February 2010.

28th February, 2010:  Yesterday I went off to Duntryleague and saw the passage tomb.  What a site...great views and a wonderful tomb.  I think I spent about an hour up there.  Also went off to Tipperary and saw a very nice court and wedge tomb and will get these posted up when I can.  I'm glad I got out to these places as I felt the ancient sites on the Standing Stone were lacking somewhat and these will vastly improve that aspect of the site. Laois next weekend...churches and castles!

23rd February, 2010:  This weekend it's back to Limerick and then off to Tipperary.  I'm going to climb Duntryleague mountain to see the remains of a passage tomb up there and them it's off to see some wedge and court tombs in Limerick.  It's all ancient this weekend.  Over the next few weeks I am planning to get to some castles, barrows and churches in Laois and I also want to get back to Carlow so see some more standing stones and more of the abundance of fine churches they have done there.  I've got Offaly and Tipperary sites coming out of my ears at the moment so there will be no shortage of those appearing on the site.  But I'm running low on Laois and Carlow sites so they will be a focus for a bit...with the occasional trip to Limerick.

17th February, 2010:  Limerick has landed on The Standing Stone.  It has happened much earlier that I anticipated which is great but the time was opportune!  Of course, there is just one site listed at the moment but I have another dozen in the waiting and have planned some more trips to Limerick sites in the coming months.

14th February, 2010:  I made it up to Lough Gur today and wow what a place! I arrived to find that the Lough was trapped in a bubble of fog.  I started at the main stone circle at Grange which is the largest in Ireland.  It is right by the road but with the fog I felt like I was miles from anywhere.  I managed to find my way to a nearby circle and two standing stones.  When the fog cleared I made my way around the Lough to a nice church and wedge tomb.  I went up to see some hut sites and found a nice cave that was the entrance to Tir na nOg in Irish mythology.  A great place to visit and one place to which I will be going back multiple times. First Limerick site will be added this week.

12th February, 2010: I think this has been the longest that I have not had any news to post up.  You may have noticed that the updated have been on the slow side as of late.  Between family and work commitments I have been short on time so I haven't been doing that much with the website.  Luckily the family visitors have the same history passion as I so we spent 3 days roaming around the country side looking at various ruins.  I took them to Clonmacnoise which is always a delight to revisit. I photographed the site in detail this time so I will look forward to posting that up.  I also revisited many sites recently to take GPS co-ordinates which I will edit into their respective pages soon.  The three days of roaming took us to some very interesting sites which will be welcome additions to the site.  I devoting a couple of days in the next few weeks to just getting things sorted on the website so I will fix some of the linking problems and get plenty of posts ready to go.  Keep tuning in.

I  am also going to add a few sites in Co. Limerick soon as well.  I'm not fully adding the county to the site but as I work in Limerick I have been to a few sites and it makes sense to add them to the site.  I won't be spending much time in the Limerick country side so I won't be adding sites as often as Laois, Tipperary and Carlow.  I'm spending the day around Lough Gur so I will have plenty of interesting sites to write about.

April 2010.

Friday, 30th April, 2010:  A while ago I announced a new section covering a limited number of sites abroad.  While I haven't abandoned this idea it has been pushed back indefinitely.  There is simply too much in Ireland to cover.  There are now over 130 sites uploaded and I have the same again to get put up. I'm visiting new sites all of the time so I am just going to continue uploading sites and expanding into other counties.  There's a long way to go yet.

Sunday, 25th April, 2010:  What a day!  Managed to pack a lot in down in Limerick today.  In the city there is a small pre-Normal church located in the middle of the modern housing estate.  The church is very nice but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it wasn't next to some trendy new houses.  I moved on to Mungret village and saw the remains of the 4 churches there.  Mungret was really fantastic and seems like it would've been a big community in the past.  I also found a bullaun there.  I then moved in and saw Carrigogunnel castle which reminded me of the Rock of Dunamase.  I'm sure there is a way up to it but where I was there were strict signs against trespassing.  I will try again another day for that when I have researched it more.  Then I stopped at a small church called Kilkeedy.  I know absolutely nothing about it and I can't find anything out about it.  There were the remains of two or three churches here though and was a interesting site.  Askeaton was a fantastic place and well worth the trip.  I met up with local tour guide Anthony Sheehy and he gave me a personal tour of the castle, church and friary.  All were fantastic but the friary was the highlight for me.  It was such a fantastic building with a fantastic history and I can see myself returning here again and again.  I then pressed on down to Monasteranenagh which is about 20km south of Limerick.  This was a also a great place with the remains of three churches.  It was a Cistercian friary and is huge.  Again this must have been a substantial foundation.  My last stop of the day was a small church and round tower near Croom. It is undergoing conservation work at the moment so I couldn't get inside but I was glad to see the work going on.  Next weekend will be a Laois weekend!

Tuesday, 20th April, 2010:  After many requests and a lot of fiddling about I now have maps for each site.  I have added a map link in the menu in the side bar where you can access a map containing the sites on this website.  Also, as new places go up on the site I will put individual maps of their location up as well. Many people have been asking for this and it has been something that I have wanted to do.  I am doing it through Google Maps which seemed like the best option.  Unfortunately the satellite pictures for parts of Ireland aren't that great so zooming in isn't possible in some area unless you switch off the satellite feature in the top right hand corner of the map. All new sites are automatically loaded onto the map and I'm getting the older sites loaded up as fast as possible but it may take me a week or two, so please bear with me.

