To get to the Rock of Dunamase you don’t need elaborate driving directions, because all you have to do is driving out of Dublin along the M7. Who could miss the ruins of a castle towering 45m (150 ft) above a flat plain?

This fortress was already a royal site in the 9th century when it was attacked by the Vikings. In 1170 Diarmait Mac Murchada, king of Leinster, gave this site to his ally Strongbow, the Welsh knight who led the Anglo-Norman army into Ireland and then married the king’s daughter Aoife.
William Marshall, Strongbow’s successor as king of Leinster, constructed much of the visible fabric of the castle in a few years from 1208, but it is clear that a castle of some sort existed prior to this.

Dunamase 3 The Rock of Dunamase

Although it’s likely that the natural strength of the rock was considered to offer a sufficient protection, four lines of defences were built along the eastern side: an outer and inner barbican, a curtain wall and an inner hall. That said, I took the first photo while approaching the castle, therefore standing in the outer barbican. Isn’t the Inner Barbican Gate (the one on the right) simply superb?

Dunamase 4 The Rock of Dunamase

If you’re thinking of visiting, keep in mind that the last part of the road is a narrow countryside lane (the kind with grass growing in the middle) and space to park your car is available only outside that little church you see above on the right.

Crowning the summit of the rock is a massive rectangular building (Great Hall) which was probably built at the end of the 12th century. This building, which was modified in the late 18th century, is now badly damaged.

Dunamase 5 The Rock of Dunamase

Dunamase 9 The Rock of Dunamase

Below is the doorway that during the 18th century was inserted into the north wall. It was dressed with late medieval stonework apparently taken from another site.

Dunamase 6 The Rock of Dunamase

Dunamase 7 The Rock of Dunamase

And these below are the paired doorways on the ground floor of the central hall.

Dunamase 8 The Rock of Dunamase

Dunamase 10 The Rock of Dunamase

The views from the top of the rock were quite spectacular too. Leaving the castle, I took several photos with my digital camera. I’ll share them here sometime soon so that you’ll see for yourself.

Camera: Hasselblad 500 C/M
Film: Kodak Plus-X 125
Location: just outside Portlaoise, County Laois

Just behind Kilkenny Design Centre, a walkway leads into the beautiful Butler House and Gardens. It’s in these gardens that last spring I fell head over heels for a magnolia tree. Do you remember it?

Kilkenny Butler House 407x616 Butler House & Gardens

The Walled Garden might be small (… by Irish standards) but it has an enchanting pond surrounded by really interesting stone blocks.
Kilkenny Butler House Walled Garden 2 Butler House & Gardens

Kilkenny Butler House Walled Garden 407x616 Butler House & Gardens

These stones are in fact from the plinth of Nelson Pillar in Dublin, which was blown up by nationalists in 1966.

Kilkenny Butler House Walled Garden 3 Butler House & Gardens

Camera: Canon EOS 300
Film: Agfa CT 100 Precisa
Location: Kilkenny

In the heart of Kilkenny, in the old stable directly opposite the castle, is Kilkenny Design Centre. This is a creative centre that showcases contemporary Irish crafts and houses several artist studios.

Kilkenny Design Centre Kilkenny Design Centre

Kilkenny Design Centre 4 407x616 Kilkenny Design Centre

Kilkenny Design Centre 3 407x616 Kilkenny Design Centre

Kilkenny Design Centre 2 Kilkenny Design Centre

If you’ll ever visit, do not forget to stop in its pleasant Cafe / Restaurant for tea and cake… Baileys cheesecake, to be more specific.

Camera: Canon EOS 300
Film: Agfa CT 100 Precisa
Location: Kilkenny



1. the throwing back by a body or surface of light, heat, or sound without absorbing it.
Synonyms: sending back, throwing back, casting back, mirroring, backscattering.

2. serious thought or consideration.
Synonyms: thought, thinking, consideration, contemplation, study, deliberation, pondering, meditation, musing, rumination, cogitation, brooding, agonizing.

Howth 3 Reflection(s)

Camera: Horizon Perfekt
Film: Agfa Vista Plus 200
Location: Howth, Co. Dublin