Wednesday 30 October
A two-storey house near Durrow, Co.Laois (S418768) was viewed from a distance. There are two projections on the west front, one is square with a gable and the other is a three-sided bow. The lower windows have square hood-moulds and there is a doorway in the west wall near the north corner. The building is roofless with a series of multiple chimney stacks (possibly 12 fireplaces). The mullioned and transomed windows are in the Tudor style but the building may be Victorian.
Ballyragget Castle, Co.Kilkenny (S447707) was viewed from the outside. It is a large tower-house complete with crenellations and surrounded by a substantial bawn. The bawn has round flanking towers and possible crenellations although the curtain wall is ragged. There is a machicolation in the middle of the south wall and the south-west corner tower has been turned into a shrine to the Blessed Virgin. Several slopstones are visible in the tower-house which is roofed. The doorway in the west wall is protected by a machicolation.
The church at Freshford (S406648) has a four-order Romanesque doorway surmounted by a triangular hood and above this is a circular Romanesque window with chevron decoration. The outer order is carried on double columns the capitals of which are a series of carved heads, both human and animal. The arch has key-type decoration. The middle two orders have chevron decoration and the inner arch is plain with an inscription. On the inner faces of the inclined jambs are recesses which may have contained carvings (two figures are still in place). The pump in the middle of the green now has a single large wheel with a handle on the other side. It was erected by Thomas Eyre of Uppercourt in 1878 and made by Power & Sons, Engineers, Kilkenny.
Ballylarkin Church (S387637) is small and almost square. There is a triple sedilia in the south wall. It is very plain with some fragments of carving at the east end. Above the sedilia is a pierced stone projecting from the wall. There is a similar stone in the north wall. Along the top of the north and south walls is a series of corbel-stones with carving similar to window tracery. Beside the sedilia is a piscina with a quatrefoil basin. There is an ambry beside the east window and the doorway is in the north wall. A pile of rubble and some marks on the wall indicate that there was a building attached to the west end of the church.
Tubbrid Castle (S353624) stands to full height. The doorway in the south wall is protected by a machicolation at roof level and by a very good murder-hole. The castle is vaulted above the ground floor. A mural stairway rises to the right of the doorway and within the east wall to above the vault. The floor above the vault has two two-light windows, a single-light window and a fireplace. All the windows have good window-seats. A passage in the east wall leads to a garderobe in the north-east corner. The stairway rises again in the south and east walls to above the second vault where the windows again have good seats and there is a fireplace. There is another garderobe in the north-east corner at this level. The stairway continues in the east wall to roof level where the allure is ragged and unprotected. A round castle was noted in passing at Balief Cross Roads (S322636).
At Glanworth, Co.Cork (R757041) the mill below the castle is being restored. It is a two-storey building six bays long with a double gable. The magnificent undershot wheel with wooden paddles is about 4.5m diameter by 2m wide. Downstream is an excellent twelve arch bridge. Glanworth Castle is very large with circular flanking towers. The square keep is gutted but there is evidence that it had an interior dividing wall. There is a tall tower near one edge with a double latrine exit. The tower is vaulted above the first floor and appears to have been a large rectangular structure with a slim projection on the west side.
The castle at Castletownroche (R685023) was viewed from the outside. It is about five storeys high and is attached to a more modern castellated building which is now a hotel. There are good crenellations and some two-light windows at the upper levels.
Thursday 31 October
At Halfway (W605614) there is a very fine three-arch stone railway viaduct spanning a deep narrow valley. Across the road beside the pub are three milling/grinding machines and behind the pub may be seen a collection of agricultural machinery but this was not closely inspected.
The castle near Ringaskiddy (W773638) is a rectangular building running E-W with a fireplace projection in the north wall and an oven in the west wall. Running north from the east end of the castle is a two-storey house, possibly more modern. At the west end of the older building are the remains of a tower, possibly three storeys high. Other small buildings form a small courtyard and the whole is set on the edge of a rocky outcrop. There is a good base batter.
From Ringaskiddy may be seen a number of fortifications which guard the entrance to Cork Harbour. There is a martello tower on the mainland (W790640) and a large fort on Spike Island (W804645). On the other side of the harbour entrance is another fort (W820625) Another castle was noted in passing (W740627). There are remains of several buildings on top of a high rocky outcrop.
At Belgooly (W666540) is the shell of a very large mill. It is at least six storeys high with a 7th in the attic, six bays long and six bays deep. One wall is completely removed and the interior was not investigated.
Mount Long Castle (W676511) is a rectangular building with four square corner towers. Each tower had four gables and the central portion also had four gables. Most of the west side of the house is now missing. The doorway is in the east wall and a lintel lying in the rubble indicates a possible west doorway. The interior is gutted. The main house was three storeys high with a fourth storey in the flanking towers. There are many mullioned and transomed windows with some small single-light windows at the ground floor with musket loops below them. Each level is marked by a string course on the outside and the windows have good square hood-moulds.
