Ireland

Ireland is undoubtedly rich with history and folklores. As you drive outside Dublin, you would be greeted with green pastures, majestic mountains or clifftops, and also a sight of ancient castles and ruins dated all the way back to prehistoric times. A week would do no justice for the curious minds.  

Rock of cashel

Rock of Cashel is one of the must-see ancient sites in Ireland. It was only an easy 2-hour drive from Dublin. The medieval castle looms above the rolling hills of the countryside and its earlier structure found atop was dated back to around the year 1100. One historical event that had occurred that I find intriguing and somewhat comical was when St Patrick accidentally stabbed King Aegus on the foot during his baptism at the Rock of Cashel in the 5th century. The king had thought it was all part of the ceremony but Patrick, although, guilty and unimaginably, fearing for his life, chose to just play along. And the Oscar award goes to… Looking at the ruins today, it’s just a wonder how it played quite a remarkable role in the Irish history; a symbol power in ancient Ireland that was held by kings and rulers and now, all we could see is what is left of it.

Hore Abbey

A few minutes’ walk downhill, you will find the less famous but still impressive, Hore Abbey – situated right in the center of the field. A Cistercian monastery founded in 1272. I could only imagine the grandiosity it once was. There was just silence that emanates both eeriness and thrill in equal measures The gush of wind, the ominous dark clouds and black birds flying above my head, and just standing in between the crumbling stone walls with greenery creeping through the cracks, were truly a sensuous experience.

Kilkenny

There are plentiful of towns to explore across Ireland. Kilkenny, Galway, Cork to name a few. Due to time constraint, we had impetuously opted to see Kilkenny. Another ancient town in Ireland for a quick lunch at a quaint Italian Restaurant before we were headed back to Dublin. I must say, there were one of the best Italian dishes I have ever had.

Kilkenny is famous for its medieval buildings and castle. One of the buildings that caught my eye in particular was the Kyler’s Inn, dated all the way back to 1200s. The most famous proprietor was the Dame Alice de Kyteler, a widow who had married 4 times and was accused of murdering all 4 of them about 800 years ago. She was accused of witchcraft and was warned of impending doom ( to be burnt at the stake). Fortunately, she managed to flee and was never heard of again. Her housemaid, however, was not so lucky and suffered the fate Alice managed to escape from – burnt alive. And the entire saga of accusing women of witchcraft and burning them continues throughout Ireland.

It is always fascinating to read the stories behind each town or building. To stand there witnessing them all without these narrations in mind, only means, you’re standing before a pile of rocks. I would always take some time to read about the places I go to and it brings more meaning to them and Ireland has plentiful of stories to offer. With every story learnt comes with lessons. For that, the curious part of me will always look forward to returning to Ireland.

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