Jenkinstown Forest park in County Kilkenny is one of my most loved Local places, the walks around the Forest here are amazing at anytime of the year but just now the leaves are starting to turn golden yellow and fall after a frost or period of high wind.
The Jenkinstown estate has a long history and the below image shows the castle that once stood here until at least the time this image was taken during 1930.
Part of the castle still stands and acts as a home for a local musician.
The park contains some great old buildings such as the round store house and animal shelter that these days offers a great place to read or shelter from a shower on a wet day.
Jenkinstown woodland park , County Kilkenny : Gallery
Recently we stayed at Coolieragh’s, Glengarriff, county cork , its a great location just west of Glengarriff.
The coast line is full of rocky coves that are perfect for taking a swim, we took molly our golden retriever down to the best of these many time during the week. She loves to swim and even though the water was cold we also took the opportunity many time as well.
A swim at Coolieragh’s, coves. Glengarriff, county cork
The boat to Skellig Michael
During the summer last year I finally achieved a long ambition, to visit Skellig Michael and the Skellig islands some 16 kilometres off the county Kerry coast line, Ireland.
These Islands are full of mystery and mythology from the distant past, a history that goes back to before the 8th and 9th century.
In my next post I will show lots of images taken on the island that show the walk from the landing point to the Pre-Monastic settlement at the very top, but here I just wanted to show the boat trip out to Skellig Michael itself.
There are many fishing towns around county kerry and west Cork that run boat trips out to the islands and we got our boat from the town of Portmagee on the ring of kerry.
You can see from the images below that there are about eight boats that do the daily trip out from Portmagee. There is only one trip a day, however the trip is very dependant on the weather and sea conditions , if the tide or swell of the water is to high then landing at the small quays on Skellig Michael is not possible, we were lucky on our day that both these needed conditions were perfect.
The trip out takes about an hour and we had some great company with us along the way with people from America and Canada along with us on the boat. This helped past the time very quickly and it was great to meet people who had a common interest in getting out to see the same location.
As you approach the Islands you pass the first of the two Skellig’s an Island that has only even been occupied by sea birds and almost every inch of the rocks here are covered in nesting birds. The sight and sound was just wonderful as we passed. Beyond here you have about another 20 mins before you can land on Skellig Michael itself, waiting your turn along with many other boats to land.
The trip is one of the most memorable boat journeys I have done, the views towards the Islands and back toward the Kerry coast line and the ring of Kerry are spectacular. You can see both these Islands from the coast line yet when you arrive and look back you feel very distant from the coast, the people who lived out here had a very remote existence considering the boats they used had no engines to speed up there journey.
The boat to Skellig Michael Gallery
Copper mining at Allihies
Mining at Allihies started here in 1812 by John Puxley, a local landlord, after the large quartz promontory to the left here was identified as copper bearing as can be seen by its bright Malachite staining. Dooneen
Initial mining began with a tunnel or adit driven into this quartz lode from the pebble beach below. In 1821 two shafts were sunk as can be seen either side of the road here. Flooding was a continuous problem and in 1823 the engine house was erected to house a steam engine brought over from Cornwall to pump water from the depths. The remains of this building with the base of the chimney can be seen across the road. There is also evidence of a steam powered stamp engine to the left of the chimney and dressing floors in front of the engine house. The high dam further inland is the remaining evidence of a water reservoir which stored the water that was pumped out from the bottom of the mine. It was used for the steam engines and needed to separate the copper from rock. All the rubble on the cliff at the sea side of the road is the crushed useless quartz rock left over after the copper ore was extracted.
This is one of six productive mines in the Allihies area and continued its operation until 1838 when it closed due to failing ore.
John Puxley died in 1860 and in 1868 his son Henry Puxley sold the mines to the new Berehaven Mining Company who reopened the mine and installed a new 22 inch steam engine in 1872. Little ore was produced though in this period and the mine was finally abandoned in 1878.
Coom Mine Mianach Chúim
Coom Mine was the last mine to be opened in the Allihies area having been opened in 1870 by the new Berehaven Mining Company who had recently bought the mines from Henry Puxley in 1868.
Two shafts were sunk and the engine house erected to house a 28 inch cylinder steam engine. The site was known as Bewley’s after the Dublin family who were board members of the Berehaven Mining Company.
The working in the mines was dangerous. A Mine Captain reports:
“On the 13 inst. we had a man killed by falling out of the whim bucket in the whim shaft (winding shaft), he fell 72 feet and was killed immediately. … The whim bucket was coming up and he was rather late to get into it, when he laid hold of the edge of it with his fingers and was drawn up nearly to the top in that manner but was obliged to let go at last and fell to the bottom of the shaft. … He was a very able young man – this day we intended to carry him across the mountain to Castletown a distance of 7 miles to have him interred but the weather is so bad with a fall of sleet and snow that it was not possible. … We hope to do the last for him tomorrow.”