Wednesday, 14th April, 2010:   Just put up my first site in 10 days!  I've had family over so I haven't really been working on the site but the uploads should be frequent again now.  Took the family down for a day trip to Carlow.  We saw the always impressive portal tomb at Browne's Hill and got there minutes before a coach load of tourists which was fortuitous because it can be a nightmare when covered with people.  We then made the trip over to a modern mock castle called Duckett's Grove.  This is an extremely impressive castle in the vein as Charleville castle but is was destroyed by fire in the 1930's so now stands a ruin.  They have reinstated some of the wonderful gardens here so this place has some other things to see as well.  I think eventually they are going to put in cafes and things like that so it really will be a nice place to take a day out. We then took a trip down to Ballymoon castle which is one of my favourite castles because it is so unusual.  Yet again we had the place to ourselves.  No visits this weekend.  I have been so busy in the last two weeks that I am just looking forward to putting my feet up for the weekend...but I will probably tinker with the site.  There is always something to be done.

Monday, 6th April, 2010: April started off well for me with 21 sites in Tipperary.  I saw the very ruined remains of wedge tomb in the Arra Mountains and then headed North and got to a few tower houses and churches.  I even managed to fit in a medieval castle as well.  One of the tower houses had a sheelanagig which will be a first for The Standing Stone.  After Saturday's day out I have now visited 120 sites this year which in three months is good going.  I will not be able to keep up the same pace all year but it ensures that I will have enough places for regular updates for the rest of 2010 at least.  I have family visiting this week so I will revisiting sites at Lough Gur and will be heading to Carlow for a day.  I will be seeing some sites again as well as fitting a couple of new ones.  I feel like I have been neglecting Laois and Carlow this year so they will be my aims for April. In May I hope to concentrate on Limerick and Kildare and get back into Offaly and Tipperary in June.  It is looking like Galway and Meath could be online by the end of the year...but no promises...I have some busy months ahead of me.  

In other news you can now follow me on Twitter (see the side bar below).  I resisted signing up for some time and eventually set up an account but never really used it.  I have recently had a couple of requests from people to become active on Twitter so that's what I will be doing.  I will Tweet when I'm out and about and will Tweet when new sites are uploaded.  Also don't forget you can also follow me in a reader (again see the sidebar below).

Happy Easter...

January 2010.

Friday, 22nd January, 2010:  It's been a very busy week so the updates have been slow in coming.  I hope to get some time this weekend to just sit down and prepare updates for the next few weeks.  I've been very sporadic in my updates this year and I need to get back into a pattern of posting at regular intervals.  I am hoping to, in time, make it four or five regular updates a week as opposed to the present three. I'm visiting sites faster than I'm posting them up so I need to try and strike a balance.  I may not get anywhere this weekend but if I do go out it will be to somewhere easy like Clonmacnoise where I won't have to plan much in advance.  It's been on my list of places to go for a long time but I just never get around to it.  I've been there countless times but I need to get back and photograph it properly. 

Monday, 18th January, 2010:  I decided to go to Carlow after-all yesterday and I'm glad I did and was lucky enough to have a guest with me.  We managed to get to ten sites in all, which I consider to be a very successful day.  We travelled down to Leighlanbridge and explored that area.  This area appears to have been an ecclesiastical centre for a long time.  You can hardly move for the ruined churches and high cross fragments that scatter the country side.  Only 2 sites escaped us...the first was an early church foundation (pre-Norman) at Agha.  I am definitely going to go back here and try to see it again.  You have to pass through private property to get to this church and it appeared as if the family who lived there were having a gathering so we passed on by.  The other site was a standing stone just outside of Leighlanbridge.  We had not planned on going to this site and couldn't find the farmer so we pressed on.  I would have just hopped the fence but a man walking his dog told us it was best to ask him about it first.

The highlight of the day was Ballymoon Castle which is a large Norman fortress that was probably never even completed.  The huge square structure is great to explore and easy to find.  I will be looking forward to doing a post about that site.

As for next weekend...mmm...Saturday is out...but I may return to Carlow again on Sunday to the same area and may try my luck at Ballynoe portal tomb.  It is notoriously hard to get permission to see the tomb and it is located on a sheep farm so I think I should get there before the lambing starts.

Saturday, 16th January, 2010:  Today I made my first visits of the year.  I only had a few hours spare so I decided to do a couple of easy sites and went to a fortified house near Borris-in-Ossory and a church in Castletown, both in Laois.  I also spent a couple of hours in Roscrea testing out the GPS system.  I got readings for most of the places in the town.  I tried to visit Dungar Castle which is the only site in Roscrea that I've yet to visit.  It's on private land so I'm at the mercy of the owners.  They weren't in so I didn't want to trespass.  I will try again next time I'm visiting sites in that area.  I may need to add an information page about the GPS I use and how you can set yours to be in sync with mine so you can accurately use the co-ordinates I give.

Tuesday, 12th January, 2010: I've finally managed to finish the new indexing system for the sites by category page.  This has made the whole page less messy and should make it more user friendly to navigate.  Although it should be easier for you it is harder for me to maintain it so I may have missed a link or two or put in an incorrect one so please tell me about any linking problems by using the 'Contact Me' page and please use the subject line 'link error'.  I hope this new index makes the site easier to use.

I've been snowed in for 4 days now in the heart of Laois and the snow has come back with abundance today and has left about 5 inches in a few hours on the ground.  This is not boding well for this weekend.  I'm hoping to get down to Carlow and look at some churches and castles near Leighlinbridge.  It's not looking hopeful but that will be my first trip out of the new year when the weather and roads allow!

