Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle is a popular tourist destination and place worth to visit, especially since photography is allowed.

The history of Kilkenny Castle dates back to the 12th century. As my previous post was dedicated to the Vikings, let’s start from there.

First recorded raid by Norwegian Vikings happened in 795. Among the attacked monasteries was the one on the Skeillig Michael Island – the star location of The Last Jedi movie, and home for a Puffin colony. In 902 Irish kings joined forces to expel the Vikings from Ireland but it didn’t happen until the 12th century when they took control over the Viking towns and wisely decided to let them flourish as centres of international trade. The descendants of Vikings are last mentioned in the Irish historic records in 1311.

The Kings had disputes between them. In 1167, notorious King of Leinster Dermot MacMurrough was deprived of his kingdom by the High King of Ireland Rory O’Connor and fled to France. To recover his kingdom he gained the military support of the Earl Richard de Clare, known as “Strongbow” who agreed to lead his army to Ireland, took control over the East coast, and in exchange for his aid married MacMurrough’s daughter Aoife in August 1170, the day after the capture of Waterford.

In 1172, Strongbow built a wooden tower overlooking the River Nore. It is when the history of Kilkenny Castle begins.

Twenty years later, his son-in-law William Marshal erected the four towered stone castle on the site, of which three towers still remain.

I just have to tell a few words about this remarkable man. A younger son of a minor nobleman, William had to make his own way in life. He began his training as a knight at the age of twelve, and was knighted eight years later. He married Aoife and Strongbow’s only daughter Isabel when she was 18 and he was over 40, and their marriage was long and happy. Thanks to the marriage, he inherited vast amount of land in Wales and Ireland and became one of the richest and most powerful men. William had served five kings as a military advisor praised for his wisdom and honesty, survived many battles and died a Knight’s Templar, aged 72. Archbishop of Canterbury called him the greatest knight who had ever lived.

In 1317, the de Clare family sold Kilkenny Castle to Hugh Despenser who unfortunately got himself hanged, drawn and quartered. In 1391, the castle was seized by Richard II and sold to the Butler family who occupied the castle from 1391 until 1935. After the Butlers sold all the furnishing in 1935, the castle began to fall into disrepair. In 1967, James Arthur Butler, 6th Marquess of Ormonde, sold the castle to the city of Kilkenny for 50 pounds.  At the key handover ceremony, young Mick Jagger made appearance dressed in some sort of cape. There is a photograph of him and a young lady, both holding paper plates with snacks.

Here you can read about the development of the castle under the Butler family.

I am sharing a few photographs to showcase amazing restoration work done to bring the castle to life again.

The Dining room.

Kilkenny Castle

The Withdrawing room. The ladies withdrew from the Dining room leaving the men to enjoy their port and cigars.

Kilkenny Castle

The Library.

Kilkenny Castle

The Tapestry room.

Kilkenny Castle

Blue bedroom.

Kilkenny Castle

This remarkable item is much bigger than the modern ones. It dates from 1904 and is original to the castle.

Kilkenny Castle

The Victorian Nursery. This room had remained unopened to the public since used by the Butler family in the 1950s, until 2014.

Kilkenny Castle

Looks creepy to me 🙂

Kilkenny Castle

I don’t know what is the name of this room, but I love the aquamarine furniture and wallpaper.

Kilkenny Castle

Couldn’t miss taking a bird view picture of the Castle back yard with St Canice’s Cathedral and Black Abbey in background.

Kilkenny Castle

The Moorish Staircase, on the way to the Picture Gallery.

Kilkenny Castle

And this is the magnificent Picture Gallery built in the early 19th century.

Initially the gallery was built with flat roof that started leaking shortly after its completion. The new roof was criticized for its Byzantine looks, but I don’t see any problem with that 🙂

Kilkenny Castle

Original picture collection consisted of almost 200 ancestral and royal paintings and pastoral landscapes. I didn’t take photographs of the paintings because they were artificially lit and the light reflected from the surface creating spots. I wonder if such light can be damaging.

In the gallery there are some pieces of furniture, tapestry and a beautiful marble fireplace.

Kilkenny Castle

All the information about the ticket prices and hours you can find on the Kilkenny Castle website that will be timely updated, unlike this post 🙂

And this is what Kilkenny Castle looks from the other side of the lawn.

