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.

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