Friday, 8th January, 2010:  Sorry for the lack of updates this week.  It has been a hectic first week back at work and to top it off I got sick.  I doubt I will make any visits this weekend.  The roads are just too bad and I don't have a 4x4.  If it weren't for the driving conditions I would be be out there for sure, with the recent floods the freezing conditions would make getting through fields much easier.  So I will get plenty of updates prepared and will do four per week for the next two weeks to catch up.

Sunday, 3rd January, 2010:  Good news...the Standing Stone will now include GPS co-ordinates for each site.  Obviously the older posts will not have this but as I revisit sites I will take a reading.  All new sites will have GPS.  However, this may not appear for a while as I have a backlog about about 40 sites to upload...all with no GPS reading.  I'm excited about this as I thought that this wouldn't be happening for a long time yet.

Friday, 1st January, 2010:  Happy New Year to all!  I hope 2010 will be good to you all.  What about the Standing Stone for 2010? Well the main aim is to just keep adding sites and making the database bigger and bigger.  The midlands are horribly under-represented in historical studies and with the lack of conservation work I will continue to record and photograph what I can.  I also hope to expand the focus of this website. I want to include Kildare and Kilkenny but that looks like it won't be possible because of the lack of books about these areas. Unfortunately until the archaeological inventories are published for these areas I cannot do much because I will have no clue as to the history of a site.  I have no problems in analysing a site but the archaological inventories are great for pointing out unusual features of sites and providing some history.  So what leaves me with some other options.  Maybe Wicklow or Meath or possible Galway.  The inventories for Limerick and South Tipperary are allegedly to be published this year and when they arrive they will added immediately.  However, if Limerick doesn't show up this year then it will be Galway, Meath or Wicklow.  If anybody has a preference or any ideas please don't hesitate to contact me.  Anyway, that's the Standing Stone in 2010 and I hope you continue to stick with me and enjoy and website and I thank you for your support.

May 2010.

Tuesday, 11th May, 2010: I haven't been out to many places lately.  It's a busy time at work so it will be a few weeks before I get around to going to places again.  In site related news I am updating some of the earliest pages created on the site.  Over time I have changed the format and have resolved spacing issues and these changes need applying to old pages.  I will do a little each day and will be replacing pictures with hi-res versions and adding maps and additional co-ordinates.  I will also be sorting out the final spacing issues that are still on a few pages.  This will take a few weeks and will not effect your ability to browse the site...only enhance it.

Sunday, 2nd May, 2010:  I had planned to go to Laois this weekend but I had a special request to cover Bodenstown in Co. Kildare so we went there instead.  We covered a lot of ground and saw some really fantastic stuff.  The round tower was finally open in Kildare town so we started there and saw all the wonderful things there within the walls of the graveyard.  The Cathedral is an absolute gem and they really present it well.  We then went down to Old Kilcullen and saw the remains if the round tower and crosses.  It is such a peaceful place and was a great place to have our sandwiches and a cup of tea.  We pressed onto Punchestown and saw the two mammoth standing stones there.  I had wanted to get to these for some time and I was delighted to finally get to them.  The final stop of the day was Bodenstown and the grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone.  I could help but feel national pride rushing to the surface here.  Hopefully Laois next weekend.

News Archives - 2010.

-December, 2010.
-October, 2010.
-September, 2010.
-August, 2010.
-July, 2010.
-June, 2010.
-May, 2010.
-April, 2010.
-March, 2010.
-February, 2010.
-January, 2010. 

Back to 'News.'

January, 2011.

Wednesday, 26th January, 2011:  Well it is nearly February and I haven't been to see a single site yet! This will change this weekend and I am off to Sligo and look at a variety of things including ancient tombs, round towers, high crosses and maybe a few ruins as well. A trip back to Carrowkeel might be on the cards as well. The weekend after that I will be off to Carlow to see a few things. I have nearly run out of places in Carlow to post up so I need to do some work there. I also want to get to Roscommon soon as well as I have nothing at all to post up from there. So hopefully I will be very busy visiting ruins of the next few weeks. Unfortunately I have lost my GPS. I just don't know what I could have done with it. The worst thing about that is that it has all my co-ordinates on it which I stupidly didn't back up. Lesson learned. Unless it shows up soon I will have to get a new one. I have some co-ordinates backed up but not all of them so there will be some gaps in recent posts in regards to GPS co-ordinates.

Saturday, 1st January, 2011: Happy New Year to everyone out there. I hope 2011 is good to you. As for 'The Standing Stone' my plans are to just keep pressing on and explore as much as I can and update as often as I can. The first new sites of the year will be uploaded soon.

December, 2010.

Saturday, 25th December, 2010:  Happy Christmas to all of my readers. Thanks for your support throughout the year and I hope you will still read on in 2011. I have three more updates left for this year and that will make 200 and I will have reached my goal. Hopefully there will be more than 200 sites uploaded next year. The end of the year has been a bit inconsistent with the updates but hopefully I can get back to normal soon! Have a fun time and have a happy new year!

Tuesday, 7th December, 2010: No...I haven't abandoned this site. November was a hectic month. Between family and work pressures I haven't been able to update anything! However, there will be some good updates before the year is out! I have been to Sligo a couple of times recently and to the megalithic cemeteries of Carrowkeel and Carrowmore and I hope to get them online fairly soon. Come the new year normal service should resume! Thanks for your patience...it's been a very stressful and busy few months. 

October, 2010.

Sunday 31st October, 2010: Happy Samhain everyone! That's Halloween if you don't know. Hope you all have a good evening and that the Morrigan doesn't get you! My Clonmacnoise upload is nearing completion, so hopefully over the next day or two it should appear. Time is running away from as of late so updates are not coming as often as I would like. Yesterday I went to Cashel in Tipperary and covered all the town has to offer. Next week I will head to that area again as there is plenty to see in the surrounding areas. Looks like a trip to Sligo is on the cards in the coming weeks...

