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Monday, March 12, 2012

All Things Irish~ Castles

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


LiLi M. said...

Oh my, my urge to visit Ireland gets stronger and stronger...thanks for sharing and have a great weekend!

Connie said...

Beautiful pictures. You always chose inspiring items for us to ponder upon. It's no wonder Ireland's color is green. Everything always seems so lush.

Mildred said...

What beautiful, romantic pictures. I love all the green in the gardens too. Wishing you and your family a great weekend and Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Mildred said...

P.S. I do LOVE your new blog design. It suits you perfectly!

Heather said...

I so want to go to Ireland! Your posts are so beautiful!

Cat said...

Good Day to you.. Oh, I love castles. Thank you, Laura.. That is very sweet of you.. Now I'm off to sprinkle more fairy dust..

jewelstreet said...

Haven't I told you I loved your new blog look?! Well, I adore it!

Loving the castle pics. I've always wanted to stay in a castle for a night. It's on my list of things to do.

Maison Douce said...

Laura, than you so much for the wonderful tour...!! Absolutely stunning!!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing those. I love the bath with the stone walls! We were in Edinburgh last year and got to visit a couple of castles as well as a castle keep! Fabulous experience.

Becky K. said...

My oldest son and I would have the time of our lives touring through these castles!

He for the imagination of living during the times these were for the history and beauty!

Thanks for featuring them.

Linda/ "Mom..." said...

***** Thank you, Laura! I just "found" you, & had T-H-E best time reading & looking at your terriffic pics! I'm NOT joking when I say I was almost ready to start packing... we've only recently begun "celebrating" and learning about my husband's Irish heritage, so this particularly interested me!!! (Ordered Beleek napkin rings as I'm a dish/tablesetting "nut", & THINK we should go there to buy more, don't you?!?! (Grins!!!). You're now on my FAVS, so I "will be back"! THANK YOU SO MUCH! Linda, RMS's "Mom of a German Shorthair"

Tracy said...

Ooh Laura, I got all excited about your castles post til I scrolled down to the pic of the handsome falconer. Castles? What castles? Tell us more about him!

Audrey said...

Hello! Thank you for visiting my blog! I am in *Love* with castles and we visited England last year and saw many that took my breath away. I have always dreamed of going to Ireland/Scotland, so thank you for such a beautiful post!

Deidra said...

What a beautiful post! Just this past weekend I heard a legend about that Blarney Stone! I think I may have to visit and stay in one of those castles.

P.S.-Thanks so much for visiting me today!

Teresa said...

My dream is to someday sleep in a castle- while we were in France we visited many lovely ones. Seeing all those lovely pictures have made me what to pack my suitcase.
Thanks for the inspiration.

Gennaro said...

Love the castle. Beautiful country and very timely with St. Patrick's Day coming next week.

c'est Moi! the tink-n-frog said...

What a fantastic topic. Thank you for sharing all the lovely photos of castles.

And I love your blog layout. Very nice. I'm off to check our her website now.

Muthering Heights said...

Oh my...those pictures are breathtaking...I can't imagine how much more beautiful the castles must be in person!

Anonymous said...

"Biodh la' iontach agat Laura!" Your blog design is very nice and goes perfect with the Irish blogging! Enjoyed the poem from the Heart! Hope you share the castle experience in your blog if you visit--would love to hear how the castles are first hand!!! Sounds like fun! Thanks for all the Green Eye Candy -- Karyl(Carol)

Christy said...

Beautiful blog and lovely post...happy St. Patrick's Day!

MarySue said...

I feel that you take me on a vacation daily. I'm really enjoying your blog and thanks for your kind Sabbath Day comment at my place.

Rosanne said...

Oh, they're all beautiful!

Brandy said...

I didn't realize it was new, but I love the look of your blog.

Songbirdtiff said...

Beautiful! I would love to make it to Ireland someday. I'm afraid, though, that my phobia of flying may keep me from it. Ah well, the photos may just have to suffice. :)

Carrie said...

That was beautiful. My husband is part Irish and has promised me a trip to Ireland sometime.

I have enjoyed reading your posts for St. Patrick's Day.

