I have always enjoyed traveling, even if it meant sleeping in a tent when I was younger. I prefer hotels and cruise cabins now, but the motivation is the same...an adventure waiting to happen. Sometimes you will find me traveling with my husband and/or family. Sometimes I will travel alone, and sometimes I will travel with friends. I hope you find it entertaining to keep up to date with me as I explore the world around me. Warning...I like to take pictures of food so don't read if you're hungry. More adventures await...see ya soon...Amy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Killucan, Clonmacnoise and Athlone

Mom found the license plates really interesting. The words across the top are the County.

This is what it looks like to drive on the left hand side of the road.

we passed through several little towns on our way to Killucan

Killucan was our destination and Mullingar is where we ate lunch. This sign also shows their names in Gaelic.


In another town, mom saw a man walking down the street with one of these giant ice cream cones under his arm. It made her laugh out loud. I made them both laugh when I asked to take their picture with this cone outside of the grocery store. We were presented with several opportunities to try this particular ice cream, but it never seemed to be the right time.


The Market House of Killucan completed by 1838. The Market House served as a center for the people of the area where the buying and selling of farm produce took place.

St. Etchen's Church

The church is being refurbished and we scared this man half to death when we stepped inside. I think he's done a really nice job. He said the church was in really bad shape when they started.

We took a walk all around the outside wandering in and among the ancient tombstones. We didn't know this when we traveled here, but Col. Edward Pakenham, who led the British Army in the Battle of New Orleans, is buried in his family's vault underneath this church! His body was shipped back to Ireland in a Rum Cask.

St. Etchen's through the window of the remains of the medieval monastery.

St. Etchen's to the left and the monastery remains to the right.

what's left of the monastery

Mullingar for lunch

our lunch spot

we saw stone fences not only along the sides of the road, but they served as land dividers in pasture land

hedges are also used as dividers in pasture land and we suspect they have grown up and around stone walls

we didn't see many farmers working so this was a treat to see someone moving a tractor

we found that a lot of new construction of homes had stonework like the historic homes

We think this guy read Rick Steve's suggestion to get the "learner" sticker to go on the window when you are a right hand driver driving on the left hand side, like us! We didn't know where to get one of those stickers....

Near Clonmacnoise  are the intriguing remains of Clonmacnoise Castle built by the Chief Governor of Ireland in 1214. It was destroyed as early as 1300. The ruins balance precariously on the edge of the hill, looking as though they fell out of the sky and lodged themselves there. The River Shannon flows in the background.

Clonmacnoise....I adored all of the crosses on the tombstones.

This is a replica of the Cross of the Scriptures...a High Cross in front of the largest building called The Cathedral

what is it about moss on a tombstone that makes it so interesting?

Inside the ruins of The Cathedral of Clonmacnoise

Replica of the South Cross, another High Cross next to Temple Dowling.  The original of this cross and the Cross of the Scriptures is located in the Visitor's Center.

The King's Church (c.1200). At least seven generations of Melaghlin Kings are said to be buried underneath the structure.

Temple Finghin & McCarthy's Tower (c.1160)

Temple Connor (c.1200)

The original Cross of the Scriptures

Sculptures of saints over the north door of the Cathedral (c.1450)

can you see the dragon in the far left of the carving?

Temple Ciaran, the smallest church of Clonmacnoise and the reputed burial site of St. Ciaran, who founded Clonmacnoise.

Sheep marked with pink and blue on their hindquarters. Sometimes these markings indicate which sheep have been bred, but some are also the marks of owners as the sheep tend to free roam together and the owners have to keep up with whose sheep are whose.

The most beautiful double rainbow encircled us as we left Clonmacnoise and headed toward Athlone.

Entering Athlone

We stopped at a mall in Athlone to get some hankies for Dad and found it very much like our malls back home except for maybe this fruit and vegetable market and the butcher shop next door.

interior of the mall

how many malls have a butcher shop inside?

St. Mary's Church of Ireland in Athlone built c.1827

the interior of the church

The River Shannon, the longest river in Ireland

Get your shoes repaired while you shop for tackle!

We saw highway artwork like this in several places. This is the only one I was able to get a shot of.
The day started out bright and sunshiny with a brilliant blue sky. Regardless, we packed our raincoats and umbrellas because the weather literally turns on a dime. We ate a great breakfast here in the hotel and took a little later start to our day to avoid some of the morning traffic in Dublin. Our main objective today was to visit County Westmeath where Dad's ancestor, Daniel Malone claims to have been from in the 1800's. We did not know the exact town, but another researcher found a record that possibly linked his family to the little village of Killucan. The record she found was a tithe record that showed the only Malone family listed in Westmeath in that time period was located in that village and fits into the profile given for Daniel Malone. He came to America (North Carolina) as a really young man as an indentured servant and nothing at all is known about his history prior to his arrival. We traveled to Killucan through towns named Maynouth, Kilcock, Enfield, and Kinnegad. Upon arrival to Killucan, we stopped at the town grocery for the toilet and some coffee for Dad. We struck up a conversation with some locals there, but had a really hard time understanding their thick Irish accent! We walked a little around town and spent some time wandering around a church that was built in the 1800's, but is on a site dating back to the Renaissance era. There are ruins at the back of the church from that time period. We left Killucan and drove into Mullingar for lunch at a small sandwich shop. Our next stop was Clonmacnoise and we drove through Houseleap and Moate on the way. Clonmacnoise is the ruins of an old monastery dating back to between 545 and 548. It was one of two very famous monasteries of its time and visited by scholars from all over Europe. It was attacked frequently between the 8th and 12th centuries mostly by the Irish, the Vikings, and the Anglo-Normans. The original wood structures were replaced in the 9th century  by the stone structures that we saw in ruin. By the 11th century, the population of less than 10 men grew to between 1500 to 2000. When the town of Athlone was built, the monastery was no longer on a major route across Ireland. Because of this, it is speculated that the popularity of the monastery declined and it's population decreased. The crosses on the graves were beautiful and I really enjoyed walking around among the ruins trying to read the really old tombstones. I told Danny I was picking out my cross for him to carry home for my grave. Its a running joke that I would like a "vintage" tombstone and apparently the only way to have one of those is to lift it from someone else's grave.Considering you can't read any of the inscriptions on the tombstones, I don't think anyone would ever notice...except TSA as we tried to get it on the airplane! We left Clonmacnoise and drove through Shannonbridge to Athlone, our furthest point for the day. There was a GORGEOUS double rainbow right in front of us as we drove because there was rain all around and sunshine all around, imagine that! We found a little mini mall in Athlone  to pick up something Dad needed, walked through the town to see the Shannon River, the longest river in Ireland, and got a coffee for the drive home. It took about 1 1/2 hours to go back to Dublin and we ate a late dinner at Il Posto, an Italian restaurant. Danny and I ate some ice cream at Murphy's, and Mom and Dad tried a gelato place near the restaurant. Tomorrow we will leave Dublin and drive south to Waterford. Until then....

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