Monday, 25th October, 2010: Sorry for the total radio silence in the past month. Due to a family bereavement I have been occupied. Updates should resume this week as normal from tomorrow. Sorry for the inconvenience.

September, 2010.

Monday 27th September, 2010: Well it is finally done and dusted. All I have to do is collect it from the binding place and hand it in and then my PhD is hopefully finished. I will have a defence in 6 weeks and that, hopefully, will be it. But you never know. So now I can reclaim a normal life with weekends and get out and about again and start doing regular updates. No update in nearly three weeks was horrible. I will do my best to make sure there are plenty in the coming weeks. There's another 'megameet' happening soon and a bunch of us are heading around Laois and Tipperary in the search for stones! It should be a good day out and I will tell you about it after it happens. Can't wait to get back out there.

Wednesday, 8th September, 2010: Sorry for the lack of updates lately. I've been extremely busy with my PhD which should be finished in two weeks and then it will be back to normal service but I hope to squeeze in a few updates in the next week or so. Having some serious spacing issues that whenever I edit a page all the paragraph breaks disappear and have to be put back in but they do not always remain there so I apologise if a few pages, including the home page, look a little odd for a while. I'm searching for a solution but have had no luck so far!

November 2009.

Sunday,  29th November, 2009:  Sorry about the lack of updates lately.  I was away in New Orleans for work and was unable to do anything with the site.  Plus, when I got back I was pretty ill so I just wasn't up to doing updates.  I will resume tomorrow with a site in Co. Carlow.  I did manage to get out on Friday and took some friends up to Newgrange in Co. Meath.  Meath is a county that I am really looking forward to getting on this site so I was glad to see Newgrange again. It amazes me that even at this time of year the site attracts huge volumes of people.  Anyway, I'm back updating and will hopefully get out to a site or two this weekend.

Wednesday, 18th November, 2009:  As you know I try to do three updates per week.  Unfortunately I will be extremely tied up with work over the next 10 days so there will be no more updates this week and only one next week.  I will resume normal updates after next week.  The site is still growing so bare with me as I update the glossary and menu systems.  The one thing they don't tell you when you set out to do a website is how much work and menus and things are...they take up more time than the actual posts.  But slowly and surely it is coming together!

Monday, 16th November, 2009: My apologies to followers and readers of this website.  I  accidentally posted a review of Yusuf Islam - Live in Dublin on my private site and it went onto the Standing Stone by mistake.  I removed it immediately but it may have found its way into readers.  Sorry about that...

Saturday, 14th November, 2009:  Fantastic day today.  We went into Tipperary and visited an astounding 16 sites.  I don't think I've got around to that many before in a single day.  It was also an amazing array of sites.  We saw; ringforts, standing stones, passage tombs, churches, tower houses and a medieval bridge.  I'm looking forward to getting these sites loaded up.  Unfortunately these will be my last visits for a fortnight but I've so many sites to post up that I won't be slowing down on the updates.

Monday, 9th November, 2009:  Just a couple of quick things.  Firstly, Carlow is now part of this site.  I've only uploaded one site so far but will upload more in the coming weeks.  I look forward to adding another county or two in 2010.  Secondly, the glossary pages are all slowly being updated to include pictures and are being interlinked which should make navigation easier.  Finally, all pictures now being uploaded are high resolution.  If you simply click on a picture you will see a larger hi-res version.  The older posts still have compressed pictures but in time I will replace these which is a big task but worthwhile in the long run.  There is still so much to do with the glossary and menus - not to mention the actual posts - that it will take me some time to replace all the old photos. It's looking like Offaly or Tipperary this weekend - I'm in two minds.

Saturday, 7th November, 2009:  What a day!  Windy, rainy and cold but extremely successful.  I finally made it down to Carlow and saw plenty of stuff.  The famous 'Brownshill Dolmen' was spectacular with its huge 150 ton capstone.  Ran into a bit of bad weather on the way to a couple of standing stones which we never got to see but we ran into an old church which was quite unusual and unfortunately very overgrown. Made a detour to see a bullaun stone at a modern Church of Ireland church.  There was also a Holy Well nearby that I was unable to locate.  A small standing stone was the next stop and then onto another portal dolmen which was the highlight of the day and is now the header to the website.  Unfortunately we didn't get to see the stone pair at Rathglass but the weather was too bad and it looked like a lot of fence hopping and cattle dodging - they can wait for another day.  In Laois we stopped by the Cist burial at Manger which was fantastic.  I had been meaning to get there for a long time and it didn't dissapoint.  Finally we saw a ruined medieval church near Stradbally...what a find!  It was by far the best ecclesiastical site I have seen in Laois and one of the most unusual.

Sunday, 1st November, 2009:  The glossary updates have been completed with only a few pages needing to be re-linked.  I managed to do it without subscribers and readers being disturbed too much by it.

No visits this week...in Ireland.  I was in England all week and saw many sites over there.  I am going to add a new section to the this site about sites I have visited outside of Ireland.  Obviously this will be a much smaller portion of the site compared to the Irish sites.  This weekend I will be finally heading over to Carlow and up into Tipperary to see some standing stones.

Back to 'News Archives - 2009'.

October 2009.

Tuesday, 20th October, 2009:  I will be updating the glossary pages and 'Sites by County' pages on Friday 23rd October.  I apologise in advance for clogging up your readers for the day but these are necessary updates that will make the site easier to navigate.  The 'Sites by Category' page will also be updated in November. 

