Galway, Adare Village, Bunratty Castle #Ireland #goaheadtours

23 November 2014

Leaving Killarney we all wished Michelle from Tampa a very Happy Birthday and made our way up to Adare Village in County Limmerick. Adare has been voted the most beautiful village in all of Ireland, And it really is. It dates back to pre 1200A.D.  Adare means River Crossing at the Oak. The village has many Norman buildings constructed of stone. The Normans would endow churches and monasteries to "pray for their souls."

To get to Adare we traveled through Rathkeale, (Irish: Ráth Caola, meaning "Caola's ringfort") a town in west County Limerick. It is located 30 km (18 mi) southwest of Limerick city on the N21 road to Tralee, and lies on the River Deel. Rathkeale has a significant Irish Traveller population-(Irish: an lucht siúil) also called pavee, tinkers or gypsies, who are a traditionally itinerant ethnic group. The movie "Snatch" starring Brad Pitt highlights some of the famed Travellers boxing matches.

Desmond Castle in Adare
This castle was erected with an ancient ring-fort, around the early part of the 13th century. It became a strategic fortress during the following turbulent years. It was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years until the rebellion in 1536, when it was forfeited and granted to the Earls of Desmond who gave the castle its present name. 

Situated next to the Adare Heritage Center , this is the only recorded Trinitarian monastery in Ireland. It was originally built by the Fitzgerald Clan for the Trinitarian order of monks in the early 13th century. This order of friars was founded in France, following the Holy-Land Crusades, with the main purpose of raising ransom money in order to rescue Christian captives taken by the Moors, during the crusade wars.

It is believed that the Trinitarian monks who came to Adare may have come from Scotland. The monastery was suppressed and badly damaged during the reign of King Henry VIII. Repaired and enlarged in the mid 19th century, the building is, today, called the "Holy Trinity Abbey" and is used as the local Roman Catholic Church. A visit to this historical and beautiful building is highly recommended.

Leaving Adare we next headed to Bunratty Castle. Bunratty Castle is a large 15th century tower house in County Clare. It is located in the centre of Bunratty village, by the N18 road between Limerick and Ennis, near Shannon Town and its airport.

The site on which Bunratty Castle stands was in origin a Viking trading camp in 970. The present structure is the last of four castles to be built on the site.
Early History

Robert De Muscegros, a Norman, built the first defensive fortress (an earthen mound with a strong wooden tower on top) in 1250. His lands were later granted to Thomas De Clare who built the first stone castle on the site. About this time Bunratty became a large town of 1,000 inhabitants.
In 1318 Richard De Clare, son of Thomas was killed in a battle between the Irish and the Normans. His followers were routed and the castle and town were completely destroyed. The castle was restored for the King of England but was laid waste in 1332 by the Irish Chieftains of Thomond under the O'Briens and MacNamaras. It lay in ruins for 21 years until it was rebuilt by Sir Thomas Rokeby but was once again attacked by the Irish and the castle remained in Irish hands thereafter.

MacNamaras and O’Briens
The powerful MacNamara family built the present structure around 1425 but by 1475 it had became the stronghold of the O'Briens, the largest clan in North Munster. They ruled the territory of North Munster and lived in great splendor. The castle was surrounded by beautiful gardens and it was reputed to have a herd of 3,000 deer.

Under Henry VIII's 'surrender and re-grant' scheme, the O'Brien's were granted the title 'Earls of Thomond' and they agreed to profess loyalty to the King of England. The reign of the O'Briens came to an end with the arrival of the Cromwellian troops and the castle and its grounds were surrendered. The O'Briens never returned to Bunratty but later they built a beautiful residence at Dromoland Castle, now a luxury 5 star hotel.

Visiting Bunratty Folk Park gives you a glimpse into homes and the environment of Ireland of over a century ago. Set on 26 acres, the impressive park features over 30 buildings in a ‘living’ village and rural setting.
After a quick lunch stop at Durty Nellie's we headed toward Galway.

We checked into our hotel, Harbour Hotel and headed out on a quick walking tour of Galway.
Jay and I went to the Bierhaus on Henry Street for dinner. The food is prepared by Entre-Pans, two funky guys who sure know how to cook! I had the Classic grilled Cheese and Jay chose the SBLPT-Smoked Bacon, Lettuce, Potato (fried), Tomato, mustard, onion , pickle, mayo. Both were delicious. I had a Hot Whiskey and Jay tried the Rudnik Stout.

We walked back along the harbor and reflected on a wonderful day.

Tomorrow we hit the Aran Islands!

Traditions of Ireland
Go Ahead Tours
November 16-26, 2014
Copyright © Nancy Nutile-McMenemy
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