Diary of Ireland – Day 3

Welcome to today’s episode of ‘When Historians get Unleashed’; today we shall see how our travelling heroes judge a city and whether a hedge is more useful than a wall!

10th May 2012 – Day 3

Ali at the Rath

Ali at the Rath - Rathgall Hillfort

With a heavy heart, and a full stomach, we left Craanford and headed West. Through the panoramic undulations and oscillations we sped, before we found a pre-Norman Irish fort/ringfort/rath. The drystone walling, 4 concentric walls and Ali’s knowledge were all feats to behold!

After a lap and mini lecture on ringforts compared to hill forts (no, I didn’t know there was a difference either!) we popped back into our car to our first destination.

We stopped to see Carlow Castle. A William Marshall construction that has a presence of authority that cannot be overstated. The castle was blown up in later centuries to make way for an asylum, in its authentic usage.

Carlow Castle

Carlow Castle

This means that only the front wall survives today. Four concentric rings were the basis of this castle [as becomes apparent, this was written under the influence of alcohol and I can only assume I meant 4 circular towers], and it was apparently on an island – not that you’d guess that today. The garden grown to mimic the original, now missing, wall was a nice touch. As were the, as to now absent, interpretation boards.

Leaving Carlow we headed down to the old Medieval capital of Ireland. Home of the great Kilkenny Castle – another of William Marshall’s. Would you believe it DOESN’T HAVE A MUSEUM!! County city, historical sites galore, no museum! Ali and I agree a city is not a city if it does not have a museum.

Talbot Tower

Kilkenny Castle, although impressive, has been worked on too much through the ages to be of great use physically. We went to Talbot Tower over the road, but as if to sum up Ireland and our trip so far, it was boarded off as a construction site.

The nature of Irish history is one of connection with modernity. So if you want to know about Medieval churches, etc it is readily available, but the castles are pure symbols of English expansionism and so we have yet to find one book or even guide book on the castles!

Ali was on fine form at the pub. We discussed topics as diverse as the Brazilian participation in the First World War to the Japanese unification of pre-1100’s A.D.

Perhap” . . . Writing becomes illegible and ends without an actual sentence

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