Rock of Cashel
Our next road trip took us to the Rock of Cashel where we embarked on a nice uphill walk to the castle. Once at the beautiful old stone castle we enjoyed the stunning panoramic views down below overlooking the grass green pastoral grazing fields below. We also sighted what looked like an old ruined abbey.
We learned that the Rock of Cashel is one of Ireland’s most historical sites as this is where the Irish kings were all crowned from the 4th to 11th century.
We were keen to hike down to the abbey even though it was getting late and we still had a bit of driving still ahead of us.
We learned that the abbey below was called, Hore Abbey. It was originally run by the Benedictory Monks but the Monks were violently dispossessed of in 1272. Walking through this ruined abbey it oozes a feel of tranquility. We spotted an army of ravens who now guard the abbey grounds.
Just before dark we arrived at our new Airbnb stay half an hour from Cork in a rural town called Clonakilty. We were taken aback by the charm and character of this beautiful 300 year old cottage. It was called the Bothy. Which reflects its past history as it was once a barn that was used by farmers as they passed through the area with their cattle. Our hosts had spent a lot of time renovating it along with their adjacent stone home. Inside was beautifully furnished with well chosen antique furnishings. It had beautiful old ceilings beams and we loved the cushions and place mats made by a local artist.
The gardens were stunning and there were also their very lovable dogs. All 3 of them. We were so sad to hear that Ripley who always greeted us with something in his mouth – slippers or a huge woolly blanket ended up in surgery on our last day.
From here we enjoyed exploring the Irish Wild Atlantic Way. We found some great apple strudel to sample in the cute town of Clonakilty.
Rob stopped to take in the tranquil landscape on our drive in Rosscarbery. He was really sampling our first tasting of Irish potato chips. The Irish are known for growing and getting potatoes as back in history potatoes were the Irish staple food.
Drombeg Stone Circle
On our drive we discovered Drombeg Stone Circle which was a surprising find. We learned that stone circles were places of ritual and ceremony usually associated with burial.
It was found that the central pit contained a pottery vessel with the remains of a youth that was buried between 1100BC or as far back as 800BC.
Further on we found remains of a stone cooking area with fire pit, roasting oven, drainage, a well and an area which was used to grind grain.
Further on in the small village of Leap we took to the streets to explore the town’s waterfall and the many scary scarecrows that were decorating the houses for the annual Leap Halloween Scarecrow Festival. Rob even helped carry out a scary face!!!
We learnt that Halloween actually originated here in Ireland. The origin of Halloween comes from Ireland’s Celtic past. A festival called Samhain. The Celtic Autumn Festival. It was an important fire festival held on 31 October. It carried the notion of out with the old and in with the new. It marked the end of the pastoral cycle – a time when all crops would have been gathered and placed in storage for the long winter months ahead. Livestock would also have been brought in from the fields and some would have been selected for breeding whilst others slaughtered. It was also the last day year which aligned with the souls of the departed would return to colliding worlds. It was believed that shape shifters were at large. This is where the dark side of Halloween originated from. A little scary even as an adult I hope Irish children know that these spooky creatures are not real!!
We explored the busy town of Kinsale only to find more scary Halloween creatures all throughout the town.