Beware of Towers

“Not all who wander are lost.”

– J.R.R. Tolkien

DSC08222 - Version 2I love saying Irish village names like Glendalough (pronounced Glen-da-lock). I feel like I’m in a Lord of The Rings movie and am on a mission to find Frodo & Sam. Through the “Mines of Moria” we go. I know this is completely in my head, but it makes for a better walk.

DSC08248 - Version 2In the scenic valley of Glendalough, amongst the tranquil and idyllic views, lies an impressive monastic village from 6th century.

DSC08270 - Version 2A hermit monk by the name of Saint Kevin established the village. As a young boy from a noble family, he would visit Glendalough. Later, he was known to wear only animal skins and sleep on stones or “in the hollow of a tree”.

IMG_0495 - Version 2His followers helped build the settlement that included several churches, farm buildings, workshops, dwellings and a high round tower equipped with a high door and a pull up ladder.

IMG_0489 - Version 2Round towers are unique to Ireland and appear to play an important part in history.

DSC08268 - Version 2Standing at 33 meters tall, it was thought to have been used as a bell tower or a place to protect valuables and manuscripts. It has also been thought to be a place of refuge during the Viking raids (oh those pesky Vikings) – although it is has been noted that hiding out in the surrounding forest was often a safer choice. After watching some of last season’s Vikings episodes, I am not so sure…but what do I know?

IMG_0492 - Version 2Hundreds, if not thousands, of tombstones surround the area as a reminder that monastic communities were once a way of civilization.

DSC08241 - Version 2The ruins of Trinity Church are a distance away. Apparently, its Round Tower fell in a storm in 1818.

IMG_3339 - Version 2In the heart of Dublin stands Dublin Castle established in 1204 AD. Unlike the monastic village, the castle is still in full use – serving conference events and dining receptions. The State Apartments plays host to Presidential inaugurations and prestigious stately affairs.

IMG_3345 - Version 2The castle is rich with history, but the one thing I thought would be of interest since it is Hallowe’en, after all, is the Record Tower. It was not a place of refuge but was used as a prison. Spooky!

IMG_3347 - Version 2Straight from the marker:

“It was the mightiest of the Norman corner towers. With 4.6m (15 ft) thick walls, it was highly suited to its function as a top security jail for State prisoners.

The most famous of all the escapes from Dublin Castle took place here on 6th January 1592, when Red Hugh O’Donnell and Art and Henry O’Neill, sons of Ulster chieftains who were being held hostage on the orders of Lord Deputy Perrot, made their successful getaway through the toilet chute.”

I shudder at the thought.

Happy Hallowe’en.


One thought on “Beware of Towers

  1. my dear scribe, you are witty and humorous with your blog. I always look forward to your blogs as i am entertained by your style of writing. I learn something new everyday and living vicariously thru your experience. Thank you for the history lesson(s) do keep them coming.
    I hope you get to watch The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, the trailer is quite fascinating, i believe it’s coming out in Dec.

    Forge on my worldly cousin, discover and conquer fascinating places and share your experiences with us.
    i wish you safe travels with each mindful step.
    love and hugs,

    Liked by 1 person

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