Charles Fort (W655404) is still undergoing slow restoration. This massive fort is filled with ruined buildings which show continuous occupation for over a century. Some of these have been re-roofed and used for display purposes. The magazine is currently being restored. It is a small rectangular building guarded by a stout wall with many defensive slits. It is situated beside a massive blast wall which divides the fort in two. The governor's house is a large 18th century dwelling which shows evidence of being used later as a general barracks. Charles Fort is an irregular star with massive bastions, many gun-ports and small sentry-turrets. It is surrounded by a deep, wide ditch and the entrance pathway has a sharp chicane to prevent a frontal assault.
Timoleague Franciscan Friary (W472436) has a tall slim tower. The cloister-arcade to the north of the church originally had three three-light openings on each side. Only fragments remain. The church has a south aisle and the south transept has a west aisle. There are remains of tomb-niches and piscinas but very little decorated stones. To the east and north of the cloister are many buildings mostly two storeys high and some with basements. There is a very good bullaun-stone.
Friday 1 November
Blarney Castle (W606750) is a massive tower sitting on a rock at the base of which is a series of tunnels. Also on the rock is a small detached round turret and a smaller one a short distance away. There are also traces of a curtain wall around the top of the rock. The castle is about seven storeys high and has a machicolis around three sides. Within this is the famous Blarney Stone. There is a small projecting turret at the north-east corner of the main block. This has a bartizan. There is a good oriel window in the north wall at the first floor. The entrance in the east wall is guarded by a large murder-hole. To the left is a large guard chamber and a short passage to the right leads to a spiral stairway. The castle is vaulted above the first floor where there is also a very fine fireplace. There are good wicker marks in the vault. The castle has very thick walls which contain many passages and chambers, particularly in the north and west. There is also a second spiral stairway in the north wall. Both stairways rise to roof level where there is a very good allure.
Mallow Castle (W563983) is a rectangular house running approximately E-W, with a four-sided projection in the middle of the north and south walls. There are five-sided projections at the north-east and north-west corners. The house has very many mullioned and transomed windows as well as some small musket loops. The doorway is in the east face of the north projection. There are a number of fireplaces, some within the projecting towers. The house is three storeys high and there seems to have been a stairway within the north-east tower.
The Clock House in Mallow is a stone building with a glazed/timbered front. The entrance is at the base of an attached tower which has a clock at the top. The building is three storeys high plus attic.
Ballybeg Augustinian Priory (R542078) has the remains of a rectangular church with a tower at the west end. This appears to be a later insertion since it intrudes on the space occupied by the west windows. The holes for the bell-ropes which pass through the tower crossing are decorated with hairy masks. Very little of the rest of the church remains but there are some good stone coffins near the east end. The site of the cloister to the south of the church is quite clear and there are some fragments of buildings here. To the west is a strong residential tower and at a greater distance to the north is a much smaller tower. A short distance to the southeast is a round tower about two storeys high. It contains a magnificent domed dovecote with over 300 roosts. A fragment of wall projects from the upper level indicating a former connecting wall to the church or possibly an external stairway.
The Franciscan Friary at Buttevant (R545090) is very ruinous. The remains consist of a long rectangular church with a south transept which has an east chapel. The site of the cloister is not visible but a collection of carved stones now preserved in the north wall of the church shows that a cloister existed. The church sits on the edge of a steep hill and there is a double crypt below the chancel.
Liscarroll Castle (R452125) is undergoing some repair at present. It consists of a huge rectangular bawn with circular corner flanking towers three of which are almost complete. In the middle of the west wall is a large rectangular gatehouse which rises to twice the height of the curtain wall. The interior could not be inspected at this time. There is evidence of the former existence of a portcullis. In the middle of the east wall is a smaller square tower. The wall walk is in good condition although the outer parapet is not very high.
Kanturk Castle (R383018) is a large rectangular building with four massive square corner towers. The main building is four storeys and the flankers have five storeys. The building has an ornate west doorway at first floor level and an east doorway at ground level. There may have been another doorway in the west beneath the main doorway. The kitchen was on the ground floor at the back where there is a large fireplace beside an oven. There are a number of fireplaces in the main building and in three of the flanking towers. The north-east flanker seems to have contained the stairway since there are no fireplaces here. The main building is five bays long and two bays deep and all the flankers have one bay. There are many three and four-light mullioned windows, some with transoms and all with good hood-moulds. At the ground floor there are smaller windows some of which have defensive loops below them. There is a string course outlining each level on the outside and the corbels for a machicolis are in place, although the castle was never finished. The main doorway is round-headed and flanked by two columns with scroll capitals. The back door has some barley sugar twist decoration.
