|Denise and David in Europe
Ireland - Athlone
updated 22 September 2016 (pic fixed)
Friday 16 September - Dublin to Ballydangan
Pictured below are the gates to Phoenix Park. The Park at 707 hectares (1752 acres), is a historic landscape of international importance and one of the largest designed landscapes in any European city. It was originally established as a Royal deer park in the 17th century.
Inside the park a huge War Memorial, The Wellington Testimonial was an extremely impressive site. It was designed by Robert Smirke as a testimonial to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, who is reputed to have been born in Dublin. It was completed in 1861 and is the tallest obelisk in Europe at just over 62 meters tall. There are four bronze plaques cast from cannons captured at Waterloo - three of which have pictorial representations of his career while the fourth has an inscription at the base of the obelisk.
And here is what we have been
waiting for. Pictured below, Ashtown Castle. A
medieval tower house that dates back to the 17th
Century. Today was a special cultural day and
everything of this nature was supposed to be open
for free entry. However due to short staffing
they were only opening the fort.
Disappointment gauge from 1 to 10 was 20!!!!!
Not happy Jan. We were compensated by a 20 minute
audio-visual display that was very dated and the
sound track quality was awful. David, as
usual, fell asleep.
Hitting the road much sooner than
anticipated we forged onward to Emo Court. Emo Court, located near the
village of Emo in County Laois, Ireland, is a
large neo-classical mansion, formal and
symmetrical in its design. It was designed by the
architect James Gandon in 1790 for John Dawson,
the first Earl of Portarlington.
Pictured below the dinning room of
the mansion. The symmetry of the home was its
main feature. False doors were also included
in parts of the home to provide the symmetry.
The entry foyer was classic for this.
The lounge, light, airy and
A ticket to board the Titanic.
Emo court from the gardens.
Emo court is surrounded by well manicured gardens
but little in the way of flora.
All in all an enjoyable look
around Emo Court. A little disappointed that
we did not get a tour of upstairs. The tour
probably was only about 20 minutes.
The Rock of Dunamase in County
Laois is a very prominent outcrop. Standing at
over 45 metres in height, the outcrop with its
castle ruins totally dominates the surrounding
The earliest historical reference to Dunamase is
in the annals of the four masters where it
states that Dun Masc was plundered by the
vikings in 843AD and the abbot of Terryglass was
views from Dunamase are spectacular and 10 out of
10 for the visit. A must do if you love
Finally we get to Yvonne and
Patrick's. (We started to have mechanical
trouble with our rental in the middle of
nowhere) Needless to say we were relieved to
arrive safe and sound.
Saturday 17 September - Ballydangan (near Athlone)
Denise's blog for the day -
Down the lane from Yvonne's a lovely old gate.
Here's a surprise. Hazel and I call it ' the secret house ' Hazel is Yvonne and Patrick's daughter. We were out walking the dogs, Roxy and Dusty when we made this find. (Pictured below) is one of very few of the older places that still exist. The couple who lived here had passed away and it never again had any one live in it. Apparently the house is part of Patrick's families history. The two overgrown trees on the left have completely concealed the house from the road. There is a lovely old gate to the left as well that give the whole house a very 'movie location' feel.
Around the back I could visualise
a lovely little courtyard one could enjoy themselves
in during the afternoon.
Oh oh.... Hazel has a music lesson and Pat was out and about looking for her. He wasn't happy she was not ready. I felt a bit guilty. We took to long walking the dogs and exploring.
Whilst Hazel was at her music
lesson Yvonne, David and I hit the shopping centre
and guess what? I found them........'French
Fancies" my favourite treats of all time! I
cannot wait for afternoon tea :-)
On our way out this afternoon
(Pictured below) the river Shannon.
Our destination for the afternoon was
The monastery of Clonmacnoise, situated in County
Offaly, Ireland on the River Shannon south of
Clonmacnoise was founded in 544 by
St. Ciarán, a young man from Rathcroghan, Co.
Roscommon. Below is one of the high crosses
that dot the area.
One of two round towers at the
monastery. Their front doors were pretty high
so as to keep undesirables out.
A view of a high cross through the
On the way back from the Monastery
- The old Fort. This is next to the Shannon
Sometimes black faced sheep can be
an issue on small country lanes however this time we
have discovered a cow that has escaped from her
paddock. We all jumped out the car to help a
cousin of Yvonne's. Yvonne and Patrick have heaps of
relatives that live in very close proximity to each
other. No sooner we got the cow back into its
paddock it escaped through the side fence again!
Dinner with Yvonne and Patrick. A lovely Lebanese restaurant in Athlone that Yvonne had always wanted to go to. I am so happy we could share this special evening with Yvonne and Patrick.
And now .......what better way to round off the evening - the oldest pub in Ireland. c. 900 AD. Once you get inside it is very narrow and the ceiling is extremely low. It is a very popular pub. We had a couple of drinks and a good laugh and made our way home about 11.30ish. For more information on Seans Bar go to http://www.seansbar.ie/home
Seans Bar is located in Athlone,
on the banks of the River Shannon. Between the river
Shannons and the Esker Riada is the ancient route
carved by glaciers that gave safe access to
travellers across the bog for thousands of years.
Sunday 18 September - Ballydangan (near Athlone)
Today we are looking forward to
visiting Athlone Castle.
It's a little bit drizzly today
but not enough to dampen our spirits.
View of the entrance below.
Tonight we went to see Hazel play
in a game called Camogie (the female version of
Hurling). Interesting game. A very hard
game to score in if you are not too skilled in
Game was due to start at
6pm. About 200 people gathered for it.
Teams were out warming up. Streamers were
flying. 6:00 goes past... then 6.10...
6:30.... and the game finally started at about
6:40. It seems the referee did not show
up! David shook his head at such a
thing! This was an under 12 team and they were
having a bit of a hard trot because the other team
was quite skilled and played the game rather hard.
Anyway, the game started - and the
girls were dropping everywhere. Final score 2 goals
to 1 point.