A Travellerspoint blog

Den Gamle By

.... the old town

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Chas and I enjoyed Den Gamle By so much when we first visited five years ago, we decided to go again to see what had changed.

Aarhus's Den Gamle By (the old town), established in 1909, is the world's first open-air museum of urban history and culture. It comprises 75 historical houses which have been brought from various locations all over Denmark, and reconstructed on the Den Gamle By site. The oldest section contains buildings dating from 1550 to 1900 and recreates a Danish town as it looked in Hans Christian Andersen's time.

Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By

Village street

Village street

The town square

The town square

Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By

Horse and carriage transportation

Horse and carriage transportation

Young children

Young children

Den Gamle By

Den Gamle By

Locals going about their chores

Locals going about their chores

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Several of the houses are especially interesting. For example, the Mintmaster's Mansion .. originally constructed in 1683 in what is now central Copenhagen, it is the only surviving building from the area. Its interior and exterior have been restored to how they would have been around the mid-1700s. Beside it is an excellent example of a wealthy family home, The Mayor's House, with furnishings from 1600-1850.

The grand Mintmaster's Mansion

The grand Mintmaster's Mansion

An interesting water spout on the Mint Master's House

An interesting water spout on the Mint Master's House

Looking out on the garden, the Mayor's House

Looking out on the garden, the Mayor's House

The Avian ceiling room, the Mayor's House

The Avian ceiling room, the Mayor's House

The ceiling decorated as a sky, completed with birds and clouds

The ceiling decorated as a sky, completed with birds and clouds

Wall decorations, the Mayor's House

Wall decorations, the Mayor's House


There is also a half-timbered house from Zealand (1700) which is the only surviving building of its kind. The house was reconstructed in Den Gamle By in 1930 and now the home of the hatter.
Half-timbered house, circa 1700.  The only surviving building of its kind.

Half-timbered house, circa 1700. The only surviving building of its kind.

Back of the house.

Back of the house.


The Hatter's home.

The Hatter's home.

Also another from Aalborg (north of Aarhus), (1571) with patterned brickwork and elaborate carvings. Reconstructed in Den Gamle by in 1942, it now the home of the chemist.
Corner house, Aalborg, 1571

Corner house, Aalborg, 1571

As well as the 1800s era, there is also a section from the 1920s which continues to be updated with new buildings, shops and homes. A entire neighbourhood block from 1974 is also under way where you can stroll down the shopping street and visit the radio sales, embroidery and camera stores of 1974.

As you can see it was a wet and overcast day, but it was still very relaxing just wandering the cobbled streets, down the alleys, into the homes, shops and gardens, and watching the 'locals' going about their chores. Many of the stores have items for sales, e.g. traditional household items, books from the bookshop, or tasty pastries from the baker made from recipes from before 1900. A fun day.

The Danes do 'living museums' exceptionally well.

Posted by patsaunder 10:46 Archived in Denmark Tagged places historical Comments (0)

Chas in Tobago

sunny 30 °C
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Frigate birds

Frigate birds

The frigate birds glide lazily across the blue sky, reflecting the laid-back life-style below them. But like the pirates of old, they are opportunists and while in flight, they will grab the tails of the boobies, holding on, until their captives disgorge their last catch, which the frigates then devour.

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Castara

Castara


My grocery store

My grocery store


My snorkeling pool

My snorkeling pool

Castara is a small fishing village on the Caribbean coast. My local grocery store was the size of a bathroom and catered to all my needs, from aloe-vera cream to hot goat roti bread. My unit looked down onto the beach and the reef, which starts about 10m out. So most days I snorkeled. The stingray gave me a fright, appearing out of the sand but then gracefully left me to my colourful wonderland.

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Work or play?

Work or play?


Tree houses

Tree houses

Tobago’s history (as with the other WI islands and the US) is a blight on humanity. The African slaves suffered horrors so that ‘civilized’ Europe could indulge its desire for sugar, coffee, tobacco and cotton, while the greedy, brutal invaders got rich on the proceeds; sounds a lot like Palestine, Iraq, Libya and Syria today. The current generation, mainly African descendants, value their heritage but hold no grudges. They welcome tourists, employment is relatively high and much development is happening from local housing to civil projects. Their car is a bigger status symbol than their house. The beaches and climate encourage a culture alternating from laid-back to carnival. I was invited to ‘Sunday School’, a communal live music and dance party held every Sunday night.

