Who doesn't love a grand castle?
Hundreds of castles dot the countryside of Ireland. Although many of the castles are the dreams in which fairy tales are made of, the majority are small fortresses built by landowners a few hundred centuries ago.
One such castle is Thoor Ballylee Castle in County Galway. This 16th century Norman castle was purchased by the great Irish poet W.B. Yeats. Yeats lived in this castle for 12 years and wrote some his most famous pieces here.
Yeats won the Nobel prize in 1923 for his poetry which is rich in layers and meaning.
Never Give All the Heart
Never give all the heart, for love
Will hardly seem worth thinking of
To passionate women if it seem
Certain, and they never dream
That it fades out from kiss to kiss;
For everything that's lovely is
But a brief, dreamy, kind delight.
O never give the heart outright,
For they, for all smooth lips can say,
Have given their hearts up to the play.
And who could play it well enough
If deaf and dumb and blind with love?
He that made this knows all the cost,
For he gave all his heart and lost.
The most visited castle in all of Ireland is Blarney Castle built in 1466 by Cormac MacCarthy, King of Munster. It is partially in ruins.
The castle has several lovely gardens, but is most famous for the stone of eloquence which is situated high up in the battlements of the castle. The stone has many legends surrounding it such as it was once Jacob's pillow brought to Ireland by the prophet Jeremiah.
But beware, if you follow in the footsteps of such notables as Sir Walter Scott, Winston Churchill, a host of US presidents and even Mick Jagger, it may work its power on you and bring you "the gift of gab". However, to receive this gift, you will literally have to bend over backward and....Kiss the Blarney Stone!
There are several castles that offer accommodations, host weddings and have award winning restaurants within their stone walls. Ashford castle was built in the 13th century and opened its doors as a hotel in 1939. They offer several activities at the castle and surrounding grounds. I would like to believe that this fine Irish gentleman would be your guide.If you prefer more rustic accommodations, try the Ballyhannon Castle. It is a Celtic castle that dates back to the 15th century and is still completely intact.
A castle I hope to someday visit is Ballyseede. The 16th century castle was lived in by its descendants until 1966. It has over 30 acres of gardens and woodlands in the heart of Kerry County.
I love the shade of mint green used in this suite.
Would you like to join me for dinner?
Sweet, happy, relaxing sighs.
I hope you enjoyed this post from the DTA March 2009 archives.
"Bíodh lá iontach agat!" ~Have a great day! in Gaelic