Saturday, 27 April 2019

Lea Castle, Portarlington.

I've been doing most of my recent cycling on the TCR so I've not stopped for Photo's recently.
Lea Castle, Portarlington.

Last week on a gentle recovery spin I stopped at the ruins of Lea Castle in Portarlington.

Lea Castle, Portarlington.

There has been a group formed to try to save this beautiful antiquity for future generations so hopefully things work out well for them. 
Lea Castle, Portarlington.

It would be nice to think it could be saved for future generations. I also passed a brightly painted old style Water Pump at Lea. These old pumps are a nice sight at the roadside in our towns and villages.

Lea Castle

Lea, Portarlington, Old Water Pump.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Saint Ciaran's Well, Shannonbridge, then home.

Yesterday was a 200 Km spin over the Slieve Bloom mountains and a wander around Offaly and past Clonmacnoise and Shannonbridge before returning home.

The weather was atrocious and I even got a sprinkling of Snow as I headed over the mountains. Below is a ruin near a Towerhouse in Offaly.

Hail, sleet, snow, rain, wind, mist, cold, and wet........... but apart from that the weather was great !
I stopped a few times to take some quick snaps but each time I regretted stopping as I quickly froze up from the wind and cold.

I liked the look of the fresh machine harvested Peat lying at the side of the road and couldn't resist taking a picture.

I didn't go into Clonmacnoise, it was too cold to bother but I did stop at a place about 600 or 700 meters further along the road to Shannonbridge. Here on my right I spotted a galvanised pedestrian gateway which I had never noticed before despite passing at least a dozen times !

It turned out to be the entrance to Saint Ciaran's Well. It is an ancient spot on a pilgrim trail and little known. There were several carved slabs around the well with intricate and interesting carvings.

It's reputed that a leper wanted to sit beneath a tree here and asked a man to pull up some reeds for him to sit on. When the reeds were pulled water sprouted into the hole that was left and this is now Saint Ciaran's Well.

On my way home I passed Clonony Castle in Offaly (not far from Belmont) and an old pretty Green Water Pump.

Then it was home for some greatly appreciated warm food......

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Henry Grattan - Moyanna Laois (Moyanna Spin Today).

Depending upon your particular viewpoint Henry Grattan (1746 - 1820), Member of the Irish House of Commons/Irish Parliament was either a staunch Irish Patriot dedicated to some form of Irish Independence or merely a man dedicated to increasing control in Ireland for the Ascendancy class by gaining independent status for the Irish Parliament, with powers of legislation independent of the British Parliament and with a franchise limited to those of wealth or property.

It is more than likely he was neither but a mixture of both and as time progressed he no doubt changed his outlook and position. 

A sign of wisdom is the ability to change your stance over time as your insight or available information dictates. In his time Grattan was an advocate of Catholic emancipation.

Irrespective of views there is a nice statue of the statesman opposite Trinity College and several memorials in Dublin. 

A bridge over the River Liffey is also named after him as is at least one Dublin street. Pictured below are the Sea Horses on Grattan Bridge in Dublin.

Grattan Bridge

Strangely enough Henry Grattan is more closely associated with Moyanna in Laois where he purchased an Estate and wished to be buried. 

He is actually buried in Westminster Abbey. Having cycled the Moyanna area several times I have recollection of seeing neither signage nor statue dedicated to the memory of Henry Grattan, a real shame.

I believe the markings above the entrance arch to Moyanna Cemetery (pictured above) are the Grattan Coat of Arms but I don't know how true this is. There is a road in Portlaoise named after him and an Aquaduct just outside Vicarstown.

Below is the Slab marking the spot where Henry Grattan is buried at Westminster Abbey. A member of Staff kindly located it for me. It lay hidden, unseen beneath a floor rug. Photographs are generally not allowed inside the Abbey but they kindly made an exception.

Henry Grattan Resting Place

Westminister Abbey.

Westminister Abbey

The Board of First Fruit.

Today I cycled through Moyanna and then on to "who knows where" when I came across a "Board of First Fruit" Church which was unmarked. It had a lovely Red door and Red Louvres. I had no idea as to exactly where I was but it was somewhere on backroads between Moyanna and Stradbally 
(I like to wander aimlessly on the bike).

The Church I presume is no longer holding regular services however it is very well kept and the grounds are being maintained from what I could see.

Interestingly I came across the final resting place of Shaun Fane De Salis who was killed in a flying accident near Limerick in 1962 according to the inscription on the Cross.
His full name was Henry John Aldworth Fane de Salis and he worked for the Bristol Aeroplane Company, engine division. More here : John Fane de Salis

There is a de Salis family association going back centuries in Limerick and the name can be found mentioned in an old ruined Church near Lough Gur.

Monicknew - A quick spin Yesterday over "The Cut" in the Slieve Blooms.

A short spin yesterday up to the Slieve Bloom Mountains and back.


Monicknew is a great place for a Picnic if you're in the area or passing.

The River runs under the bridge across from the Car Park and it's nice and tranquil in this little Riverside Glade.

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Saint Manchan, Boher, Liss, Ballycumber and Raheen Offaly.

This week has been a washout for Cycling, just two spins on the Turbo versus nearly 500 Kms last week. There's just no consistency but what can you do? Anyway I was off to Raheen today and Ballycumber and Boher to see The Shrine of Saint Manchan, a 7th century Saint.

The Shrine is a reliquary which contains some of the Saints bones. It is exquisite and a copy of it is in the National Museum of Archaeology in Dublin but thankfully the original is closer to home in Boher, Offaly.

There are also some beautiful windows from Harry Clark who was an internationally recognised craftsman of Stained Glass windows.


Anyway enough here as I will do a full page post on Boher, Saint Manchan and Raheen later.