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My unit

My unit


My motmot

My motmot

Rather than caressing me to sleep, the waves were so close that initially they kept waking me up. The night smells were of damp soil, rotting fruit and the bathroom drains. However the fireflies in my room were delightful and in the morning I’d share breakfast with my motmot.

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The Caribbean

The Caribbean


I'm doing my best

I'm doing my best

We cruised down the island, calling in on the best snorkeling bays. The Buccoo Reef is 2km off shore. In its midst is the clear blue, 1metre-deep ‘Nylon Pool’, named for Princess Anne, who perceptively described the water as like looking through her nylons. Here, our skipper and first mate threw us overboard, produced a 5 litre bottle of rum punch and told us that we weren’t allowed back on board until we’d drunk it all. There were only five of us and mutiny was out of the question.

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Sharon's restaurant

Sharon's restaurant


Restaurant sunset

Restaurant sunset


The ultimate main course

The ultimate main course

Sharon’s restaurant is my favourite in the whole world. It’s on the beach, 30 seconds from my unit. As the sunset comes and goes, small bats flitter between the palm trees aligning the balcony and the candles are lit. Sharon is not a chef, she is a terrific cook. In these days of fancy presentation and minimal food, where the main item of the dish is served raised high in the middle of the plate, with maybe a few gratuitous, oily vegetables, Sharon’s meals are a revelation. Each main course comprises 4 or 5 separately prepared items, presented on the plate before the signature item is even seen. I ordered ‘Squid’. It came, cooked in a chili cream sauce, served in its own side bowl because there was no room for it on the plate. The plate was filled with potato bake, cauliflower and corn in white sauce, tomato onion pumpkin mash, spinach in coconut cream, and salad.

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Tobago Golf Club

Tobago Golf Club


Tropical downpour

Tropical downpour

Tobago Golf Club is a well-designed course, in a beautiful setting, with atrocious greens that are mainly grass-roots and soil. I played well and, walking off the 18th just as the rain started, I was looking forward to my pre-ordered lunch. I showered, changed and sat at the table, where I was informed that my lunch could not be brought over from the adjoining hotel until the tropical downpour had ceased. Three beers later, my by then, slightly warm lunch arrived. Tobago is a beautiful place with lovely people but one mustn’t expect total sophistication just yet.

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My view

My view


My endearing image is the view from my balcony.

Posted by patsaunder 06:14 Archived in Trinidad and Tobago Comments (0)

Ireland - our last few days

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We spent a lovely morning visiting our only Irish castle - Bunratty Castle and Folk Park. The site on which the castle stands was a Viking trading camp in 970. The present structure built around 1425 was the last of four previous castles on this site. The castle fell into disrepair when the last family to reside in it left for a more comfortable home within the castle grounds.

In 1954 the castle was purchased by Viscount Lord Gort who conducted extensive restoration work, including reroofing, to save the castle from ruin. He then refurbished the castle with exceptional 15th and 16th century furnishings, tapestries, and works of art which bring to life the time when the castle was the home of the Irish chieftains.

This extensive collection, sourced mainly from Europe, makes Bunratty the most complete and authentically restored and furnished castle in Ireland. The time and effort involved in sourcing and acquiring these items was a labour of love for Lord Gort who carried most of the costs himself. He wanted to create something of lasting value.

Bunratty Castle

Bunratty Castle


The Dungeon

The Dungeon


The Main Guard Hall

The Main Guard Hall


The Great Hall

The Great Hall


The Public Chapel

The Public Chapel


Looking out from the turretts

Looking out from the turretts


The Earl's Bedroom

The Earl's Bedroom


The Earl's private apartment.  16thC sources maintain that parts of the table were remnants from a Spanish Armada which sank off the west coast of Clare in 1588.

