offaly ireland

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Clonmacnoise Castle, County Offaly, Ireland

During the period of 1170-1220 the Anglo-Normans began the colonization of Ireland, building Motte and Bailey Castles throughout the island. The wooden castle that stood on the top of the motte at Clonmacnoise was destroyed by fire and later in 1214 the Justiciar of Ireland, Henry of London, built a stone castle on the motte. This was to guard the bridge across the River Shannon.

The castle was destroyed during the Gaelic Resurgence in the late 13th to early 14th century. Originally it had three stories but very little remains of the castle today. The ruins are very dangerous, delicately balanced in a bizarre but fascinating position on the edge of the mound.

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Leap Castle | Ireland (by Tom Mc Hugh)

Leap Castle was built in Ireland in the late 15th century. Shortly after the castle was built there was a rivalry between two fueding families that culminated in the death of one of the brothers who was a priest and was murdered right in his own chapel on the castle grounds. But that was only the start of the horror. Recently during renovations an oubliette was discovered, which is a pit down which prisoners are thrown to die. It took three cartloads to remove the human remains in the pit. It’s no wonder there are many stories of hauntings at the castle, including the famous Elemental which appears accompanied by the smell of sulphur and rotting flesh.

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In December/January 2016/17, my friend Alice and I spent 4 weeks travelling around Ireland. Come along for the ride as we play back the footage from our Irish Road Trip.

On this first part of the trip, we visit the counties Dublin, Offaly, Westmeath, Carlow, Wicklow, and Wexford.

The Whispering Door’, Clonmacnoise, Co Offaly, Ireland. It dates from the 15th century. According to tradition if two people stand at each side of the door and whisper to the stone, their voices will carry to each other around the curve of the door, remaining unheard by anyone else.

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Clonmacnoise, Co. Offaly, Ireland

Clonmacnoise is an ancient christian monastery site originally founded by St. Ciarán in 546. It later grew into a centre of scholarship, artistry and trade in addition to it’s religious significance before it began to  decline in the 12th century. It was attacked many times by Irish, Viking and Norman raiders seeking it’s rich plunder,  and also served as a burial place for kings. Nearby are the precarious ruins of a 13th century motte-and-bailey castle.

BREAKING: Leitrim and Offaly now "Provisional" Counties

This evening it emerged that Counties Leitrim and Offaly are now Provisional counties, meaning that they have the following 12 months to prove that they are real counties. Failure to satsify an independant panel will result in them merging with the largest bordering county.

More details are available here.