Saturday, 17th  October, 2009:  So Carlow is out for October.  I had hoped to get some Carlow sites uploaded before the month was out but that's not going to happen.  I won't be getting any visits in this weekend afterall.  I'm going to be overhauling the glossary soon which will involve publishing many new pages.  For anybody reading this site in a reader it will clog you up for a day.  I will let you know in advance when I do this but it will have to be done in one day so that the glossary will still work properly.  The glossary has got too big and it becoming a pain to scroll down through it so I will be creating separate pages for every letter of the alphabet so there will be 26 uploads in one day.  I will also be updating the 'Sites by County' and 'Sites by Category' pages in a similar fashion, but I will be doing these on different days and these won't be huge like the glossary.  No visits for a while now as I will be in England for a while but I will be going to see some megalithic sites while there and may do some posts about them.

Saturday, 10th October, 2009:  Couldn't make Carlow this weekend after.  While I was in Roscrea doing some shopping I stopped at a couple of small sitesOnly the Roscrea pillar eludes me now which I won't be able to see until April because the museum has shut for the winter due to cut backs.  Next weekend I should be off to Tipperary on Saturday and Carlow on Sunday all being well.  This week I will be posting up Charleville castle and Clonony castle in Offaly.  They are both interesting places and these will be more substantial posts than the ones I have been doing lately.

Thursday, 8th October, 2009: I've update the posts on the Timoney Stones and Cullaun with new information and pictures.  I have also begun to add longitude and latitude refs to all the posts.  I have have adjusted about half of the posts now and will get around to the other half in the next couple of days.  I'm also wirking a some mire substabtial posts for the next few weeks.  I have been somewhat restricted of time as of late and therefore have been uploading some smaller sites.  Hopefully off to Carlow this weekend and will get a couple of Carlow sites uploaded soon.

Monday, 5th October, 2009:  This weekend was full of interesting visits.  Castlecuffe fortified house in Laois will be a welcome addition to the site as will an array of other sites.  I revisited the Timoney stones and those at Cullaun and saw many more this time and found that many of the stones for pairs and have either a N-S or an E-W alignment.  We then went and saw a few interesting barrows and a ringfort and I finally got to see the standing stone at Newtown/Skirk which I have failed to see on multiple occasions...turns out I was slightly in the wrong place which I will explain when I finally post about it.  I've also updated the header to the website which I think suits it much better.  Feedback is always welcome. I will also be updating the Timoney and Cullaun pages soon with much more information and theories about the sites.

Friday, 2nd October, 2009:  I will be off to see something this weekend but I have no idea what yet.  I will have company so it might be revisits and I'm thinking of maybe going back to the Timoney stones and to see the stones at Cullaun.  I still  haven't seen half of what's there so that might be worthwhile.  Also I am intending to update all posts soon to include longitude and latitude as well as links to nearby sites.  In the long run I hope to add GPS co-ordinates.

Back to 'News Archives - 2009'.

September 2009.

Monday, 28th September, 2009:  Yesterday was a productive day and I got to some barrows, ringforts, ecclesiastical sites and fortified houses.  I now have a backlog of about 30 sites and hope to get about 3 sites up a week.  I'm not going to flood the site with these places as there will be some weekends when I can't get out to see anything so it's best to have some places in reserve.  Also I have finally finished the chronology of Irish history page.  It is only basic and only meant to give people an idea of when certain periods were in history.

Saturday, 26th September, 2009:  Yet again I have been slow to post stuff up this week.  This is mainly because I have been busy with work this past week.  I am hoping to have a bit of an overhaul done on the site this week also.  You will note the animation on the homepage which looks great but needs to be sorted.  It is really just an experiment at the moment but should be replaced soon with a standing stone one again.  Also you will note that the notice saying 'look out for Kildare coming in 2010' had gone and been replaced with 'look out for county Carlow coming soon'.  I have decided to go ahead and add Carlow before Kildare.  This is mainly beccause I want to get some of Carlow's wonderful portal tombs on this site.  Laois and Offaly are not blessed with such monuments and I have been giving a lot of space over to castles lately so I want to get some more ancient stuff up as well.  Tomorrow I intend to go and see a few barrows which should be interesting...again I have no barrows up on this site so I want to get a bit of balance going since there are more barrows and ringforts than anything else out there.  Hopefully I will have some Carlow site up by the end of October.

Sunday, 20th September, 2009:  Went off to Offaly today and up to the area around Leap castle.  I wanted to see Ballywilliam megalithic tomb - which is unclassified but nobody was home at the farm where the access was.  I revisited Churchland and took a few extra pics which I will post up soon.  I then went to Ballymooney castle which is a fortified house in poor condition.  Worth a visit as the castle had somewhat of an unusual plan.  Tipperary next weekend I think!

Saturday, 19th September, 2009:  Went to Roscrea today and finally saw the castle there.  It has been refurbished and done up for the tourists.  The groin vault in the castle really took my breath away...I have never seen such a great example.  The upper floor of the castle was a little too touristy for my liking but the information was good.  Damer House, located on the same grounds, is also fantastic with many small exhibitions inside.  I then went down to the friary and off to the remains of the Romanesque church and round tower.  Unfortunately the museum there was closed for lunch so I might go back there tomorrow to finish up the tour of the town.  the only thing I was unable to locate was the Roscrea pillar, which is a small pillar with early Christian decoration on.  This is the second time that I have failed to see it.  I'm sure they will tell me where it is at the museum tomorrow.  I have a small list of place that I'll hopefully get to tomorrow including a couple of megalithic tombs and a fortified house.