In 1917 a further attempt to extract ore was made by Allihies Copper Mines Ltd. which proved fruitless.
Coom Mine proved not to be a very productive mine. It had only produced 70 or 80 tons of ore when it closed in 1882.
A sense of place, Dunkineely, county Donegal
A little time back we stayed in a small cottage just above the beach at Bruckless, County Donegal, for a couple of weeks. For many county Donegal is one of the most scenic locations in Ireland and this location was a really peaceful and Beautiful place.
Even though this is a very remote area, it has plenty of things going on and has lots of things to see, from Old castles to lighthouses, wind farms too fishing villages and pub with live music.
I very much hope that the images I am posting here get across a sense of this location, It’s a wonderful spot to stay and one of the best holiday you could spend in Ireland.
Bruckless,Dunkineely, County Donegal, Gallery
Mullins Mill, Kells, country kilkenny
One feature of the landscape around county kilkenny is it’s old mills, the main river flowing through the county is the river Nore , the county however also has many smaller rivers, including the Kings river that flows from the Slieveardagh Hills in South Tipperary to the river Nore at stoneyford.
Along many of the rivers in county kilkenny you will find the remains of a once thriving milling industry that has long since stop any production, Most of these building however still stand today and some have been very well perserved.
Mullins Mill (Pictured here) in the town of Kells, has to be one of the best such example
Molly our ten year old Golden Retriever has been swimming in the sea all over Ireland, she has loved the water since she was about one year old.
We have been on holiday with her during this ten years to just about every coastal county in Ireland. The beaches being our favourite places to visit. One of the most memorable beaches was Malin beg, in county Donegal.
We stayed here for an afternoon about three years ago and we all went for a swim in the warm waters.
If you get to visit Donegal, I would highly recommend this beach as a must visit location.
Kilcooley Abbey, County Tipperary
Kilcooley Abbey is a Cistercian Abbey close to the Village of Gortnahoe,in Co Tipperary, located within the grounds of the Kilcooley Estate. This abbey dates from 1182 when Donal Mor O’ Brien granted lands to the Cistercians, to build an abbey here. The abbey which is a sister house to both Jerpoint Abbey and Holy Cross Abbey, is considered to be a hidden gem,tucked away in this remote corner of Co. Tipperary. The Abbey is found inside a walled estate.
The main part of the abbey consists of the Entrance Chamber, the Church, the Tower and the Sacristy. The Entrance Chamber has a well carved baptismal font on its south wall. The nave of the church is still roofed but the rest of it is out in the open. The church has two large carved windows on its east and west side. The chancel contains two stone tombs and a stone altar. One of these tombs is that of the knight Piers Fitz Oge Butler. His tomb records his death as taking place in 1526 and has some beautiful carvings of 10 apostles on the side of it carved by Rory O Tunney who is also noted for his work in Jerpoint Abbey. On top of Butler tomb there is the effigy of a knight with a dog curled up at his feet. The knight though hasn’t fared well through the years and most of his face has been chipped off. The Sacristy is entered through a magnificent carved archway which has many carvings such as a scene depicting the crucifixion and more bizarrely a mermaid holding a mirror which was meant to depict vanity. Roger Stalley suspects this screen wall may represent the entrance to a private Butler chapel, as two Butler shields are depicted. The east end of the nave is notable, because seats for the officiating clergy have been carved into the crossing piers. The work here is very fine, but does not have the sculptural finesse of nearby Holycross Abbey.
Outside the abbey there is also a beehive shaped ruin. It isn’t known whether this was used as a Columbarium to store ashes or a dove-cote for pigeons. But most probably it was a dove-cote since there is a 3-foot (0.91 m) wide hole in the ceiling from which they would have entered and left. Also outside the abbey is the Infirmary which is still in a fairly good condition although access to the roof of it is blocked.
The Cloisters of the abbey are long gone with only one column still remaining. The path of the cloisters though still remains with a pebbled walkway around the grass square. The centre even has a large tree growing in it. Beside the Cloisters the Parlour and Chapter House are still there. Also the Calefactory (Warming room) still remains but without a roof. And on the south side of the Cloisters the Monks Dining Hall still stands. The dining hall although it has no roof still has a spiral staircase but this sadly has been barred up because of an ever increasing Irish-to-American(sue-happy)society. You’ll also find all the second floor rooms such as the Monks Dorms and the Main Tower locked up by a certain Office of Public Works and for some reason the Parlour, Chapter House and Calefactory are also barred. But don’t let this deter you from visiting one of the most comprehensive abbeys in Ireland.
Kilcooly Abbey was also used in the making of the film by John Boorman “Excalibur” based on the tale of King Arthur and the knights of the round table. There is an interesting pyramid structure on the grounds of the abbey.
Images from the Road, west Cork