Lorrie said...

Your new blog design is beautiful. And I love castles so this post drew me in right away. Actually all of your posts are interesting, and informative as well.

There is apparently an "Orr" castle in northern Ireland, built by my husband's ancestors. I'd love to go see it one day.


Shimmy Mom said...

I so, want to go to the Ballyhannon Castle now! Someday, I'll make it to my "homeland". Thanks again for all the amazing posts.

The Blonde Duck said...

I need a castle. Stat.

Sheryl said...

I love that stone bathroom, that's cool. Your pics make me want to come visit.

By the way, thanks for stopping by and visiting my place. Hope you come back often.

Lady Dorothy said...

Oh, I love that rustic castle look! Castles are fascinating, aren't they? I live near Hearst Castle and while most visitors comment on how they could never live in a place like that (too cold of a look is what most say), I only dream with what I would do there, how I would decorate, and how I could so easily live there!

Yes, I adore your new look. And you did it yourself?? Very nice! Even with help, I'm impressed!

Chrissy said...

I LOVE this post!! Thank you for taking me back to beautiful Ireland!

Fifi Flowers said...

Pretty castles! I would have no desire to kiss that stone... I don't even like MY kids drinking off my glass... UGH!
ENJOY your day!

~♥~ Monica S said...

Ah.. I LOVE those stode castles.. and IF I had the money to be able to by one.. I'd move right away!


Blondie's Journal said...


You just outdid yourself with this post~I was wondering when you were going to get around to the castles!! Just breathtaking photos. And as always, you are so engaging and informative.

By the way, the "Irish Gentlemen" with the eagle is quite a hunk if I may say so. He has my Irish eyes smiling! ;-)


Blondie's Journal said...

Oh Laura~ I forgot to say I did notice your new blog decor the other day and it is so YOU! And thanks for commenting on mine too! Aren't we just dressed to the nines now? :-)


cottage farm villa (cottagecharm) said...


I wanted to tell you that I am loving your new look! The header is so pretty as well as your blog paper choice ! very pretty...

The Ireland pics and beyond beautiful!! Lovely post. ~Cheryl

newlyweds said...

How beautiful, love your Irish themed posts!

Draffin Bears said...

Hi Laura,

I love your new blog design ~ very pretty and the green is so neat and matches your Irish heritage so well.

Your Castle post was really interesting and I loved having a little glimpse into your part of the world.
I loved the Castles we visited in England - everything is so old and beautiful.

Enjoy your weekend

Tamara Jansen said...

Oh my, now I'm going to have to visit the blarney stone! what beautiful castles :)

Do you think I could find some pots out there for the greenhouse? I could make it a business trip.

DesignTies said...

I love this post -- it's almost like reading a fairytale, with castles and that handsome Prince Charming/tour guide ;-) :-)

The pictures of the castles are beautiful.

This is my first time visiting your blog, so I don't know how it looked before. But it looks really good now :-)

Thanks for visiting our blog and commenting on my Hooked on Fridays post. It's great to "meet" new bloggers :-)

Kelly @ DesignTies

Dumbwit Tellher ♥ said...

Laura - You made my evening. I have loved Ireland since I visited 13 years ago. Every single image you posted made a smile on my face. Thanks for the glorious 'get-a-way'!

Many thanks for the sweet comment on my blog today too. Much appreciated.
Have a great weekend,

Why S? said...

I have been fortunate enough to have bent over backward to kiss the Blarney Stone but I don't know if I'm any more gabby for it. Thanks for the lovely tour. And thanks for visiting me on The Hill.

Mary Beth said...

What beautiful castles. I enjoyed the tour! While I was reading I really let it sink in just how long ago these beautiful castles were built and all of the history they have!...oh, and I would go on a tour anywhere in the world with the "fine Irish gentlemen" pictured...oh my!

Lovely new blog design!

Jenny said...

Beautiful pictures!

Thanks for visiting my blog.

momelo said...

Hey, thanks for your comment on my blog! I absolutely love your blog, so fancy and elegant! ;) I am french so I adoore castles! Going to Ireland is one of my dreams and I hope we could do that next year.
Beautiful post, thank you for sharing those gorgeous pics with us! :)

Liz said...