The Earl's private apartment. 16thC sources maintain that parts of the table were remnants from a Spanish Armada which sank off the west coast of Clare in 1588.


The Earl's Private Chapel

The Earl's Private Chapel

I was very disappointed that we weren't able to attend the Medieval Banquet held each night in the Main Guard Hall complete with four course feast and entertainment. They would have to serve vegetables at a banquet surely!!! I think it would be a hoot.

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We also enjoyed wandering through the castle grounds, now established as a Folk Park, where 19th century life is vividly recreated with over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting. The buildings are furnished as they would have appeared at that time, and provide excellent examples of the conditions of the classes, from the poorest one roomed, very basic, dwelling to the Georgian residence, Bunratty House, home of the Studdart family who moved from the castle in 1804. It was fun to wander through the farmhouses, school, village shops and streets with various characters attending to chores dressed in the attire of the time, and enjoy a lovely lunch at the pub.

The Village Street, Bunratty Folk Park

The Village Street, Bunratty Folk Park


The teacher in the school house

The teacher in the school house


P MacNamara & Sons Bar/Hotel

P MacNamara & Sons Bar/Hotel


Chas playing with his conkers

Chas playing with his conkers

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Lord Gort and his wife gave a most valuable gift when they donated the castle, along with its contents, to the Irish people It was opened to the public in 1960 as a National Monument. We were extremely impressed with our visit and stayed much longer than intended. It was a pleasure to visit.

The colours of autumn

The colours of autumn

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Over 84% of the Republic of Ireland population identify as Roman Catholic and it was interesting to see many lovely little grottos to Our Lady in various locations as we traveled. Here are a couple of examples. The first was in Bunratty Folk Park, and the second was a 'not so little' one at Corrofin which was erected by the people of the village in February 1958.

Grotto of Our Lady

Grotto of Our Lady


Grotto to Our Lady, Corofin

Grotto to Our Lady, Corofin

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We couldn't leave Ireland without a trip to the majestic Cliffs of Moher, Ireland's most visited natural attraction. Standing over 200m above the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, they stretch for 8km with great views to Aran Islands and Galway Bay. The cliffs have formed as a result of coastal erosion when the waves wear away the base of the cliff until a section collapses into the sea. This process continues and no doubt at some future time the cave that you see will be no more. The layering in the cliffs was formed over 320 million years ago when the compacted silt and mud that we see was once an ancient seafloor.

The cliffs are a special protection area for birds. Over 20,000 breeding seabirds nest on the cliffs, but again, unfortunately, I missed the puffins as they had already left. Stunning cliffs, and a magnificent view.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

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We'd only travelled a little way further along the coast road when we were confronted with the most amazing landscape. The first and second pics join together for a panoramic view on the right side of the road, and to the coast on the left.

Anyone for a walk? (left side)

Anyone for a walk? (left side)

Anyone for a walk? (right side)

Anyone for a walk? (right side)

.... or a swim?

.... or a swim?

This was the start of The Burren (meaning 'great rock'). This is a karst-landscape region, a geological formation shaped by the dissolution of a layer or layers of soluble bedrock. The rolling hills of The Burren are composed of limestone pavements with criss-crossing cracks known as 'grikes', leaving isolated rocks called 'clints'. The formation that we see today dates from the last glacial period approximately 10,000 years ago. It is one of the largest karst landscapes in Europe. Surprisingly the area supports a wide range of plants and animals. I found it to be a breath-taking experience.

The Burren landscape

The Burren landscape

Grikes and clints run along the limestone pavement

Grikes and clints run along the limestone pavement

Small hollows form on limestone surfaces as rainwater is slightly acidic and dissolves the limestone

Small hollows form on limestone surfaces as rainwater is slightly acidic and dissolves the limestone

The wild but beautiful Burren landscape

The wild but beautiful Burren landscape

Our reason for travelling this way was to visit Poulnabrone Dolmen (also called a portal tomb, a type of single-chamber tomb). This amazing structure dates to probably between 4200 BC to 2900 BC ... way before the pyramids.
Poulnabrone Dolma

Poulnabrone Dolma

At the time the tomb was built this would have been a farming community which relied on hunting, fishing, crops and domesticated animals. The landscape would have looked much different also, with pine forests and open grasslands. The investment of labour and continued use over time suggests that these tombs served a powerful symbolic role in their communities.

