So, yesterday the wonderful Tom Keith took a group of us on a day trip to Lismore, Ardmore, and Youghal (pronounced Y’all). It was freezing cold and miserably rainy but I got to see some new parts of Ireland and get drinks in a new bar, so, all in all, I consider the day a success!
The day started off bright and early (except it wasn’t bright because the sun refused to shine all day). We packed onto the bus and headed off for Lismore. For those of you who remember, I’ve been to Lismore before. It’s where my future house (castle) and husband (a duke) live. For those who need a refresher, or joined this adventure late, read all about my first trip to Lismore here: I’m a (self-proclaimed) duchess.
While the rest of the group went to watch the video with Father Declan, me and Naomi sat in a cafe and got coffees.
Or a mint hot chocolate in my case.
After the group watched the video, we went up to Saint Carthage’s Cathedral. Last time I was in Lismore I didn’t get to see the cathedral so it was cool to have the chance to explore it!
St. Carthage’s is really old (I forget the exact number) and was founded by the same sect of monks as Father Declan.
This cathedral had some gorgeous stained glass! And I’m sure I’ll say that about every one so be prepared!
The very back wall is part of the original foundations of the cathedral.
The ceiling in the main part of the cathedral was so beautiful! I had never seen another roof done like this before!
These are some of the original decorations from the original cathedral.
The cemetery around the cathedral looked like something from a scary movie! The graves are so old you can’t read what was written on them anymore. I kept expecting zombies to pop out!
After we were done in Lismore, we hopped back on the bus and headed off for Youghal (again, pronounced Y’all).
Once we got to Youghal, the bus driver dropped us off on top of a huge hill where the original walls that used to protect the city still stand. Usually, the gates are open so you can walk through the wall and then up onto the top to see the whole city, but they were locked so we had to get back onto the bus and drive into the city itself.
Once we started on our way to the cathedral, we stopped to hear about one of the large houses in the center of town that got turned into a poor house where the impoverished could come and stay back when Ireland was having difficulties.
featuring the one and only Tom Keith
We continued on our way and came to the Collegiate Church of Saint Mary. This church was gorgeous and used to be attended by Sir Walter Raleigh!
That’s the original 800 year old wooden roof. They’ve slated over the outside but haven’t done any changes to the inside so the wood we’re looking at is the same as when they put it up. When they built the roof, they measured the ceiling area, built the roof on the ground, took it apart, then rebuilt up above on the actual ceiling!
When Walter Raleigh used to come to church, he would ceremoniously hang his sword upside down in this contraption.
That’s William Boyle, who had a chapel named after him in the church.
I took like a hundred pictures of this window because I fell seriously in love with it!
See the chest in the corner. When Cromwell was invading Ireland, one of his men died on his way through Dungarvan, and was buried outside of this church. Apparently, Cromwell stood on that chest to give an oration at his burial!
There is a set of stairs that go nowhere; their purpose is unknown, but believed to connect the church to the college.
Some bits from the original exterior of the church.
Yep, that’s a dead guy from the 13th century!
While it was pouring, a group of us took refuge under this tree, only to realize we were standing/leaning on graves.
Right next to the church, (if you’re willing to scale a small wall) you can see Walter Raleigh’s house! We didn’t get to go and explore around the house since it’s owned by an old woman who apparently has over 16 dogs.
Once we were done seeing the cathedral, we were put back on the bus and traveled to Ardmore. Once we got to Ardmore, the bus drove up a huge hill where the original church of St. Declan used to be.
That tower was part of the original protection of the city. All the people would climb up to the door that was 12 feet above the ground and hold out any attackers.
That ruined structure in the background was the original church. It’s from the 10th century! I don’t think I’ve ever been a structure that old before in my life! It was a little bit surreal.
Those pictures depict bible scenes.
By this point, we were quite soaked and frozen!
After we were done here, we went to an area called Declan’s Walk or Declan’s Hermitage. It’s where he went to escape the pressures of the church. To get there, we basically scaled the side of a mountain in a tour bus. I was sure we were gonna die, but our bus driver, John, was a champ!
It went right along the coast, and if it had been sunny, it would have been an amazing place. Not saying that is wasn’t in the rain, there is something really tranquil about the place.
Part of the original structure is still standing. Passing under the arch, into what remains of the building, was a really surreal moment. There’s a feeling to this place that’s hard to describe.
That’s Declan’s Well. Fresh water still flows through it.
I duck-walked through that little archway!
People still come and pray here to St. Declan.
The original altar is still standing.
When people come, you are supposed to bring a stone and mark a cross on the altar. People have been doing that for so long there are groves dug into the altar!
On a trip a few years back, a girl asked why there wasn’t a Mercyhurst rock, so the group picked one at Declan’s Hermitage, and it’s still there. We made a cross on it with our rocks as well before we left.
The Mercyhurst Rock.
After we left the Hermitage, we went to a college that teaches only in Gaelic for tea and to meet the director who took us on a tour of the tow and gave us a little history lesson. The town speaks predominately Gaelic. Road signs, building signs, everything was in Gaelic because the community speaks Gaelic!
And for the record, the word “fork” is still pronounced fork in Gaelic. They spell is with a “c” at the end (forc) but the pronunciation is the same. So, now you can speak a bit of Gaelic. You’re welcome!
After our tour of the town was done, we headed over to The Marine Bar for food, drinks, and live music!
We had real good food. There was a variety of sandwiches, onion rings, chicken fingers, egg rolls, and baby sausages. It was good!
This is the brand of the local cider mill! It was delicious. It wasn’t as sweet as normal ciders.
I also tried a Smithwick’s. It’s a beer and I didn’t hate it since I’m not a beer drinker at all!
The music was provided by the talented Christy Moore, who is pretty big musician. He knew the Clancy Brother’s! (I did not buy one of his c.d.’s and get him to autograph it!)
At one point, he asked for volunteers to come up and sing as well, so one of our professor’s daughters who is here visiting got up and sang.
And then the wonderful Dr. Tobin got up and snag for us!
At the end, one of our Irish caretakers, Joe, got up and said he wanted to sing the American National Anthem in our honor. So we all stood up and put our hands on our hearts… and Joe starts belting out “Livin’ On a Prayer!” I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard, or sang that loud!
To close the show, Christy sang “Dungravan, My Hometown.” I got really nostalgic and teary-eyed. It seems crazy to me that I’m coming home in about a month. Where did the time go?
So, with the time I have left, I’m gonna cherish every little bit of Ireland!