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Laois & Carlow

May 31, 2007

Japanese Gardens

Originally uploaded by IrishFireside

corey says… After planting a few flowers and giving Tony a chance to spend time with his builder, we began our first day of touring at about noon. Now that we’ll be “working” I suspect the entries will be a bit shorter.

Devil’s Bit, Timahoe & Rock of Dunamase
We headed northeast passed the Devil’s Bit (the location that inspired the Irish Fireside theme song) and stopped for a hearty lunch at Murphy’s in Templemore. Then it was onwards to Timahoe where one of the best round towers in Ireland still stands. It’s most notable feature is the carved doorway…most have quite plain entrances. The roof of the round tower is new…last replaced in the 1800s. There is also a ruined church and a cemetery there and another church that serves as a library.

We paid a quick visit to the Rock of Dunamase. The scaffolding was pretty much all gone now, and new information signs had been put in place. This ancient fort is enormous and one of my favorite spots…on a clear day, the view can’t be beat.

Emo Court, Irish National Stud, Japanese Gardens & Saint Fiachri’s Garden
We bypassed Emo Court…since all three of us had been there in the last year. It’s owned by the state, but the owner still lives there…and his martini cart can be spotted in the sitting room. Then we found our way the Irish National Stud, Japanese Garden and Saint Fiachri’s Garden. All three of these sites are one admission…and all three are worth a visit.

I definitely learned that horse breeding is big business, high science and the luck. The two gardens were great to wander through. Tony took a minute to celebrate his baldness bond with St Fiachri (yep, there’s a picture posted).

We also took a little detour to St Brigid’s Well to visit the statue of the saint and the stations of the cross and prayer tree (you can’t miss it, it’s the one with the pieces of cloth and trinkets hanging from it).

The Enormous Browneshill Dolmen
We decided to head south from there and visit the Browneshill Dolmen. Let me just tell you, this thing is HUGE. The Poulnabrone in Co Clare may be the most photographed dolmen, but Browneshill is by far the largest…well over a hundred tons! …And it was placed there over 5,000 years ago. One must walk around it to really appreciate its grandeur.

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