Thursday, September 14, 2017
Back to my impressions of driving in Ireland. Roads are labelled M (motorway) N (national) R(regional and L (local). It seems that no matter how narrow and curvy and N road is, the speed limit is 100 km/h except when going through towns. R roads are 80 km/h. If these roads were one way, you could manage that speed on some stretches. However, at two ways and in spots very narrow, the suggested speed limit would be suicidal. My admiration for drivers of big trucks and buses has skyrocketed as I saw them maneuver around bends and passing cars with centimetres to spare.
We spent a few days based in Adare, a village that prides itself in being a "Tidy Town." We passed signs announcing a Tidy Town several times. There is quite a list of criteria to qualify. I loved the colourful buildings.
History even comes into the pub. Inside Bill Chawkes was this row of busts of the men who were executed in the Easter Uprising of 1916. The Irish take their history seriously. They also see the importance of "shopping Irish." At one store our sales' receipt listed the items which were Irish.
There are a number of thatch roofed cottages in Adare. They date from the early 1800s and were built by the Dunraven family as staff houses for those working on the Adare Manor estate. Unfortunately a few of them burnt down in 2015.
Those that survive are nurtured to preserve their charm.
In the centre of Adare is the Holy Trinity Abbey Church. The Trinitarian Abbey was founded in 1230 by Geoffrey de Marisco as the order’s only Irish house. It was destroyed during the suppression of Henry VIII and was restored in the 19th century.
Behind the Abbey is this Dovecote. To the back of the Trinitarian abbey is a dovecote, or columbarium. It is a circular building in which doves and pigeons were housed. There are no windows in the structure but there is an opening in the roof through which the birds could come or go as they please. The internal walls are lined niches where the doves rested and where their food was provided. A door at ground level was the entrance for the monks.
The ruins of Desmond Castle are nicely lit at night.The castle was erected with an ancient ring-fort around the early part of the 13th century. It became a strategic fortress during the following turbulent years. It was the property of the Earls of Kildare for nearly 300 years until the rebellion in 1536, when it was forfeited and granted to the Earls of Desmond who gave the castle its present name.
As a last activity in Adare, we went to the weekly craft fair. This gentleman was weaving willow baskets (the finished ones were for sale at the fair).