Saturday, 21 September 2019

The Book of Leinster

I passed Oughaval on a cycle this week. The ruined Church at Oughaval once housed the Book of Leinster for many centuries. 
To find Oughaval head out of Stradbally village in Laois along the N80 and up to the Windy Gap, it is on the right hand side as you head uphill on a bend in the road and easily seen.

Oughaval, Book of Leinster

The Church itself is a wonderful building with crenellations which make it look quite Castle like. It dates from the 15th and 18th centuries and is on the site of a previous 6th century monastery.

Oughaval, Book of Leinster

The Book of Leinster originally known as Lebar na Núachongbála is a 12th century manuscript which is a compendium of history, mythology and martryology. It is now housed in Trinity College Dublin.

Oughaval, Book of Leinster

This area is awash with history and sites of interest so it's well worth visiting on a cycle.

Oughaval, Book of Leinster


Monday, 9 September 2019

Ballycoolan Cairn

Today I cycled past Stradbally and down the N80 before heading for Ballycoolan in search of what is listed on the Record of Monuments and Places as "Cairn Unclassified".

Ballycoolan Cairn Laois

Why this Cairn is unclassified I have no idea so I'll guess that no archaeological investigation has taken place. If that's the case this is a shame.

Ballycoolan Cairn Laois

It's a bit difficult to reach this Cairn but the views of the surrounding countryside are outstanding on a clear day. I hid the bike in some scrub and put on a pair of runners before searching for it.

Ballycoolan Cairn Laois

 Today I could clearly see Mount Leinster looming in the distant Blackstairs mountains and The Wicklow and Dublin mountains seemed just a stones throw away.

Ballycoolan Cairn Laois

Laois has very little by way of Megalithic structures so I have no idea why more investigation is not done on structures such as the probable Cist at Manger or this Cairn at Ballycoolan. I can only presume it is either a lack of resources or a lack of appreciation for these places and their intrinsic historic and heritage value.

Ballycoolan Cairn Laois

The Cairn here at Ballycoolan has a couple of depressions in it which would seem to suggest that underneath it there was at some stage a hollow area, suggestive of a burial chamber or chambers. These depressions lead me to believe that the Cairn is not contemporary and dates to pre history, that's my uneducated 2 cents worth.

Ballycoolan Cairn Laois

These pictures don't do the site justice and standing beside the Cairn it is easier to get a picture of what exactly it may have represented. There is no logical reason for the depressions on the Cairn other than the stones collapsing into a buried hollow in the Cairn itself.

Keep the wheels Turning.

Vicarstown

I got a short spin in yesterday through Stradbally, over the Windy Gap and back home through Vicarstown in Laois.

Vicarstown Laois 
 You can hire Barges to travel along the Canal at Vicarstown and there's also a local spot hiring bicycles, no idea who runs it but it's a great idea.

Vicarstown Laois

There's lots of safe cycling along the Tow Paths which run alongside the Canal and it's a very picturesque area with Fisherstown quite close as well.

 Vicarstown in Laois, Ireland

If you're ever in the area check it out.

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

Nenagh

A short visit to Nenagh today to take in a few sights in the area. Nenagh, a Market town in North Tipperary, is often overlooked as a place to visit which is a bit of a shame considering its rich heritage and history.

Nenagh

Among some of the things to see or visit here are Nenagh Castle which is free entry and has a beautiful view from the top and Nenagh Gaol which is also free entry and which is home to an intriguing Heritage Centre housing a wealth of artifacts from bygone times. It is staggering the amount of history told here through it's various collections, a true hidden gem.

Nenagh

The guide here was called Gerry and we got a free tour of the Gatehouse where prisoners were kept prior to execution. This chap has a wealth of knowledge and is both entertaining and informative and you could really appreciate he enjoyed sharing his knowledge of the area.

The few pictures posted here show just a tiny fraction from the Heritage Centre/Gaol. The Execution platform and Noose certainly bring home the horror's awaiting the condemned as does the condemned men's tiny exercise yard. 

Nenagh

The Franciscan Friary in Nenagh is somewhat nondescript but worth visiting as it sits right in the heart of town.

Nenagh

Nenagh Courthouse is an imposing building with its grand Ionic style columns and it has some thoughtfully designed statues on the grounds of Irish Olympic Champions from times of old.

Nenagh

Not far from Nenagh are the Silvermine Mountains and if you like scenic cycling combined with a steep hill climb (I do) there's no better choice of climb than Keepers Hill just beside Silvermine's village, a guaranteed burn for the legs......

Nenagh

Nenagh

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