Saturday, 12th September, 2009: I'm not going to manage to get to anywhere this week.  I've been extremely busy and haven't even been able to post anything.  I was hoping to get to Roscrea and cover the town but it wasn't meant to be.  I've got 24 sites backed up which I need to get posted so hopefully this week I will get a couple of sites up onto the blog.  I'm working on a post about Monaincha abbey and high cross just outside Roscrea which should hopefully be up tomorrow with picture.  Monaincha is one of my favourite sites that I have seen in Ireland so far and you will see why.

Sunday, 5th September 2009: Clonmacnoise didn't happen today after all because of the extremely bad weather.  I'm going to invest in some proper water-proofs since this is the wrong country to be put off by weather.  I still went to Clonony castle since I had an appointment and knew it would be indoors.  It was fantastic and the owner/restorer is doing a fantastic job in the conservation and restoration of the castle inspite of un-neccesary opposition from Dublin.  I will post about this castle in the next week or so I hope.  If you end up there be sure to give a donation towards the restoration project.

Saturday, 4th September 2009: Just got back from an interesting day.  I went up to Tullamore and had a look at the churches at Lynally and Rahan.  Both were fascinating sites and the owner of Lynally, Mr. Mooney, was gracious enough to give me an insightful tour of the church and grounds.  We then pressed on to Charleville castle, which was busy with a festival happening soon, but they gave me a tour nonetheless.  It might be a while befor I get these places onto the site.  They have a lot of history attatched to them.  Tomorrow - Clonony and Clonmacnoise.

Thursday, 3rd September 2009: I will be going to see Clonony castle on Sunday and will pop over to Clonmacnoise again and get that photographed and I'm going to try and hunt down a nearby holy well as well as some rock art.  I'm off to see Charleville castle next weekend and am trying to arrange a proper visit to Leap castle so I can cover the inside of the castle.

Tuesday, 1st September 2009:  Looks like this weekend will be full of castles.  I've been in contact with the owners of the recently refurbished Clonony castle in Offaly as well as Charleville castle near Tullamore.  I'm hopefully going to see both on Saturday.  While at Clonony I might pop into Clonmacnoise as that place needs to get up on this site.  I'm hoping to follow the Grand Canal westwards in Tullamore also at there are about 4 castles and a standing stone as well as an ecclesiastical site all in a 8km stretch along there.  I'm going to be busy!

Back to 'News Archives - 2009'

August 2009.

Sunday, 30th August 2009:  Yesterday was a pretty interesting day.  I headed over to Nenagh to explore the vicinity.  First on my list was Ballintotty tower house, just outside the town.  I pass by this towerhouse every week and it has always intrigued me.  This was the first place that I was refused entry to.  The lady at the farmhouse clearly couldn't be bothered to go and get the key to let me into the castle but I was told I was allowed to look at the outside (which I can do from the road).  I decided to go and have a closer look in case there was something interesting that can't be seen from a distance but, as is a common occurrence the bullocks took and interest in me and I couldn't even get into the field.  Next stop was Knockalton/Lisbunny standing stone and this was again an epic failure.  There was so much cattle moving going on that I couldn't get near it.  Cattle were starting to be the bane of my day. I decided to change course and head to Rathurles church and castle.  The castle is nearly gone now and is so overgrown that I didn't even take a picture because it was that hard to make out.  I started up a track to the church which is situated in a ringfort and got covered in manure and then was cut off by electric fences across the track.  Obviously visitors were not wanted here.  A quick look at the OS map and I realised I could reach it from the other side of the hill.  Luckily on this side I managed to get permission and headed up after negotiating a tricky electric fence.  The track wasn't half as muddy on this side and I finally got there and let me tell you it was all worth it.  It is an unusual site.  The ring-fort is now a ring of trees and the church is in the middle of it.  It is a great clashing of eras.  The walls and apexes of the church survive but the interior is now full of trees.  To the side of teh church is a little family burial ground.  I nearly had an Indiana Jones moment here while snapping a photo of a grave I put my foot on it and heard a snap as the concrete top began to give way.  I got off there pretty quickly before any damage was done - it was already cracked.  As I was stood at the side of the grave I noticed my feet slowly sinking at the whole area around this grave was also unstable.  It wasn't boggy but was slowly collapsing into the tomb.  I got away from there pretty quickly before any lasting damage was done.  I headed into the church and was snapping pics when I notice something moving about three feet to my left and looked down to see a large badger asleep on the ground.  It was facing away from me and didn't seem to notice me.  I backed away and got out of the church.  I observed it through the window and it appeared to be sick, it didn't respond to me and seemed to be breathing heavily.  I left it alone.

I made my way into Nenagh to see the castle which was closed for renovations and then I headed to the friary which was also closed.  It was frustrating that I had only got to see 1 out the 5 sites I had attempted to see so far.  I went back to Knockalton/Lisbunny and saw the standing stone which was over 2m tall so I was quite happy with that.  Finally I went across the road and saw and old church which was all but gone and a hall-house which was impressive but in dire need of conservation.

All in all a good day in spite of not seeing everything.

On another note the post about Old Kyle is updated with pictures of the bullaun and cross-slabs.
I hope to get a lot of sites put up here soon as I have about a backlog of 20 and want to get these up since I'm getting to about 5 sites per week at the moment.

Back to 'News Archives - 2009'

July, 2010.

