Weekly Photo Challenge: Textured

Irish HomesteadNotice the varied texture on this old Irish Homestead in County Cavan. The wrinkles, crinkles, tears and ripples make this building burst with texture. I hope you enjoy it!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Entrance (to the other side)

entrance to cemetary in IrelandVisiting cemeteries in Ireland was as normal as visiting churches, pubs and gift shops. The history shared on the gravestones made you wonder about the babies and parents that died on the same day. Or the stones that included a poem, love story or gave location of where the person traveled.

Cemeteries are well-kept, the grass is trimmed and flowers are blooming. The Irish dead are revered today, as they were decades ago.

Burke gravestone in irelandThe family tells it’s story on the gravestone. This cemetery is where my mother’s family was buried. It was a very special afternoon …



Weekly Photos Challenge: Entrance

Took a lovely tour inside Cabra Castle in Ireland last year. I felt like a queen sitting on these steps!

woman sitting on red carpetCabra Castle is less than an hours drive from Dublin Airport, and is the perfect location for a weekend break in an Irish castle. The castle is situated in the wonderful County of Cavan, which features a variety of activities and places to visit.

entrance to Cabra Castle in County Cavan Ireland


The Two Cabra Castles, and the Pratt Family
(1699 – 1964)

The original Cabra Castle, the ruins of which still stand on high ground above the Wishing Well – not far from Cromwell’s Bridge, was situated to the west of the Kingscourt – Carrickmacross Road.

The Castle and the land surrounding it is believed to have belonged to the O’Reilly Family until it was confiscated in the mid 17th century by Cromwell’s orders and given to Colonel Thomas Cooch. Colonel T. Cooch was born in Donegal in 1632 and was the grandson of Sir Thomas Cooch K.C. Sir Thomas Cooch K.C. had migrated to Ireland very early in the 17th century and was given a grant of 1,000 acres in Donegal by James 1.

Colonel Thomas Cooch, first owner of Cabra Estate, married Elizabeth Mervyn, sister of Audley Mervyn (Speaker of the Irish House of Commons), and they had an only daughter and heiress, Elizabeth. >>Read More

Thatch house in Ireland

Ireland photos: Dressed in Green

As I sit under white skies on a cold day, surrounded by brown landscape … I dream of the green of Ireland. Check out my 2010 photos of County Cavan, Tipperary, Donegal, Westport, Dublin and everything in-between.

Sending birthday greetings to Sue Ellen – to someone who is living her (green) dream!

Continue reading “Ireland photos: Dressed in Green”

A Bit of Irish History from a Yank’s Perspective

This past summer I had the golden opportunity to visit my sister in Ireland. I arrived in late June and was greeted with one of the warmest summers on record. The weather included bright sunshine, warm days and a sun that set after 10 pm (finally!)

While I was there, I did many of the tourist things that we all do. I went to Dublin, Trinity College and the Book of Kells, visited churches and museums, walked up and down hills, ate potatoes (lots of potatoes), drank beer, took photos and was entranced by castles.

If Walls Could Talk

Hidden in plain sight was the thatch cottage. Many of them are gone now, dismissed and ignored or torn down in the building boom of the 1990’s when highways were built with disregard to some of the history that was being destroyed.

I had the opportunity to visit some of the cottages or homesteads where the two-three room dwelling with dirt floors and a central fire place was the standard way of living 50 years ago.  As you look at the ruins of the homes, you can still see the sturdy interior white-washed stone walls.

Ducking my head in the small doorway, I entered the cottage to see blackened pots, an iron bed Homestead cottage in Ballyholly, County Cavan, Irelandframe, a cross and picture of the Jesus and another of Mary, Mother of God and other religious icons.  The cottage was solid, the window frames intact and the roof was strong.

This cottage and so many others like it dot the Irish hillsides, standing in the shadows of newer homesteads build by affluent residents over the years. Like the thatch cottages, these homestead cottages have a story to tell and the people who lived in them are still here to tell it. As family members return to Ireland to learn about their family, they can visit cottages as well as cemeteries. Many landowners don’t understand the historical nature of the homestead cottage on their property.  Although many siblings grew up in the cottage, it belongs to the “one who stayed behind.”

Cottage Industry

I visited many of these structures and they are in shambles. As with the castles, these humble cottages have history oozing from the rafters.  It would be a simple thing to ask local communities to clean up the cottages and create aOld stove in homestead cottage in County Cavan, Ireland ‘homestead tour.’  Tourists could ride bikes or take busses from cottage to cottage, learning local history, visiting shops, touring museums and libraries to have a peek at the Irish past – at the past of their parents and grandparents.

It would be the gift that keeps on giving as long as family keeps on asking.