Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Mass Rocks

I came across a website called Find a Mass Rock which reminded me that although I sometimes came across these antiquities I often overlooked them.

 

Below is pictured  Oughaval Mass Rock outside Stradbally in Laois, which I had just passed days earlier.

Mass Rock

It was then I realised that these places of interest which were all about evading the sanctions against freedom of worship imposed by the Penal Laws on Ireland and its inhabitants are probably much forgotten about.

Mass Rock

I'm no expert on the Penal Laws enacted in the 1600's however I do know they subjugated the population through harsh and extreme measures against practicing their religion, going to schools, property ownership, and a host of other things which today we take for granted.

Mass Rock

I recently passed a mock up of a "Hedge School" at Garrymona in Offaly and it struck me as to how difficult those times must have been for the ordinary inhabitants of Ireland.

Mass Rock

It is difficult to imagine the concept of going to school or a place of worship as being illegal.

I presume the abundance of Donkeys in Ireland was another example of the repressive laws of the time. It was illegal for a Catholic to own a Horse of good value so I guess the Irish stuck with Donkeys instead.

I imagine the ruling ascendancy feared large groups of natives on horseback or the idea that local Gaelic chiefs would be able to raise Mounted Militia's if they could own decent horses.

Mass Rock

The website Find a Mass Rock looks like a work in progress and struck me as a very good idea indeed, a way of recording the past before it disappears forever.

It's likely if you asked today what's a Mass Rock ? whats a Hedge School ? what were the Statutes of Kilkenny ? or describe the Penal Laws ? you might well get a blank look in a lot of instances...... all the more reason for documenting history while it is still around us and we can.

Keep the Wheels turning. 


Sunday, 13 October 2019

Things to see in Sligo

I've been on the indoor trainer this week not out and about cycling on the road. I ended up in County Sligo for a couple of days (without the bicycle) so rather than a full page of information I've just time to post a few photographs to whet the appetite for visiting beautiful Sligo in Ireland's North West.

Things to do in Sligo

From a Neolithic Stone Circle (remnants of a tomb) located in the most unlikely of places (a roundabout at Garravogue Villas) to the Labby Rock Portal Dolmen, Creevykeel Court Tomb or Knockrea Neolithic Cairn (Queen Maeve's Cairn).

From Carrowmore Neolithic Complex or W.B. Yeats resting place of Drumcliffe with it's High Cross and Round Tower remains to Holycross Dominican Abbey in the Town Centre, or from majestic Benbulben to Carrowkeel I'm barely scratching the surface......... 

Things to do in Sligo

It's a great place to visit with some outstanding Neolithic Sites and ancient Megaliths, some of the most important and impressive in Ireland.

Things to do in Sligo

Things to do in Sligo

The natural landscape of Sligo with it's mountains and valleys, and it's coastline on the Atlantic Ocean is wild and weather worn, sculpted throughout the millennia by time and nature.

Things to do in Sligo

Things to see in Sligo

Carrowkeel has few visitors and yet is home to around fourteen 6000 year old Passage Tombs many of which you can enter. Carrowmore is busier but easier to access.

The Labby Rock Portal Dolmen has a 70 ton Capstone and is located in a remote area behind the stunning Lough Arrow.

Creevykeel is a large Neolithic Court Tomb and in fact a comprehensive list of Neolithic sites and Megalithic structures in Sligo would be endless.

Things to see in Sligo

A huge number of impressive antiquities are scattered throughout Sligo waiting to be discovered by the visitor. Some of the more interesting or visually striking have to be sought out and lie well off the beaten track.
 
Things to see in Sligo

Things to see in Sligo

On the summit of Knocknarea any climb will be rewarded with outstanding views in every direction and the sight of Queen Maeve's Cairn, an impressively large Neolithic burial structure which although unopened is believed to be a large Passage Tomb.

Things to see in Sligo

Things to see in Sligo

Things to see in Sligo

Holycross Dominican Priory (Sligo Abbey) lies right in the heart of town and is well worth taking the time to explore.
Close by, the Abbeyquarter (Garravogue Villas) Stone Circle is very unusual just by virtue of it's location. Nearby is the old building of Sligo Gaol.

Things to see in Sligo

This is Yeat's country and his final resting place of Drumcliffe is home to a delightful little Church, High Cross, and the remnants of a Round Tower. While there and inside the Church I did notice that although there were many visitors not too many ventured inside the Church.

Do take the time to go inside if in the area, they are only too happy to encourage visitors. The Cheesecake in the Cafe here is outstanding and most of the foodstuffs looked like they were not mass produced which is commendable.

Things to see in Sligo

So that's my quick post on Sligo. I've not gone into too many specifics but half the pleasure in visiting anywhere is from finding out about it yourself and exploring hidden places off the well worn tracks.

Things to see in Sligo

Mind you, that's not to say the more well known attractions of Sligo are any less impressive but sometimes it's the peace and quiet that is an added draw to an area. Enjoy Sligo, I know I for sure did.

Knocknarea Sligo

Knocknarea Sligo

Knocknarea Sligo

Drumcliffe Sligo

A few pictures I've posted below are from Carrowkeel Neolithic Burial Complex. Alone as I wandered from Passage Tomb to Passage Tomb I was enchanted by this isolated neolithic wonderland, all the more so to have it to myself. Words cannot describe it's beauty.








Thursday, 3 October 2019

Saint Manchan

For various reasons I've not been cycling much this last few weeks so I decided to throw together a quick post linking to a page on Lemanaghan in Offaly.


It's a place I pass through sometimes and it's off the beaten track. It's full of history and nice and tranquil, well worth a visit. Check out the link above for more information.

Depending on spelling he is either Saint Manchan or Manchán and not to be confused with a Manchan associated with Leitrim.

There's a few pictures posted below but more information at the link posted above.

Saint Manchan

Saint Manchan

Saint Manchán

Saint Manchán

Saint Manchán

Saint Manchán