County Kilkenny has perhaps one of the highest concentrations of medieval remains in Ireland. Conquered in the decades after the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, the area was heavily restructured. This saw an intensive and large-scale building programme begin as towns, castles and abbeys popped up across the landscape. As society became increasingly unstable and violent in the late 13th and 14th centuries the area was heavily fortified. This photo essay is meandering journey across four sites in a small area of Kilkenny – Thomastown, where you can get some impression of what a medieval landscape may have looked like and what can be seen there today. This journey is easy to replicate – there is a map of the area at the end of the article.
Archive for the ‘castles’ Category
Posted in 14th century, Anglo Norman, Archaeology, audiobook, Black death, castles, Gaelic Ireland, Hall House, Irish history, Medieval Europe, Medieval history, Norman Invasion, tagged Grenan, Jerpoint, Kilfane, Kilkenny, Thomastown on August 28, 2012 | 6 Comments »
Posted in 14th century, Anglo Norman, Annals, Archaeology, audiobook, Bishop of Ossory, Black death, castles, Civil war, Dublin, Dublin history, Economy, famine, Gaelic Ireland, Gaelic revival, Hall House, historical tours, Irish history, Medieval Europe, Medieval history, Medieval Monasticism, Norman Invasion, Plague, The Black Death, tagged Art Mc Murrough, Castlecomer, Dublin, Edward Bruce, hall house, John Clyn, Kilkenny, Richard de Clare, St Mullins, Strongbow on July 4, 2012 | 13 Comments »
In the 14th century Europe experienced one of the worst crises in recorded human history which saw war, famine and plague decimate the population. In Ireland this crisis developed in a society already wracked by deep divisions and political upheaval.
Although brewing for decades this crisis began in earnest in 1315 when one of the worst famines of medieval history gripped Ireland.This was followed by a period of extreme violence between the resurgent Gaelic Irish and the Norman Barons. The crisis reached its zenith when the Black Death struck Ireland killing between 30% and 50% of the population in 1348 and early 1349.
This 14th century crisis is the subject of an upcoming audiobook I am writing at the moment and here’s a taste of what to expect!
Posted in Anglo Norman, castles, cromwell, early medieval, english civil war, Gaelic Ireland, ireland, Irish history, Medieval Europe, Medieval history, tagged Laois, portlaoise, The Rock of Dunamase on June 19, 2012 | 3 Comments »
The Rock of Dunmase is a stunning medieval ruin perched on a rocky outcrop a few miles east of Portlaoise, Co Laois. Overlooking the surrounding landscape the ruinous castle was once a formidable fortress. Standing atop a steep rock it is protected on three sides by cliffs while the only accessible side was protected by a double barbican, two gatehouses and numerous defences.
Originally built in the 12th century the castle may well have been abandoned by the mid 14th century during the Gaelic revival which saw large swathes of the country reconquered by Gaelic Irish lords. Dunamase survived somewhat intact up until the arrival of Cromwellian troops in 1650. Then a ruin it was rendered unusable after being battered to pieces by cannons.
Posted in 17th century, Anglo Norman, Archaeology, castles, early medieval, Gaelic Ireland, Irish history, tour, tagged Anglo Norman, castle, Loughmoe, Loughmore, Purcell, Tipperary on April 4, 2012 | 4 Comments »
Loughmoe Castle is situated on the banks of the river Suir in North Tipperary. Built between the 15th and 17th centuries it was the seat of Barons of Loughmoe, the Anglo-Norman Purcell family. The earliest surviving structure on the site is a tower house which was transformed into the northern wing of a fortified house in the 17th century. In its new form as a fortified house the castle composed of two towers joined by what was known in the locality as “the court”. The castle stands outside the village of Loughmoe, close to the ruins of Loughmoe Abbey and the resting place of the famous Cormack brothers. Despite these widespread renovations Loughmoe castle was abandoned by the mid 18th century.
Posted in Archaeology, castles, cromwell, early medieval, Gaelic Ireland, historical tours, ireland, Irish history, Medieval history, Medieval Monasticism, tagged Black Abbey, Friar john Clyn, Kilkenny, Kilkenny castle, Kyteler, Maudlin castle, maudlin st, St Canices cathedral, St Francis Abbey on January 17, 2011 | 3 Comments »
Kilkenny more than any other Irish city has a distinctively medieval feel about it. Its small streets wind around several medieval buildings whilst its skyline is still dominated by a 13th century castle and cathedral. Through some of these buildings we can reconstruct the major events of the city’s past from witch trials to the black death.
Posted in Archaeology, castles, historical tours, ireland, Irish history, Medieval Europe, Medieval history, Medieval Monasticism, tour, tagged Clara Castle, historical tours, Kells Priory, Kilkenny castle on August 31, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Want to spend a day exploring castles with hidden chambers or wandering around monasteries that were bigger than small towns? Here’s how to visit three sites for €6! Although you’ll probably only have heard of one – Kilkenny castle, the others – Clara castle and Kells Priory are equally interesting. They are all close to each other and easily seen in a day if you have a car. (more…)