Kilkenny Castle

I hope you enjoyed the excursion.

PS The images of the castle interior used in this post are not for sale.

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

Follow the Vikings

Vikings

Follow The Vikings Roadshow came to Waterford on the Easter weekend. I guess, attendance would be greater if the festival took place on some other weekend, but what to do – even Google never does Easter Doodles  At least we know for sure that the Vikings have been eventually converted 

Follow the Vikings

Familiar streets look different. Amazing actors and dancers from many European countries came to Waterford- or rather Veðrafjǫrðr– to celebrate our viking heritage. Famous for their spectacular performances, the Roadshow will tour another seven viking locations (twelve altogether) in the UK, Spain and Scandinavia.

Follow the Vikings

Follow the Vikings

Follow the Vikings

Follow the Vikings

Follow the Vikings

Follow the Vikings

Follow the Vikings

I only caught a glimpse of the night show, but you can see plenty of images on their website.

Follow the Vikings

Follow the Vikings

 

 

Ancient viking civilization made a major impact on European history and culture. Far from being just barbaric raiders, the vikings left the legacy that is still evident today in various parts of the world.

You can learn more about the Viking roadshow here: https://www.followthevikings.com/ Check out, may be it is coming to a town near you.


Meanwhile, many other Viking clans came over and camped in Cathedral Square, the heart of The Viking Triangle. Craft making and sale, musical numbers and fights – everything for your entertainment.  You can have many of your viking-related questions answered here.

Vikings

Vikings

Vikings

Vikings

Vikings

Vikings

Vikings

And this is our own Citric the Viking. Undercover 😉 To see him in his glory, visit the King of The Vikings virtual reality show.

Vikings

The Viking virtual reality show is my favorite attraction in the city, and #1 ranking by TripAdvisor. They opened last summer and I went there three times. Once you put the headset on, you will find yourself in the middle of the viking invasion, up to your eyes in the water swimming between the burning longboats and under the flying arrows. You will love it.

King of the Vikings virtual reality show website  http://www.kingofthevikings.com/  Booking essential.

As I happened to live in the Viking Triangle and came from the land of viking heritage, everything ‘viking’ captivates me. Including literature. I share a link to Shehanne Moore’s blog, because I absolutely love her book The Viking and The Courtesan (Time Mutant series), and her other books too. Please visit Shehanne’s blog, but watch your feet so that you don’t step on a hamster 😉

Some music from Youtube to complete this post 🙂

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

Puffin love

Great Saltee Puffin

For all those who are in a dark place – here is some puffin love for you.

Great Saltee Puffin

Great Saltee Puffin

Great Saltee Puffin

Great Saltee Puffin

Great Saltee Puffin

Great Saltee Puffin

Great Saltee Puffin

Great Saltee Puffin

Great Saltee Puffin

Great Saltee Puffin

Great Saltee Puffin

Great Saltee Puffin

This is the puffin love story I heard ( and witnessed) on my last visit to the Great Saltee 🙂


To book a boat to Saltee Islands from Kilmore Quay, Co Wexford, call +353-53-912-9684.


Links to some of my previous posts about Saltee Islands and Puffins:

https://inesemjphotography.com/2014/06/28/saltee-islands-a-place-where-birds-rule/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2014/06/30/golden-faces-silver-eyes-and-blue-eyelids/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2015/06/23/saltee-islands-treasure-bigger-than-money-part-1/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2015/06/27/saltee-islands-treasure-bigger-than-money-part-2/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2016/07/16/saltee-island-off-to-see-the-puffins/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2017/07/22/saltee-islands-all-things-beautiful/

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

It has been four years

My Fourth Blogoversary is approaching, and it makes me sad that I have to take a break. I will resume posting in June.

Today I am sharing some ideas for my future posts. There will be birds, as always.

There will be animals. This bunny crossed the road in front of my car and just sat there. The picture was taken through the dusty windscreen, but it is the only picture I have as the rabbits don’t usually pose for you like that.

There will be some trips to beautiful places. This white cloud landed on the mountain ridge in Killarney.

Of course we will go to the Comeragh Mountains and explore some more.

