Ardamore Stone Row, Kerry, Ireland

Visions Of The Past

Ardamore Stone Row is located on a west facing slope with beautiful views over the Lispole Valley and the Blasket Islands. The alignment is orientated on the setting sun at the Winter Solstice. The row consists of three stones 7.5 metres apart. The tallest stone is at the North-east end of the row and measures 3metres in height. A decorated standing stone stands 60 metres to the North-east of the Stone Row.

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Cahergal Stone Fort, Kerry, Ireland

Visions Of The Past

Cahergal Stone Fort is a 7th century cashel which stands close to a similar fort named Leacanabuaile near Cahersiveen in Co. Kerry. The named Cahergal is derived from ‘an Chathair Gheal’ (the Bright Stone Fort). Its an impressive dry-walled stone structure with seven staircases ascending its inner walls, similiar to the ones at Staigue Fort and Grianan na Aileach. The intereior of the fort is 27 metres in diameter with walls reaching 4 metres in height and 5 metres in thickness. Within the interior of the fort is the base of a circular beehive-hut type structure about 7 metres in diameter.

Cahergal features in a traditional tale recounted by Sigerson Clifford in 1972 titled ‘The Fairy Footballers of Cahergal’, in this story it tells of how the fairy football team from Cahergal lost a player and recruit a mortal named Coneen Dannihy to play for their side in a game…

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Kilmalkedar Church, Kerry, Ireland

Visions Of The Past

Kilmalkedar is an early monastic site situated on the Dingle Peninsula and is associated with Saint Maolcethair, a local saint who died in 636, however the Hiberno-Romanesque church ruins that still stand date from the 12th century. The church consists of a nave and chancel joined by a beautiful Romanesque doorway, the decoration on the interior of the church depicts images of animals. Inside the church next to the chancel arch stands ‘The Alphabet Stone’ which dates from the 6th century. This stone is decorated with a Latin cross with scrolled terminals and also the Latin alphabet.

Situated outside the church on the pathway that leads through the graveyard stands a wonderful holed Ogham stone measuring 2 metres in height. Across from this stands a pillar stone known as ‘The Sundial’, its shape is unusual, having a rectangular shaft and a semi-circular head. The north west face of the Sundial…

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Killagha Abbey, Kerry,Ireland

Visions Of The Past

Killagha Abbey, also known as ‘Kilcolman’ or ‘Killagha Abbey of Our Lady of Bello Loco’ is a 13th century ruined Augustinian Abbey and former manor house in Co. Kerry, on the banks of the River Maine. The abbey was founded in 1216 on the site of an earlier monastery erected by St. Colman, hence the name Kilcolman Abbey. The abbey was founded by Geoffrey de Marisco, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland and an Anglo-Norman who had received large tracts of land in Munster from King John. Killagha Abbey was a very wealthy institution, paying the third highest rate of tax in the Diocese of Ardfert in 1302. The Prior of Killagha held a lot of power in the local area and was also a member of the Irish House of Lords. Part of Killagha’s wealth must have been due to its position as a important pilgrim site and it was…

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Aghadoe Cathedral and Round Tower, Kerry, Ireland

Visions Of The Past

Aghadoe Cathedral is situated on a beautiful clearing overlooking the lakes of Killarney, with the abbey of Innisfallen island visible below. Aghadoe was once known as ‘Acha Dá Eo’, in old Irish, meaning “The field of the two yew trees”. There is evidence that Aghadoe is built on a pre-Christian site and was later linked to the 5th century missionary St Abban. Two 7th century Ogham stones and a bullaun stone are the first evidence of Aghadoe as an important religious site. One of these Ogham stones, cemented in the south wall bears the inscription “BRRAUNANN”, which may relate to St Brendan, the other is now sadly missing. The bullaun stone is found outside the church and may have been used originally as a quern-stone, in time it became a holy water font, local folklore suggests rainwater that fell into it had healing properties.

Chiefly Aghadoe is associated with St…

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Beersel Castle, Belgium

Visions Of The Past

Beersel Castle is certainly one of the most awe-inspiring and beautiful castles I have been fortunate to visit. The castle is only open a few hours each day from March to November and the visitor numbers are pretty low, which of course led to a wonderful trip! I cycled out from the city centre of Brussels to reach Beersel, and was delighted google maps took me on the old cobbled road that would once have been the main thoroughfare to the castle, but now is a unfrequented country lane passing through cornfields and woods. Its hard to convey the feelings I had wandering around Beersel its just so fantastic, however the dungeon in the basement that remains in the castle proved a nice juxtaposition to the beauty of the turrets and towers. In the dungeon hooks still hang from the ceiling, a X shaped torture rack is the centrepiece of…

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Halle Gate, Belgium

Visions Of The Past

Halle Gate in Brussels was built in 1381 and served as part of the city’s second set of defences. This 14th century tower is the only remaining gateway of the seven that once stood dotting the defensive walls. The original gate included a portcullis and a drawbridge over a moat. After the other six gateways and walls were demolished Halle Gate remained in use at first as a prison, though later it functioned as a custom house, a grain storage and at one stage as a Lutheran Church. In 1847 it became part of the Belgium’s Museum of Armour, Antiquity and Ethnology. The tower was restored and altered by the architect Henri Beyaert between 1868 and 1870. Beyaert added romantic Neo-Gothic details, the turrets, and the conical roof thus changing the relatively unadorned Medieval tower. An immense spiral staircase runs from the ground floor to the top of the tower…

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