Drishane Castle (W283919) has a large square ground floor room with two windows set within deep recesses. A good spiral stairway rises in the southeast corner to another large room at first floor. A passage along the east wall leads to a garderobe. There is another large room at second floor and a vault above with good wicker marks. Another short passage in the east wall leads to a second garderobe. The stair rises to above the vault where there is another large room leading off a short passage. The stair now rises in the north-east corner to roof level where there are very good crenellations and allure. There is a small turret in the NE corner. A small detached round tower stands near the SE corner of the castle.
Saturday 2 November
Ross Castle (V950885) is still undergoing restoration. It is a large rectangular tower running approximately N-S. Across the front is part of a bawn wall which still has two round flanking towers. The main castle seems to be lit throughout by single-light windows and there are some corner slits. There are traces of a bartizan at the north-east corner. At the southeast are remains of a substantial defensive wall probably of 18th century date.
Muckross Franciscan Friary (V975870) has a south transept which has a fine three-light traceried south window and two two-light east windows. There is a very fine tower with ribbed vaulting and the chancel has a four-light traceried east window. In the south wall are three windows and most of the windows are set within recesses. There are a number of tomb niches with little decoration. The sacristy opens to the north of the chancel. It is two-storey with a fireplace in the upper room. The cloister to the north of the church is very complete. The north and west sides of the cloister arcade have five arches and the other two sides have six arches each. The pillar between each pair of arches is buttressed on the inside. In the centre of the north arcade is an incised sundial and to the right of this is a small inscribed cross within a circle which may be a mason's mark. There are two-storey buildings on all sides of the cloister with fine vaulted rooms at ground floor and some fireplaces at the upper level. Access to the tower may be had from the top of the church wall. There are possibly three storeys above the tower crossing.
Blennerville Windmill (Q813129) has been fully restored and now forms part of a visitor's centre. It is a five-storey tower with the entrance at first floor where a stout entrance platform surrounds the mill. The mill cap and sails may be turned into the wind by turning a wheel by means of a chain. In the yard of the visitors' centre is a collection of farm implements. A short section of 3ft gauge railway has been constructed from Tralee to Blennerville over the route of the Tralee & Dingle Railway. Some coaches stored at Blennerville await restoration.
The cathedral and churches at Ardfert (Q785212) could not be viewed at this time owing to ongoing excavations. At Ardfert Franciscan Friary (Q791212) fragments of the cloister arcade remain to the north of the church.
Each side of the arcade appears to have consisted of four groups of three arches. There is a long rectangular church with a tower at the west end and a south transept. The east window has a group of five lancets and there are nine lancets in the south wall. A fine trapezoidal coffin lid lies within the chancel. It has a good floreated cross with a twisted stem. The nave has a south aisle with a three arch arcade and the transept has a similar west aisle. The west tower is vaulted above the first floor. An external stairway leads to above the vault. There is a guard-room to the right of the entrance and a spiral stairway to the left leads to the top of the north wall of the church. The small room ahead is lit by a west window and has a small chamber in the NW corner. The window has seats. Beyond the room a short stairway leads to the top of the south church wall. Another stairway leads to above the second vault where the room has two windows with very good seats, as has the room above this. A spiral stairway rises to roof level in the NW corner. There is very little decorated stone apart from a broken mask in the cloister and a winged head on the outside west wall of the tower. The windows of the transept have floreated label stops.
Sunday 3 November
The mill at Bruree (R550305) has now been restored. The wheel is about 8m diameter and 2-3m wide. It was made by the Vulcan Foundry. It is an all metal wheel with light metal spokes. The mill is four storeys high by four bays long and two bays deep. The castle beside the old church on the other side of the road is very ruinous and ivy-covered. It appears to stand to full height although the SE corner is almost completely gone. The doorway seems to be in the north but is now completely obscured. There is possibly a vault above the third floor. The old church has a fine stone tower with a spire topped by a ball. The doorway is in the north wall of the tower and there are windows in the south wall of the church.
At Kilmallock, the Dominican Friary (R610279) has a large rectangular church with a central tower and a south transept. There is a five-light east window with banded mullions in the chancel. In the south wall are traces of a double piscina with quatrefoil basins. Beside this is a possible sedilia but only fragments remain. In the north wall is a large tomb-niche with some decoration including two masks and some traceried panels. In the south wall are six large windows. The transept has a five-light traceried window. There is a west aisle of two arches. Human heads flanked by arms support the arches of the aisle arcade. There are traces of a south aisle to the nave (possibly five arches). A decorative motif appearing in a number of places looks like a flower bud or a jingle-bell. The cloister is to the north of the church but only a small portion of the arcade is in place. There would appear to have been four two-light openings on each side of the cloister. There are two-storey buildings to the north and east of the cloister.
