Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

They say everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day……and why not! It’s the launching pad for Spring, everything is green and who isn’t HAPPY on St. Patty’s Day! now if your fortunate enough to be of Irish decent you enjoy this day just a smidge more…….

For the past ten years I have been searching and documenting my family tree…..both sides of my family hail from Ireland & England….County Cork / Wales & London……I have recently found distant cousins still living in Cork and Wales and hope one day to meet them….after one hundred and twenty six years it will be a long HUG I’m sure! I”m told that Ireland is one of the most beautiful country’s you will ever see…….I long to visit the castles and hamlets that color this beautiful country….

Today I thought I would share with you some of those beautiful, mysterious faraway castles and their Irish Legends…..Are you ready? listen for the bagpipes in the distance….a mist is rising up over the moors…….and you can see a dim light coming from a tower….is that a Leprechaun that darted past us?……Lets go check it out……

Dunluce Castle in County Antrim

 

The limestone cliffs of the White Rocks ends abruptly against a dark basalt outcrop which is majestically crowned by the Dunluce Castle joined to the mainland by an arched walkway.  Underneath lies the Mermaid’s Cave with it’s legend of a lost soldier taken to the deep by a beautiful mermaid, other stories tell of smugglers and Spanish treasure being hauled from boats in the secrecy of the cave. 

 

Dunluce Castle is one of our heritage gems, its outline provides an iconic view of this part of the Causeway Coastal Route, one of the ‘must see’ views along the designated tourist drive. It is frequently quoted as being one of Ireland most romantic castle locations. The castle has seen many additions to its original structure over the centuries, it fell into disrepair after the last resident, Randall McDonnell, the second Earl of  Antrim moved to Ballymagarry House in the mid 1600s. In the 1745  Ballymagarry House was destroyed by fire and the seat of the Earl’s of Antrim  moved to its present location at Glenarm Castle. Close by is the ancient ruins of St. Cuthbert’s named after a Northumbrian monk, it is also the possible burying place of sailors and noblemen from the Spanish Armada.  On a clear day you can look over an expanse of ocean from here to Donegal and round to Islay, it was within this vista that the tragedy of the emigrant ship the  ‘Exmouth’ took place in April, 1857, bound for Quebec, she spent  three days in horrendous sea conditions before finally breaking up on rocks off Islay with the loss of 240 lives.

 

Birr Castle Demesne  Birr, Co. Offaly,  Ireland

Birr Castle in Ireland

Birr Castle was originally a seat of the O’Carrolls, who were outlawed in 1620. The gardens  are a real draw with one of the greatest displays of magnolia in the  country. Flowers aside, the massive telescope in the castle is its main  claim to fame – with the first telescope at Birr Castle built in 1825, and constantly rebuilt and improved upon by consecutive castle inhabitants, the telescope was the biggest in the  world until 1917.

Leap Castle in County Offaly

Over 400 years ago in what is now known as the “Bloody Chapel” a shocking  murder occurred. Leap Castle was then a stronghold of the O’Carroll family,  powerful Irish Princes, Chieftains of the area.

In 1532, on the death of the O’Carroll Chieftain, a fierce rivalry for the  leadership erupted within the family. The bitter fight for power turned brother  against brother. One of the brothers was a priest. The O’Carroll priest was  holding mass for a group of his family (in what is now called the “Bloody  Chapel”). While chanting the holy rites, his rival brother burst into the chapel  plunging his sword into his brother. Fatally wounding him, the butchered priest  fell across the altar and died in front of his family.

The heinous act of brother killing brother and the blasphemy of a sacred mass  cut short by such an evil event sent an echo of misery ringing throughout the  castle.

Another source of evil was found at Leap Castle that may have compounded and  nurtured the sprit of the elemental. A hidden ubliet (a dungeon) was found off  the bloody chapel. It was a small room with a drop floor. Those who were  forgotten within this room suffered unimaginable pain and misery until their  death. Prisoners would be pushed into the room to fall through the floor and  land on a spike eight feet below. If you were not lucky enough to die quickly on  the spike, you died of starvation in an odorless room while the aroma of food  and the sounds of merriment drifted up from the rooms below. A narrow window  would let you watch those who came and went in freedom from the castle. Around  c.1900 workmen who where hired to clean out the ubliet made a hideous discovery,  human skeletons laid piled on top of each other. It took three full cart loads  to remove all of the bones. Among the bones workmen found a pocket watch made in  the 1840’s. It is not certain if the dungeon was still in use then.

