Mom Camp Day 4: This was one of those days when things just seem to go sideways on you. We spent the night at a rather odd hotel in New Ross (a town founded by the Marshal) and we overslept. We had a full day’s agenda that had to be majorly altered. We skipped the Dunbrody Famine Ship as well as Waterford and made our way to the Irish Tintern Abbey.
We made a trip the parent Abbey in Wales last year, (for those interested in the original Abbey). For those of you who don’t know, the Irish Tintern Abbey was founded by the Marshal. He had a pretty rough sea crossing to Ireland. He pledged to found a new Abbey if he made it to shore. Thankfully he made it and he was as good as his word and founded the Abbey.
Personally, having been to both, I prefer the Irish Abbey. The grounds at the Irish Tintern are far more lush and evocative of the past. Unlike it’s parent abbey in Wales, the Irish Tintern is surrounded by lovely forests and walking paths. It also features a lovely bridge that crosses over a small river near the abbey. It is very picturesque! My only complaint was that we didn’t have more time to spend there!
inside the abbey
Next, it was off to Kilkenny another Anglo-Norman city. In Kilkenny we stayed in the castle’s old carriage house that has been converted to a hotel. Very nice. It had an English style garden between the carriage house and the castle across the way.
Kilkenny also prides itself on maintaining a lot of its medieval history. They have the medieval mile you can walk and imagine what the city might have looked it. In town there is also a pub that date backs to the 1300s. Back in the day it was run by a witch! Of course it’s a tourist trap. But with two kids, who could skip it? We were treated to an Irish drum circle lesson.
The Captain also discovered Kilkenny is where Smithwick’s Beer is brewed. So we stopped into the shop for a t-shirt.
Day 3: By day 3 it was time to leave Dublin. We drove down the old military road and the Sally Gap on the way to Glendalough.
We stopped road side to explore a stream and the poor Princess fell in! We had to do a roadside outfit change… It was horribly cold for a Vegas kid with soaked pants and all… Then it was get back in the car for another bit of driving.
At Glendalough we walked the grounds and forests. It’s easy to see how the Irish folk tales started about various bad fairies. The woods were far more lush than our trip to the 100 acre woods in England. Darker and certainty more mysterious!
There we also a high number of ferns!!! This of course was very exciting for us because we love the Incorrigible books (See our reviews: book #2, book #3, book #4. We are still reading #5. But, look for a review of it soon!) In the books, there are A LOT of side bars on the different types of ferns. The desert kids loved seeing them in their natural environment.
And speaking of ferns leaving Glendalough it was time to rush to Ferns! Okay, why Ferns you might ask? Well, it was the seat of power for the kingdom of Leinster. The castle there was built by none other than William Marshal (Shameless plug for my book here!).
Ferns Castle built by William Marshal
Two fire places at Ferns. The lower more primative fireplace may have been built by Strongbow
We made it to the castle just in time for the last tour of the day. Our guide was a delightful young man who was pleased to see we were interested in the Marshal, Strongbow and Diarmait Mac Murchada (Modern Irish: Diarmaid Mac Murchadha), anglicised as Dermot MacMurrough or Dermod MacMurrough. He spent a long time with us discussing the castle history and the history of those men.
Dry moat at Ferns
We also made our way to the Abbey founded by Strongbow as well as the place thought be be Dermot MacMurrough’s grave site. After visiting the grave a small lady bug and we took it as sign from the warlord himself.