Since I got home from Edinburgh, a lot has happened. My lovely big sister came to visit. You can read all about that here. And, I took a tour of UCC, a potential grad school. You can read all about how that went here. We also got to take part in a WWI memorial service, which you can read about here.
Now that we’re all caught up, I can tell you about our time in Galway! Galway, all in all, was a lot of fun! It was the first time many of us had been to Northern Ireland; there’s a different kind of vibe in the North of Ireland, there where we were staying. It’s hard to explain, but I loved my time in Galway!
So, we left Dungarvan bright and early, and headed off for Galway. We took a little detour and stopped off in the city of Tipperary to see Cahir Castle (pronounced Care). Cahir Castle was the stronghold of the Butler family; now it’s open for public tours.
Cahir Castle is exactly what you picture when you think of an old medieval castle! It’s actually set on an island by itself in the middle of the River Suir, with a bridge going across! It was so fun to get a tour of the castle, and then go explore a little on our own because the castle itself was amazing!
One of the really cool things about Cahir Castle, once we actually made it inside, was that many of their old defenses were still standing. It was still basically a functioning medieval castle, which I thought was awesome!
The really cool thing about this gate is that is one of the few still functioning gates in the world! So, that is literally a portcullis that could have killed us all if it fell on us! Because it is one of the last working ones that exists, it’s been used in a whole bunch of movies, like Excalibur, and the TV show, The Tudors!
This is the inner most building of the castle! It holds the Great Hall!
So, we finally made it inside the Great Hall! It was gorgeous! It had this lovely old wooden roof, and held one of the few Irish Elk antlers that are left! These guys got real big, standing about 7 feet tall, and weighing about 1,500 pounds! Sadly, they’re all extinct now. It was cool to see the antlers from one and appreciate the animal it used to be.
After we left the Great Hall, we climbed this tower to explore the rooms up there. The cool thing about the stairs in this building is that they were built backwards, turning up to the left, instead of the right. It was designed that way so, if someone made it this far into the castle, and was climbing these stairs, they wouldn’t be able to use their sword arm becuase it would hit the wall! It was a very ingenious design, but a little weird to climb!
On the posters in the corner, they had pictures and descriptions of other castles in the area and…
I found our very own Dungarvan Castle! It was so cool to see a bit of Dungarvan in Tipperary!
In other room in the castle, they had a mini layout of one of the battles that happened at Cahir Castle! The detail that went into making these minis was beyond amazing!
It was like a scene from Gulliver’s Travels looking at these minis! The detailing was just incredible!
While we were standing in this main courtyard, we noticed that there was a set of stairs that lead down into the ground. Naturally, we were all pretty interested in where they went!
As it turns out, the scary stairs of death lead you up and out into one of the towers on the battlements of the castle!
We came down off the battlements (and let me tell you that the scary stairs of death are much less fun in reverse!), and trooped back through the castle to meet up with the rest of the group.
We were loaded back into the bus, and began our trip to the Rock of Cashel! Stay tuned to hear all about that!