Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Ireland :: Exploring Castles

What's a trip to Ireland without seeing a castle? You'll have to put up with my dark photography for this post as it was a bit tough to get the right lighting this time of year even with a few momentary spots of blue sky. The castle here is Bunratty (c. 1250), one of the better preserved examples of what it was like to live in a castle. The link will give you a little tour (if you're thinking about a trip to Ireland this was one to see).

We wondered around the grounds first. Through what was the local village surrounding the castle including a beautiful little church. I was surprised when we got to the castle and saw that the drawbridge was not what I was expecting. I thought it would be wider ... for horses, carts and the like. But we found this one to be the size of a normal door. Right above the door (within the castle) was a hole called the "murder hole" where enemies who ventured in during a raid would be doused with boiling hot oil. Ouch!

Once inside the castle we were amazed that the way to move around were tight spiral stairways that would open up to large rooms. I was even more lighting challenged inside! But managed to get a few pics of armor, carvings, tapestries and stain glass windows. Just for a bit of fun I was looking for history behind the castles and ran across an episode of haunted ones. It actually has some beautiful scenery across Ireland if you can get past all the silly ghost stories!

I didn't take pictures of the village. Apparently the castle is turned into Santa's Grotto during the holidays. So weird to see fake, felt snow on the thatch roofs with Snow White and her dwarfs out in the yard? I just have to ask ... what is it with people and their Christmas sweaters? We saw them everywhere, in their ridiculous glory. And what says Christmas better than a gigantic blow up sweater (the size of a house!)? Yes, right in the middle of Santa's Grotto.

18 comments:

Marcela Gmd said...

Wow beautiful photos and post!!!
Happy New Year for you!!!:)))
Have a good week!! and my g+ for your post!!!:)))

Besos, desde EspaƱa, Marcela♥

Sharyl said...

Oh, I'm so hoping for a trip to Ireland myself! Thanks for your post!

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Amazing! Seeing these types of castles in person would be a dream come true for me. What an incredible trip you had!

Christine Altmiller said...

the castle photos have such a feel to them...it must have been fascinating being in side.

Annette said...

You managed to get some great photos! The sweaters gave me a giggle this morning!

Monique (A Half-Baked Notion) said...

*TeeHee* these folk have obviously gotten in touch with their inner Christmas Elf, Cynthia :) I suppose when you live amongst castles, the excitement has to come from somewhere else!

Thanks for sharing these awesome pics (I didn't find them "dark", rather it made it easier to imagine living in that time, which was lit only by fire.)

Patti Vanderbloemen said...

Cannot even imagine living in the 19 Century, much less the 13th...can you? Although, people tended to be my height (short!) so maybe that's why spaces were tight! Murder hole...just the name is eerie! Ugly Christmas Sweaters - they are everywhere!!!!

Karen said...

Looks like great fun - exploring old Irish castles. I just started reading "The Outlander" series so I enjoyed seeing the video. Safe travels!

BeadedTail said...

I can't imagine seeing a castle in real life but I enjoyed your photos! Now I wish I had gone to Ireland last summer as I planned but I will someday!

Memories for Life said...

Ha! The blowup sweater is too funny! If I even needed to win an ugly sweater competition, I could just shop my mom's closet. Shhh...don't tell her I said that :)
The castle looks like a fun visit!

BIKBIK AND RORO said...

Ooh, how lovely you got to experience all these things! I'd love to go to Ireland again (haven't been since I was little). The history of those castles -- amazing.

Caron Michelle said...

I'm enjoying following your travels, looks like you had a fabulous time!

Caron Michelle said...

I'm enjoying following your travels, looks like you had a fabulous time!

Miss Val's Creations said...

The castle architecture is amazing. The murder hole is very creative! I'm sure it came in handy back in the day. I love that big blow up ugly Christmas sweater! That's awesome!

Claudia Aguilar said...

Murder hole? ouch! I would not pick in there! I'd love to go to a castle one day!

Magic Love Crow said...

Love the video! Can understand why you mentioned my painting, with that video! LOL! Your pictures are wonderful! Boiling hot oil! Double ouch!!! Still laughing about the sweaters! Take Care ;o)

Duni said...

I also own a Christmas sweater...but not tacky, it's just a nordic design :)
That castle looks amazing and a bit scary too!

Janet Bocciardi said...

Don't you love the texture in all that old ironwork?! I hate to admit that up til maybe 10 years ago I had a Christmas vest I pulled out for Christmas day. I'd never go anywhere in it, but it was just tradition. I cross-stitched many years ago and then put collected Santa pins on it. I'll have to photograph it for next year. lol!

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