The free-standing round tower is a unique Irish form of architecture – there are sixty-five complete or fragmented examples in Ireland, only three in Scotland and one on the Isle of Man. They appeared on the Irish landscape by the middle of the tenth century and served many purposes: bell-houses and refuges at times of attack.

In Lusk, a small town in north County Dublin, the circular tower of the early medieval monastery was incorporated into a huge belfry in the later middle ages.

Lusk Round Tower 1 407x616 Round tower, key from Mr Kelly

Lusk Round Tower 5 407x616 Round tower, key from Mr Kelly

Lusk Round Tower 6 407x616 Round tower, key from Mr Kelly

Walking around the church, I came across this sign that made me smile. It reads:

Key from Mr Kelly
Autoview – Dublin Rd
Lusk
Opposite Garda Station

For those of you who are not familiar with this part of the word, Garda is the police force of Ireland.
I’m glad they have left it there because it’s so indicative of a unique Irish way of doing things.

Lusk Round Tower Key from Mr Kelly 616x616 Round tower, key from Mr Kelly

Camera: Canon EOS 300
Film: Lomography Earl Grey B+W 100
Location: Lusk, Co. Dublin

Hello readers. Long time, no talk.

I have a ridiculous number of photos I’d love to share with you but, just before nights begin to drawn in and while I’m thinking about the best way to deal with such a backlog, let me show you these.

Hope you all had a wonderful summer.

brittas bay 3 Before nights begin to drawn in

brittas bay 4 Before nights begin to drawn in

brittas bay 6 Before nights begin to drawn in

brittas bay 7 Before nights begin to drawn in

brittas bay 8 Before nights begin to drawn in

brittas bay 9 Before nights begin to drawn in

Camera: Zero Image
Film: Lomography CN 800
Location: Brittas Bay, Co. Wicklow

Hot weather

Hot weather opens the skull of a city, exposing its white brain, and its heart of nerves, which sizzle like the wires inside a lightbulb. And there exudes a sour extra-human smell that makes the very stone seem flesh-alive, webbed and pulsing.

― Truman Capote, Summer Crossing.

pinhole seapoint Hot weather

pinhole seapoint 2 Hot weather

pinhole dun laoghaire Hot weather

Camera: Zero Image
Film: Lomography CN 800
Location: Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

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