world renowned boarding school for girls and began restoring the Abbey, Gothic Church and Victorian Walled Garden. It was pouring today so we drove on to Cong.

The Irish in the Peat Bogs

My Peat Spade

My Peat  Spade

PS: A few years after the first trip to Ireland SB was in an antique shop in Northern England when he came across this item. A Peat Spade!!!!!  That’s how they get those bricks so perfect!  What a gift for me!

For more information on Cashel House and Gardens see: http://cashel-house-hotel.com/

For more information on the Kylemore Abbey, Castle and Gardens see: http://www.kylemoreabbeytourism.com

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