First of All! Yes i love Love Love your new look. You and your friend did a fantastic job! I really liked your blog before but this really seals the deal.

These castles and the stories behind them are wonderful. The picture of the mint green should some how incorporate that into your blog permanently...maybe on the side bar or something. It is perfect..
Have an awesome weekend my friend.

Allidink said...

Oh my gosh I don't know if I mentioned this before on any of your gorgeous Ireland posts but I fully intent to go there on my honeymoon (whenever that may be haha). And after seeing all these gorgeous pictures it has only solidified my intent even more. lol I love castles. I love Ireland. Thank you for the pictures.

All the best,

Carolina Mama said...

Beautiful castles and pictures. Thanks for sharing and for visiting on Pray It Friday! :)

kari and kijsa said...

What beautiful photos, castles and scenery!!
kari & kijsa

Velvet and Linen said...

These are amazing, Laura.
I think I need to plan a trip to Ireland.
I love that stone bathroom in the Ballyhannon Castle.
I think Blarney Castle is my favorite.
Thank you for the tour


Christine said...

Irish Castles = LOVE! I dream of one day being able to visit Ireland... and I hope that I can bathe in that awesome claw foot tub that is pictured! Wonderful post!

Lynette said...

Ok do I want the FINE Irish Gentleman or the fantastic tub! Hard choice. Can I have both at the same time. My DH says I am bad, real bad. LOL

Romeo said...

Nice...I love these pictures.

Frippery said...

Thanks for your kind comment. I Love this post, so gorgeous. Ireland is on my list of must visit places, right at the top! My friend Mary is going there on a school trip with her son (the one we went to see sing at the Irish Cabaret I posted about) I am sooo jealous. Of course I guess it's fitting that a girl with the last name Reilly-Mulligan gets there before me. Tee Hee. Pam PS I am going to sign up for your give away and as a follower. You have a beautiful blog.

heather said...

Beautiful. Just beautiful. I'd join you for dinner in a heart beat, but for now I just want to enjoy a soak in that tub.

It' an Evolution said...

You are just amazing!!! I love the detail you put into each post. I just can't stop reading. When I was in Ireland I hit some of the old run down castles and climbed through them. There is so much history and folklore to the irish ...keeps you thinking. Thank you so much for sharing all this information and your blog is just beautiful. I love the design.
Take care and have a wonderful weekend.

Natasha Burns said...

Those castles are magical! I love your Irish features, they're all so beautiful!

Robin said...

Oh so dreamy.....and so is your new blog design. Hope you are having a beautiful weekend.

Jannie Funster said...

I guess I will sound like an old fuddy-duddy and OCD to wonder about all the germs on that Blarney Stone. But I suppose if I get a couple pints into me first, I will care not one wit and give it a right good old smooch.

BEAUTUFIL post. Gorgeous pix.

Joanne Kennedy said...

YES I do love your new blog look!

Being an Irish girl myself, I have always want to take a trip there myself. Everything has so much history. I would love to stay in a castle! Talk about feeling like a Queen!


Celeste said...


Just wanted to pop-in to thank you for entering a past giveaway I had on my blog - I would like to inform you of another giveaway I have open right now (Girl's Paisley Swing Top)! Winner will be announced on 3/20 - so enter by the 19th :) Also - I've got future giveaways planned, so keep a look out!

God Bless,

Debbie Fiskum said...

Such beautiful photos! I'm planning to go to Ireland in May so am finding everything I can on this beautiful country!
Debbie Fiskum, the Home Decor Genie

Alkemie said...

These castles are amazing! I kept on looking at the falconer and the falcon :)

Karen O.

Anne Marie said...

That bathroom inside the castle with the original soak in that tub with the "house wine" would be just fine!

Auntie Em said...

Sigh...I can feel my Irish roots stirring and calling me back!

Tammy @BeatriceBanks said...

Wow! These are beautiful. It would be a dream to visit any one of them!

Jill Elaine said...

I love castles! I really want to be able to travel someday and see some for real!