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.