I will also share my adventures in the Heritage Park.

I hope to make it to Saltee Islands again, and I also have a family history trip planned for a blogger friend. This year is supposed to be better than the previous one. Sorry for this long break, it didn’t work out like I expected it would, but I will still be around. If you want to read something on this blog, there is an Archives button and a list of blog posts from February 2014 to February 2018.

Thank you for your friendship and understanding.

www.inesemjphotography.com Love and best wishes to all!

Life of a donkey

Donkey Sanctuary

Donkeys are the most misunderstood and abused animals around the world.

  Bonnie Jo Campbell


Last summer I visited The Donkey Sanctuary farm in Liscarroll, Co Cork. The farm is a home for 127 donkeys ( the number might have changed), but the Sanctuary has over 1800 donkeys in their care, about 500 of them re-homed. How did it happen that so many donkeys had to be rescued? Sadly, in order to claim agricultural subsidies many farmers use donkeys as a low-cost means of reaching the minimum stocking density required. The cost of castrating the young males is far higher than their value, and the donkeys that are left to fend for themselves in the fields would breed all the year round. Also, if a donkey gets sick it is often cheaper to buy a new donkey than to take it to the vet. On Done Deal website you can get a donkey for as little as €50, and often “to a Good Home free”. All of this contributes to the high numbers of neglected and abandoned donkeys nationally.

Donkey

I came to the sanctuary on my way to Killarney and had less than an hour to look around and enjoy the company of sweet donkeys. I have always had a soft spot for goats and donkeys.

There is a cute picnic area in the farm, and everything is tidy and homey.

Donkey Sanctuary

In this building you can buy some donkey-related souvenirs and make a donation. You can adopt a donkey for a donation of €25 a year.

Donkey Sanctuary

After I made a donation, Margaret and I had a lively conversation about the Sanctuary. There are three more donkey farms in Ireland, she said, but only this one is open for visitors. They are not a breeding farm, but sometimes they get a pregnant female. No baby donkey this time though.

This cat deserves a picture. His eyes were permanently wide-opened which has probably something to do with his busy schedule as the mouse hunter in the farm.

Over the years, I have taken many donkey pictures. I often make them black and white to express the sadness I feel about the life of a donkey.

Donkey

Donkey

Donkey

Donkey

I have seen them careless and playful too.

Donkey

Daddy, mommy and a little photo-bomber in background.

Donkey

With his mommy a couple of months later.

Donkey

Some facts about donkeys:

There are five main breeds and cross-breeds of donkey in Ireland: Grand Noir du Berry ( black donkey);  hinny, the offspring of female donkey and a male horse; mule; miniature donkey, and a shaggy Poitou donkey.

Donkeys can live up to 50 years. They are social animals and it is not good to keep a donkey as a lone animal. Donkeys are stoical by nature and won’t show that they are in pain. Proverbial stubbornness of the donkey can indicate that the animal is simply afraid. Being safe is important for donkeys.

Donkey

The Donkey Sanctuary was founded in 1972. Many things have changed since, and many donkeys have crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but there is a 40 years old donkey still living in the farm. The average age of the other donkeys is 10 years, which is an indication of an economic downturn in Ireland a decade ago.

Katie is a volunteer from The Netherlands. She is a donkey whisperer 🙂 Katie explained me the ‘mystery’ of the yellow and red collars: red means a boy and yellow a girl. And there are the names written on the collars!

Donkey Sanctuary

Donkey

Donkey

Donkey Sanctuary

Donkey

I found a video on YouTube, Castletown Donkey Derby, 1994. It is fun but still I am sorry for the donkeys.

 

When a donkey brays, the other donkeys listen.

Donkey Sanctuary

Jason the donkey brays his heart out, and I am delighted to hear his performance.

Donkey Sanctuary

A humble man’s helper, donkey costs almost nothing to keep. A little bit of care is all he needs – hoof trimming, shelter, access to water. Civilization has used the poor donkey badly, and as if it is not enough, donkey’s meat and hide are the subject of trade in some countries.

I wish we lived in an ideal world where nobody is hungry, cold and lonely, and the ability to hurt others is erased from human genome.

Donkey

Thank you for reading and bearing with me.

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a great week!