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Poulnabrone Dolmen

Archaelogical excavations were carried out between 1986 and 1988 when the fractured eastern portal stone needed to be replaced (the original can be seen lying on the pavement next to the tomb). The excavations revealed that at least 33 individuals were buried in the chamber - infants, children and adults, both male and female. It is believed that the bodies were initially buried (or allowed to decompose) elsewhere before being transferred to the tomb. Radiocarbon dating shows this to be around 3000 BC. They also found personal possessions such as a polished stone axe, a decorated bone pendant, stone beads and quartz crystals, flint weapons and fragments of pottery. The excavation also identified the body of a newborn baby which was buried just outside the entrance to the tomb over one thousand years later.

Archaelogists believe that this was not just a burial place but was also a focus for other rituals and ceremonies. It still dominates the landscape and gives us an opportunity to imagine and contemplate the past. An amazing and wonderful place.

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Our last stop was at the twin towns of Ballina/Killaloe, once the seat of Ireland's High Kings, on the very picturesque Lough Berg.

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Unfortunately our time in Ireland finally came to an end, though we still had much to see. With hopes for 'another time' we sadly said goodbye. Back to Aarhus for the final leg of our amazing holiday.

Posted by patsaunder 05:22 Archived in Ireland Tagged churches places historical Comments (0)

Ireland - The Ring of Kerry

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Our last trip was to the west coast. Many locals and friends had told us a 'must do' was i]The Ring of Kerry[/i], a 179km circular road around the Iveragh Peninsula in County Kerry. This is a major tourist trail with many bus companies providing day tours. As the narrow roads make it difficult for coaches to pass, all tour buses run in an anti-clockwise direction, and we'd had excellent advice (which we heeded) to complete our journey in the opposite direction. On one occasion we passed a section of the road cutting through a rocky outcrop with part of the rock hanging out over the road. Chas said "Hmm. now I see why the buses travel in the other direction!!". Unfortunately we only had a few days, and much to see.

So we planned our trip and headed off .. first stop the lovely town of Killarney with its traditional 'jaunting cars', horse drawn carriages which have been used for hundreds of years to explore the town. It was a wet and uncomfortable day (11degC) so we continued on our way along lovely tree covered roads.

Lovely tree covered roads.

Lovely tree covered roads.

Following the road through Killarney National Park we briefly stopped to enjoy Ladies View (named in honour of Queen Victoria’s ladies-in-waiting when she visited in 1861), continuing on past the Black Valley, a remote and untouched part of Ireland on the southern side of MacGillycuddy's Reeks. Overlooking the Lakes of Killarney one can get a sense of the beauty of Ireland.

Looking out to beautiful Lough Leane

Looking out to beautiful Lough Leane


Ladies View looking to Upper Lake

Ladies View looking to Upper Lake


Looking down The Black Valley

Looking down The Black Valley


View to the lakes

View to the lakes

The rain eased to a sunny but cool day as we travelled the Ring passing through an array of different sized towns and villages: Kenmore, where we had a lovely lunch, Sneem with its traditional buildings, pubs, restaurants and shops painted in an array of beautiful colours, Waterville, the only village that is actually right on the coast, and arriving in Cahersiveen our last stop for the day.

Lovely beach near Waterville

Lovely beach near Waterville

Beautiful green of the water

Beautiful green of the water

Chas enjoying the view

Chas enjoying the view

Caherisiveen has a special place in Irish history as the birthplace of Daniel O'Connell in 1775, one of Ireland's most famous statesmen. I was especially surprised to see the local Catholic Church is called "The Daniel O'Connell Memorial Church", the only church in Ireland, and one of the few catholic churches in the world, dedicated to a lay person. Papal approval from Pope Leo XIII for the naming of the church was received on 1 January 1884, with first mass celebrated on 14 December 1902.
The Daniel O'Connell Memorial Church

