Ireland in the Regency

by Michele Ann Young
Actually this is not really about Ireland in the Regency. These are holiday snaps.

Our last port of call in Ireland was a small fishing town called Clonakilty and we stayed at the headland known as Inchydoney in West Cork, at the very South of Ireland.

The town itself is an old one and a fishing town. It apparently played a significant in the rebellion in 1798m but our main reason for travelling there, apart from walking on the beach was to see where my husband's great great grandmother was born. She left Clonakilty in 1830 and travelled to Wales, were she met and married and stayed for the rest of our life.

We were very taken with the town, with its picturesque house painted in all different colours,

it is also a centre of music for the region and there is alway one pub or bar or hall on any partular night with a live band.

We spoke to the warden at the local church, which was built in 1880, long after my husband's relative left and discovered that the priest still has the earlier records, so we have a letter in the post.

We saw the last name we were looking for on many of the store fronts and we discovered that it is a very common last name in Clon (locals call it Clon). So who knows, perhaps we may actually be able to find that we still have some relations there.

I will let you know should anything come of our further inquiries.

I was interested to watch the housemartins building their nest in the eave of our hotel. And yes the sky was really that blue.

And the flowers in that seascape are those of the wild blackberry, just in case you were wondering.

These last two items belong in Flora and Fauna, but we enjoyed seeing them so much I decided to post them.

Interestingly enough I had the feeling that spring comes a little later here than it does in England, because while the May was finished when we drove from Heathrow to Cardiff for our flight to Ireland, it was still in full bloom everywhere we went.

This is a picture of a martin on the wing, with the gorgeous countryside below. It is clearer on my computer, but it is still worth including, if only for the scenery.

The other interesting thing was that the sun did not go down until after 10pm, because we were so far west. The evenings were deliciously long and we did not miss a moment.

We will go back to our regular monthly articles next week, but we still have one more wonderful treat from our last trip to Britain. This time from Dorset.

Until next time, Happy Rambles.

Ireland in the Regency - continued

This is me having dinner at Durty Nelly's which was a pub at our next stop ~ Bunratty Castle.

Actually, the pub is so near you can sit on the wall around the castle and have your beer while you listen to a live band. And the weather continued to be sunny and hot, which everyone was constantly amazed at.

Durty Nelly's was established in 1620 and has an interesting history including the original owner being the creator of poteen. An Irish cure-all.

It is clearly a very old building and I enjoyed looking around. The food was excellent and the service and the people extremely friendly.

My second picture was taken in a tiny room somewhere in the back that I thought looked interesting and old.

On to Bunratty Castle

Once a castle of the O'Briens, Bunratty was acquired by the Studdart Anglo-Irish family in 1720 and they lived there for about a hundred years, so through the Regency.

They eventually moved into a smaller house located in the grounds in around 1804 and gradually the castle fell into decay.

I'm not going to say very much about the castle, since we focus on Regency, not medieval, except to say that it was lived in at the very beginning of our period and has been beautifully "done up".

If you want to get a good feel of a medieval castle, this would be one to take a look at as it has floors and furniture. If I ever write a medieval story, I will find this visit of great help.

And that Jackie Kennedy visited it during a visit to Ireland.

There is also a folk park with farms and houses or ordinary people which would not have changed much through our era.

I did take one picture of a wall, which is very unusual though apparently typical of stone walls in the Moher area of County Clare, and thought I would share it with you.

I thought they looked like old gravestones with the names worn off lined up in a row. But no, it is a regular form of wall for a particular district. I guess this kind of stone was readily available.

Notice how green everything is. And yes, that is a palm tree. Not sure what it is doing there.

The house the family moved into in 1804 is also in the grounds. A classical Georgian dwelling, almost. Because the windows are not quite symmetrical and bits were added.

This was called a Regency walled garden. I have seen nicer ones, but thought you would like to see it. The walls did go all the way around.

So that is it for Bunratty, unless I get huge requests for some of the pictures I took inside the castle and some of the cottages.

More on Ireland to come.

Until next time, Happy Rambles

Ireland and Blarney Castle

By Michele Ann Young

As we learned last day, Blarney could well have been one of our Regency characters must see places.

It is certainly fascinating, with its rock close containing everything from a fairy ring to a sacrificial alter. But for me it is always the castle itself that holds the attraction and what a visitor in the regency might have found of interest.

The castle is set on an eight metre cliff and dates back to the mid-15th century. This particular view shows the cliff foundation and a rather fine casemented oriel, the window of the room known as the earl's bed chamber. It really shows the wealth of this family MacCarthy.

Unfortunately, as with so many castles in England, Cromwell caused their downfall.

The stairs up to the top of the tower are very steep. They are also winding and narrow. A great setting for a gothic novel.

It is hard to imagine anyone climbing up there in the long slim skirts of the regency.

But the best part of climbing to the top was the view. This is what I really wanted to get a sense of, the countryside, the green. Isn't it beautiful.

But the best part of Blarney is yet to come. So until next time, Happy Rambles.

Ireland in the Regency

By Michele Ann Young

Our trip to the Emerald Isle began on a misty rainy late May day. Well we had expected rain, so we were not unduly perturbed. And because of that, the sun came out.

Our first stop was Blarney. Well no self respecting visitor can go to Ireland and no kiss the Blarney stone. Many famous people have done so, therefore why should I be embarrassed and if it help with my loquacity, then I'm all for it.

Okay, so probably no one else is impressed, but I must say leaning backwards with a huge drop below was quite unnerving. And people have been doing it for years. The Blarney Stone is a block of bluestone built into the battlements of Blarney Castle. According to legend, kissing the stone endows the kisser with the gift of gab.

Hopefully that holds true for a gift of the pen too. Now what, you might ask does this have to do with the Regency. Well at least one famous man of regency times went to the castle Sir Walter Scott. A writer no less. And there is a rumour, unconfirmed, that Byron also kissed the stone. Well I am in alt.

And while we are at it, here is an entry The 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, by Francis Grose)

‘Blarney’: He has licked the blarney stone; he deals in the wonderful, or tips us the traveller. The blarney stone is a triangular stone on the very top of an ancient castle of that name in the county of Cork in Ireland, extremely difficult of access; so that to have ascended to it, was considered as a proof of perseverance, courage, and agility, whereof many are supposed to claim the honour, who never achieved the adventure: and to tip the blarney, is figuratively used telling a marvellous story, or falsity; and also sometimes to express flattery. Irish.

We have pictures and more to show you of Blarney, but those must wait until next time.

Until then, Happy Rambles