Because of its extremely bloody history Leap Castle has always had a reputation  of being haunted, a reputation so strong local people avoided it at night.  Completely gutted by fire, Leap Castle was boarded up and it’s gates were pad  locked for over 70 years. Locals have described seeing the windows at the top of  the castle “light up for a few seconds as if many candles were brought into the  room” late at night. The castle laid in ruin for years.

Shortly after Leap’s dungeons gruesome discovery, a psychic disturbance may have  caused the emergence of the elemental spirit. In 1659 ownership of Leap Castle  passed in marriage from the O’Carroll family to an English family, the Darbys.  The Darby family turned Leap into their family home, with improvements and  additions and landscaped gardens . In the late 19th century descendants  Johanthan and Mildred Darby were looking forward to raising their family here.  The occult was the fashion of the day, and Mildred Darby did some innocent  dabbling, despite the castle’s history and reputation for being haunted.  Mildred’s dabbling with magic awakened the elemental with ferocious velocity.

In 1909, Mildred Darby wrote an article for the Journal Occult Review,  describing her terrifying ordeal. “I was standing in the Gallery looking down at  the main floor, when I felt somebody put a hand on my shoulder. The thing was  about the size of a sheep. Thin guanting shadowy…, it’s face was human, to be  more accurate inhuman. Its lust in its eyes which seemed half decomposed in  black cavities stared into mine. The horrible smell one hundred times  intensified came up into my face, giving me a deadly nausea. It was the smell of  a decomposing corpse.”

The elemental is thought to be a primitive ghost that attaches itself to a  particular place. It is often malevolent, terrifying and unpredictable. After  Mrs. Darby’s experiments in the black arts, Leap Castle has never been the same.  Haunting plague Leap leaving a sinister air throughout the castle. The Darbys  remained at Leap until 1922. Being the home of an English family, it became the  target of the Irish struggle for independence. Destroyed by bombs, completely  looted, nothing but a burned out shell remained. The Darby’s were driven out.

Tullynally Castle in County Westmeath

Birr Castle in Ireland

Tullynally Castle has been the home of the Pakenhams’ later Earls of Longford, for over 350 years. The original 17th century fortified house was remodelled first as a comfortable Georgian mansion, then as a huge rambling gothic revival castle in the early survive in private hands. The interiors, part Georgian, part Gothic revival, have a fine collection of furniture and pictures, a 1800’s, by the 2nd Earl of Longford. It is still lived in as the family home, now probably one of the largest in Ireland.

The following is my favorite…..I want to live here!

Ashford Castle, Galway

ashford castle is a hotel located in county mayo ireland and is ...

Ashford Castle in Ireland Background

Ashford in Mayo is founded by the Anglo-Norman de Burgo family following their defeat of the native O’Connors of Connaught. the de Burgo’s would build several such castles throughout the province, but Ashford in Ireland would remain the principal stronghold. The native O’Connors also leave a legacy in the form of the nearby 12th century Augustinian abbey of Cong, Co.Mayo, built on the site of a 6th century monastery. Follow the link above to visit this site and its timeline to the present…..

Blarney Castle

                                                         doesn’t this look like a fairytale?

Blarney Castle is a medieval stronghold in Blarney, near Cork, Ireland, and the River Martin. Though earlier fortifications were built on the same spot, the current keep was built by the MacCarthy of Muskerry dynasty, a cadet branch of the Kings of Desmond, and dates from 1446.[4] The noted Blarney Stone is found among the machicolations of the castle.

So what do you think? Is Ireland as mysterious as it is beautiful?

The ruins of Castle Island, Roscommon, Ireland

The Mermaid's Cave, located beneath Dunluce Castle, Antrim, Ireland. Photo by Stephen Emerson.

One day……One day……

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

 

I am linking up at the following!

Dwellings-The Heart of Your Home

Inspire Me Tuesday


Boogieboard Cottage

Monday Funday
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Comments

  1. So beautiful! I have always wanted to go to Ireland. Thanks for sharing such a lovely glimpse with me.

  2. Magical! I would love to go to Ireland and England…their landscapes are so lush and there are so many castles. Thanks so much for sharing at Amaze Me Monday…
    Blessings,
    Cindy

    • I agree Cindy!! I hope to go next year….. I want so much to stand in those castles!
      Have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by!

      Lois

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