Sunday, 25th July, 2010: What a day! Yesterday was fantastic. It was the Megalithomania-meet-up we decided to go to Rath Croghan in Co. Roscommon which was where the kings of Connaught had their throne. We met at the visitors centre, had a coffee and got acquainted. We then went to the main mound of Rath Croghan which is simply immense. It is not very high but is extremely wide. The weather was poor at this stage, as was visibility but it soon cleared up and turned into a nice day. There are some other colossal mounds and raths around that we visited and visible from each was RathCroghan which is the focal point of all these other locations. The highlight of the day for me was the souterrain...which is basically a man-made underground tunnel. This one was pretty spacious and had ogham inscriptions on the inside. It was quite long and deep and dropped to about 4m underground and ended in a large cave. I only went down about half way before the light ran out and I didn't fancy going down further in the dark...I should have made my way to the bottom with the others who had the lamp. I will be going back here and I will make sure that I get to the bottom. Apparently it goes further beyond the cave but gets too muddy at that stage. Great day out and great to meet everyone I knew from the Megalithomania.com forums.

Friday, 23rd July, 2010: Well I'm not getting as much posted up as I would like but at least it's fairly regular at the moment. I hope to post something every day next week as I will not be posting at all for the first three weeks of August as I will be away and completely offline. When I get back I will then be in the last month of getting my PhD wrapped up so I will be extremely busy. However, I will be posting up stuff again on a semi-regular basis so if it seems quiet around here for a few weeks I haven't disappeared and the site hasn't finished...I'm just very busy. Towards the end of September work pressures will ease a little and things will return to normal and I will be able to get out and about again and see some sites. There's plenty I want to get to. I had set some rough targets at the beginning of the year in terms of how many places I wanted to visit this year and how much I wanted to have updated the website and all being well I should reach this target. Luckily at the start of the year I saw so many sites that I've only few left to get to to reach that target.

Tomorrow, thanks to Tom FourWinds, there is a gathering of 'Megalithomaniacs' in Roscommon. We're going to explore the ancient complex, Rathcroghan, and it should be a fun day. I will post up stuff next week from this day out and Roscommon will now be part of 'The Standing Stone'. Although there will only be a limited amount of places listed for a good while.

Wednesday, 7th July, 2010: Finally, I'm back and can start making some well needed updates. I will have something up tomorrow morning I hope.

August, 2010.

Saturday, 21st August, 2010: I cheated and went to see a couple of sites today. As you know I'm busy at work for the next month and I'm not getting out to see places but I decided that I would go mad if I didn't get out and decided that every Saturday I would go for a walk for a few hours so I headed over to Lough Gur and walked around the stone circles and wandered over to the stone forts at Carraig Aille. I had known they were there but had always missed them or driven past so it was great to finally get to them. Plus, you can't really cover Lough Gur properly without these cashels. I also spotted a standing stone not far from the Lough that is un-marked so I was pretty happy to find that.

Wednesday, 18th August, 2010: After a lovely holiday in the South of France I am finally back in Ireland and finally back online. I will add a new site tomorrow and try to make up for lost time. I will be uploading Rathcroghan in Co. Roscommon soon which has eleven sites (that's all I managed to get to) so that will be plenty hopefully. Come October I will be out and about again and trying to reach my visit goals for the year which I am nearly at. Only about another 40 places to get to.

Monday, 1st August, 2010: Well there will be no updates for two weeks. I am away for the next fortnight and will not be online. Sorry about this but there's plenty to see now on the site. Have fun and I will look forward to getting some site updates done in a fortnight. Bye for now...

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June 2010.

Wednesday, 30th June, 2010: Sorry about the lack of updates this past week. I'm away at the moment and I connection isn't great so I can't really upload much. I'm back next Wednesday and I will make up for my lack of posts then.

Friday, 25th June, 2010: I've added a mist popular feature in the side-bar. I've recently added a tracker to the site so I can see which pages are being visited the most. I thought it would be interesting to see which places are the most popular. Obviously it will take a few weeks to get an accurate picture...a lot of recent posts are in the top ten but I'm sure the well known places will soon come through. I will update it regularly.

I might head to Laois this weekend. I've been planning a trip for a long time and I want to get to it. I'm nearing the end of a PhD so I won't really be doing many visits so ending with a trip to Laois will be nice. Come September I should be able to start making regular visits to places again. But I do have enough places to upload in the meantime so there will still be regular updates. By the end of the year I think there will be over 250 places listed on the site which I will be delighted with. Hopefully there will also be two more counties up and running on the site by then also.

Monday, 21st June, 2010: Summer solstice! And what fine weather we had for it. The past five years have all been awful so to catch an alignment has been hard. I went to Grange Lios near Lough Gur in Co. Limerick yesterday and today to catch the solstice. It was an amazing experience and you can read about it by clicking here.

Saturday, 19th June, 2010: Had a spin around Tipp today. Fairly successful day but I didn't get to everything I had hoped to so there's another trip to the south of Tipp to be had soon.

I started off at Ballinlough. Great standing stone there and quite a monster but in a horrible location in a hedge next to a farm and road. I couldn't get to the barrow across the road because cattle were being moved about. Plus it's not completely grown over so maybe a winter trip is in order.

I moved on and made my way to Bauraglanna stone circle in the Silvermines...what a great place. Getting there is interesting as the road gets narrower and narrower and I parked up next to an old abandoned cottage. The trackway (and that's being generous) is nearly completely overgrown and because it was so warm I wasn't wearing a jacket so I got ripped to shreds trying to get through the gorse. Eventually I got there and over the gates and started the hunt for the circle. There seemed to be the faintest path through the grass and lo and behold it led me to the circle. What a location for a circle...you can see why they chose the site. It's great. I sat here and had a cup of coffee and just took the place in for a while.