The Daniel O'Connell Memorial Church

As I had not heard of this person who was famous enough to have a church named after him , I had to know more .... I found that Daniel O'Connell is called the "Liberator of Ireland" and at times the "Uncrowned King of Ireland," as he was instrumental in gaining political rights for Irish Catholics from the British by campaigning for Catholic Emancipation – the right of Catholics to sit in the Westminster Parliament - which had been denied for over 100 years. He was elected to Parliament in 1828 even though, as a Catholic, he could not participate in its deliberations until Catholic Emancipation became law in 1829. He died in 1847 when he became ill in Italy while travelling through Europe to bring attention to the plight of the Irish people during the great famine. A very interesting life story which is entwined with the struggles of the Irish people.

And there is also an Australian link .. a statue dedicated to O'Connell stands outside St Patrick's Cathedral in Melbourne as, up until the 1950s, the Archdiocese of Melbourne was almost entirely made up of Irish immigrants or Australians of Irish descent.

View from our accommodation

View from our accommodation

Cahersiveen also has a couple of excellent examples of stone forts which are found mainly in the west of Ireland. These can be difficult to date with some thought to be Iron Age (about 500 BC to 400 AD), while others from the Early Historic period (about 400 to 1200 AD).

We visited Cahergall, a particularly imposing ring stone fort with a massive dry-stone wall. There are flights of steps and terraces in the inner face of the wall and the upper parts of these, together with the lintelled entrance, have recently been reconstructed and are safe to walk on and climb to the top giving a fantastic view to the coast. The forts internal diameter is approximately 25 metres, the outer walls are 5 metres thick, and rise to a height of 4 meters. Inside the fort is the remains of a large circular dry-stone wall. Very impressive indeed and fun to climb and wander around.

Cahergal Stone Fort interior

Cahergal Stone Fort interior

Cahergal Stone Fort walls

Cahergal Stone Fort walls

Stairs are built into the inside face of the outer walls

Stairs are built into the inside face of the outer walls

Detail of the inner circle dry-stone wall

Detail of the inner circle dry-stone wall

The impressive lintelled entrance

The impressive lintelled entrance

Looking to the coast - lovely countryside

Looking to the coast - lovely countryside

The other stone fort, Leacanabuaile, lies only 400m from Cahergall, and the ruins of Ballycarbery Castle are only a short distance away.
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Ballycarbery Castle 15thC

Ballycarbery Castle 15thC

Saying 'goodbye' to the beautiful Ring of Kerry we ventured on, aware as we travelled that each village we passed has its own history and many stories to tell. However, it was great to connect to the history of one small village through our Australian folklore, Castlemaine, best known internationally as the birthplace of the character in the Irish/Australian ballad The Wild Colonial Boy. At the entrance to the village is a sign "Birthplace of The Wild Colonial Boy". There are several versions of this ballad, Irish and Australian, but I'm sure we all remember:

It's of a wild colonial boy,
Jack Doolan was his name
Of poor but honest parents
He was born in Castlemaine
He was his father's only son,
his mother's pride and joy
And dearly did his parents love
the wild colonial boy.

I bet you are all singing along!!!

In the Irish version the name is 'Jack Duggan' who was "born and raised in Ireland, in a place called Castlemaine". It is thought that the Australian version refers to Castlemaine in Victoria named after William Handcock, 1st Viscount Castlemaine in the 1850s. But I was pleased to see the connection and I hope there was at some time an Irish immigrant 'Jack Duggan' or 'Jack Doolan' from Castlemaine Ireland on which the ballad is based. Nice!!

We still had a little way to go to our destination for the day, passing through Tralee (very wet, misty, and at 2.30pm 10degC), and Limerick, arriving finally at Bunratty.

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Posted by patsaunder 04:59 Archived in Ireland Comments (0)

Ireland - beautiful historical sites


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After leaving Dublin we headed for the Wicklow National Park, specifically to a lovely area, Glendalough in the valley of the two lakes. Glendalough is home to one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland and is a very popular tourist attraction. On the day we visited there were quite a number of coach tours bringing heaps of people to the site.