The Collegiate Church of SS Peter & Paul (R610278) has north and south aisles and the remains of a Round Tower at the NW corner. There is a good five-light east window and three two-light windows in the south wall of the chancel. The chancel seems to have been re-used since there is a wall with a brick porch dividing it from the rest of the church. In the south transept are a number of tomb fragments including a double effigy. There is also a very fine slab featuring a skeleton.
Around the corner from the church is Blossom's Gate, which is the only survivor of the town's four gates. It has two storeys above the arch. At the junction of Sheares Street and Sarsfield Street is King's Castle, a small tower-house now pierced by large Gothic openings.
At Lough Gur, in Grange townland (R633406), is a large stone circle surrounded by a massive bank. The entrance is in the east side and is flanked by two large stones and a stone-lined passage goes through the bank. The estimated diameter of the circle is 45m and the bank is about 10m wide. In the neighbouring field is a much smaller circle and some distance beyond this is a large standing stone. Across the road is a possible court-grave. Near the exhibition centre is Bourchier's Castle (R647411), a very fine tower-house standing to full height. It was not closely inspected. Some distance to the east of the castle is a small low cairn with a good kerb appearing as a stone circle and surrounding this is a large double circle enclosing a bank. A short distance to the SE is a small round cairn. Directly south in Carraig Aile are the remains of two cashels (R652407). They were not closely inspected. Just to the south of the lake (R648402) is a very fine wedge-tomb. It has a small antechamber and a large burial chamber roofed by five capstones. There is good double walling on both sides and it is about 9m long by 3.5m wide at the front. The antechamber is about lm square. The tomb is aligned approximately E-W.
Holy Cross Abbey (5058543) has been extensively restored. It is now used as the local parish church. The north arcade of the cloister is now intact as is the range of buildings on the west of the cloister. The church is fully in use and is a cruciform building with north and south aisles. There is very fine vaulting under the tower and a good reticulated east window. There is a very ornate triple sedilia in the south wall of the chancel. In the south transept is a structure known as the Monks' Waking Place. It is a decorated chest surmounted by a double row of columns supporting a vaulted roof. There are some fine piscinas with credence tables. On the pillars supporting the tower are many examples of masons' marks. Some of these are simply incised and others are in low relief. To the east of the abbey is a small ruined mill with a good undershot wheel.
Monday 4 November
The doorway of Ballynahow Castle (S083602) is guarded by a machicolation at roof level, a murder-hole leading from first floor and two musket loops. This round castle is the best example of a group of such tower-houses found mainly in Tipperary. All the windows at the bottom floor are set within deep recesses and are flanked by musket loops. There are large rooms at each level and small chambers within the walls.
Grangefertagh Round Tower (S308696) still has a small portion of its conical cap. The doorway is about 4m above ground level and is now blocked up. At the lower levels are some square-headed windows and at the higher levels are simple pointed windows. Near the Round Tower is the ruin of an old church which now forms part of a ball-alley. Within the church is a fine double-effigy tomb of a knight and his lady. The side panel of the tomb chest depicts window tracery and ribbed vaulting.
Timahoe Round Tower (S537902) stands to full height with a conical cap. It has a magnificent Romanesque doorway. It is richly decorated and appears to have a two-order arch on the outside and a two-order arch on the inside. There are the usual decorative motifs including human and animal masks, interlacing and chevrons. There is a large rectangular church ruin beside the Round Tower. The chancel arch is now blocked up but some decorated stones are visible here. In Timahoe village is a good wooden-clad pump.
The Grand Canal was viewed at Athy. There is a good lock, bridge and basin with warehousing possibly associated with the local maltings (S678938). Beside the lock is a small crane. The castle beside the river bridge (S684940) was noted in passing and there is another castle a short distance upstream (S680945).
The rath platform at Rathangan (N671197) is at least 60m diameter. It is saucer-shaped and quite high in places. It is surrounded by a deep, broad ditch but no outer bank. There is a good entrance causeway in the east.
A short distance to the south of Edenderry the Grand Canal crosses the roadway by the Blundell Aqueduct (N643312). The road passes through a long, low, narrow bridge. The canal is waisted at this point being about 4.5m wide and 1.4m deep.
Trim Castle (N803567) was visited. The keep is undergoing restoration and conservation. The castle has an extensive curtain wall with a number of round towers at intervals. There is also a large rectangular gatehouse with murder-holes and provision for a portcullis. The smaller round postern gate also had a portcullis and murder-holes. From the castle may be seen a fragment of the town wall and the Yellow Steeple.