Next it was down to Knockcurraghbola Commons and to the wedge tomb. Again, great place and really friendly owners. The farmer asked me a 1001 questions about my boots and seemed thrilled that I was there to see the tomb. There was even a gate in the fence just for the tomb. I really liked this place. There were wonderful purple flowers growing around the tomb which really made the site come to life. Freeze thaw seems to be effecting this site as big chunks of the capstones are starting to break off. There was an odd stone with two holes drilled through and grooves in the side. I have no idea what this is...I'm assuming it's a later stone.

I tried to see the other tombs in the nearby crowlands but cattle were being moved again! Bad luck. I had a quick look at Loughbrack wedge tomb but a rather threatening horse wouldn't let me into see it...so I had to look from a distance.

Stopped at Donohill on the way down south...really nice motte and bailey here...unusual. Time was ticking on and I decided to skip Shrough and head for St Berrihert's Kyle...horses again! A few immediately came to the gate and one started doing that threatening gesture with the hooves so that was a no go. When I got home I realised Toureen Peacaun was nearby...argh! Well, those two along with Shrough and Corderry give me an excuse to go back. I really want to get to St Berrihert's...it looks fantastic.

Stopped at Pallas Green castle on the way home and that was that...set the alarm for 3am...off to see the sun rise at Lough Gur...

Monday, 14th June, 2010: Can't believe it's been a month since I last had any news for you.  It's been a quiet month and I didn't manage to get out to anywhere in May which was disappointing but these things happen.  Needless to say June should hopefully be much busier.  Last weekend I managed to get to some cross slabs and church in Laois and this coming weekend I will be revisiting Leap Castle.  On my first visit I only managed to get a few external pics but I have been in contact with the owner and I will be getting inside this Friday I hope! Saturday hold tombs and standing stones in Tipperary for me.  There's loads of tombs and couple stone circles in the Silvermines that I'd like to get to weather permitting.  Also it is the summer solstice this weekend and I will be heading down to Lough Gur to watch the sunrise through the entrance of the stone circle at Grange.  Early start!  I'm heading there a day early to see when it will hopefully fairly quiet there.  Hope to see some of you there!

Also the site updates are coming along nicely...albeit slowly. I've completely re-published many early posts with updated information, formats and pictures and hopefully they should be all completed in a few weeks.  Then, at last, all the posts will be consistent with the same format.  I am also replacing all early pictures with hi-res versions. When I started the site I had to compress all my pictures but now I can upload hi-res so all the compressed pictures are on their way out!  I'll get there eventually!

Surprisingly it looks like Roscommon maybe the next county to be added. I'll be heading for a trip out there in late July and I might as well use that as an excuse to carry on with that county. Kilkenny, Clare and Galway should follow soon after.  I hope to add two more counties this year at least.

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March 2010.

Saturday, 20th March, 2010:  No visits this weekend.  I had hoped to get out to see some places, especially with the equinox tomorrow.  I was going to set off a tomb somewhere to see a solar alignment but illness has kept me at home.  On the plus site I have prepared updates for the next few weeks which is good.  Kildare will be up and running this weeks with all the updates coming from that county.  I'm giving Kildare a kickstart and have chosen places with multiple subsites so that by the end of the week Kildare will have 20 site online.  Also this week I will have over 100 places on this site.  I know it's not much compared to other sites but it's a start.  To me this was the first major hurdle to get over.  The hit counter is steadily going up and people are leaving comments and contacting me which is fantastic and helps to keep this site going because if nobody read it then there would be no point keeping it going...so thank you.  The plan is to just keep uploading sites and keep expanding into other counties.  I've added two counties this year already and hope to add another one or two by the end of the year.  I don't want to spread myself too thin so I will not add another county until I have at least 25 in every other county online.  Galway and/or Kilkenny are likely counties to be added next.  Meath and Wicklow are two other possibilities.  With 32 counties to get to I have to add two or three a year just to get to them all within a decade...and to be honest I do see this sight going that long.  This is a long term project and a long term database...and it is your continued support that keeps it going.

Tuesday, 16th March 2010:  This weekend I went off to the Curragh in Kildare (Little Curragh to be precise) to see the barrow cemetery that is there.  I saw about ten barrows in all, from barely visible ones to very large ones...all ring barrows. Really impressive site.  I then moved on to see the high cross at Moone.  At 5.5m high it is really massive!  A wonderful cross and a great example of Irish ecclesiastical art.  I saw some other various ruins which will end up on here soon.  I hope to get some Kildare sites uploaded in the next few weeks. 

Sunday, 7th March, 2010: Today was an interesting day and did not turn out how I had expected.  We left for Greatheath so see some of the many barrows located here but there is only really one here to see as most are in people's gardens and on the golf course.  It is a nice barrow however and worth the trip.  Next we hit a brick wall...we couldn't get to see anything.  Two failed castles later we arrived at Sleaty to see the two crosses here and the church.  The smaller of the two crosses is very interesting as there is the faint hint of decoration on there.  The larger is impressive because of its size and its shape which is very unusual.  We had a quick look at Carlow castle before moving on to an impromptu visit to Castledermot in Kildare so I guess that Kildare is about to become part of the Standing Stone.  At the start of today I had no planned this but it's a nice surprise.  I couldn't get into the friary because it was locked but the nearby tower and crosses are absolutely fantastic...the site screams pre-Christian to me and I'm looking forward to putting Castledermot up onto the site.  Lastly, we went back to Laois to see Killeshin church and it really was the finest Romanesque workmanship I have yet seen...great place and a great day.