Even so we were able to quietly wander and enjoy this early Christian monastic village which was founded by St. Kevin in the 6th century. It was very peaceful, the perfect location for a monastery, in a stunning natural setting with the tranquility of the lakes and the valley.

The beautiful gateway to the monastery, one of the most important monuments on the site, now totally unique in Ireland (probably built between 900-1200)

The beautiful gateway to the monastery, one of the most important monuments on the site, now totally unique in Ireland (probably built between 900-1200)

St Kevin’s Church with a steeply pitched roof and round tower belfry (12th C)

St Kevin’s Church with a steeply pitched roof and round tower belfry (12th C)

The Cathedral, the largest church on the site, which has a nave, chancel and sacristy (11th and 12th C)

The Cathedral, the largest church on the site, which has a nave, chancel and sacristy (11th and 12th C)

The beautiful 30m high Round Tower

The beautiful 30m high Round Tower

We dressed for cold, wind and rain and headed off for the 3km circuit walk around the lakes. It was a pleasant day, if not very warm, and we especially enjoyed the sounds of the many bird calls as we walked. Very enjoyable.

Walking along the boardwalk

Walking along the boardwalk

Upper lake with water falling down the mountain in the distance

Upper lake with water falling down the mountain in the distance

Lower lake

Lower lake

A lovely Robin fluttering about in the bushes

A lovely Robin fluttering about in the bushes


This is a lovely area with the Wicklow mountains similar to the Scottish highlands - very high, bare hills covered in heather, rugged pine forests and clouds hiding the tops of the mountains.

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One more stop before home - Castledermot - in search of two of the oldest and most beautiful High Crosses in the grounds of St. James Church of Ireland on the site of a monastery founded around 800 by St Dermot which continued until at least the 12thC. A lovely Romanesque archway from that time has been reconstructed at the entrance.

St James's Church of Ireland with Round Tower

St James's Church of Ireland with Round Tower

Reconstruction of the beautiful Romanesque archway

Reconstruction of the beautiful Romanesque archway

These two beautiful High Crosses date from the 9thC. Both sides of each cross have been carved with many images in common: the raven bringing bread to Saints Anthony and Paul in the desert, the Crucifixion, the miracle of the Loaves and Fishes, Daniel in the Lion's Den, Adam and Eve, and richly decorated abstract Celtic designs. The crosses are made from granite which probably explains why these beautiful carvings have survived so well, however it is a testament to the artist's skill with the degree of difficulty carving such intricate images in this hard stone.

The North cross 1

The North cross 1

The North cross 2

The North cross 2


Detail of North cross carvings

Detail of North cross carvings

Detail of North cross carvings

Detail of North cross carvings


The South cross 1

The South cross 1

The  South cross 2

The South cross 2


Detail of South Cross carvings

Detail of South Cross carvings

Detail of South Cross cravings

Detail of South Cross cravings

Other items of interest in the churchyard is a 10thC round tower over 20m high on the north side of the church, a number of early Christian grave slabs, and the only 'hog-back' (a Scandinavian style grave marker) known in Ireland. The 'hog-back' also has intricate carvings, which unfortunately are not visible in this pic.
The only example of a hog-back, a Scandinavian-type grave maker, in Ireland

The only example of a hog-back, a Scandinavian-type grave maker, in Ireland

More lovely Celtic crosses ...

St Kevin's Cross, Glendalough, an example of a plain cross remarkably carved from a single granite stone. The arms of the cross are over a metre in length. The cross stands about 2.5m tall.

St Kevin's Cross, Glendalough, an example of a plain cross remarkably carved from a single granite stone. The arms of the cross are over a metre in length. The cross stands about 2.5m tall.


Cross on grave at Glendalough village.  Not sure when erected, but graves dated 1693 and 1894.

Cross on grave at Glendalough village. Not sure when erected, but graves dated 1693 and 1894.


A lovely cross, recently erected in memory of those buried in the Abbeystrowry Cemetery

A lovely cross, recently erected in memory of those buried in the Abbeystrowry Cemetery

I love the crosses, and enjoyed searching for them during our trip.
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Posted by patsaunder 11:56 Archived in Ireland Tagged churches buildings places historical Comments (0)

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