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Thurles & Ardmayle

July 21, 2007

corey says…Still feeling a bit under the weather, but Tony suggested we get ourselves out in the fresh air. We headed to Thurles where we had lunch and wandered around town.

Our stop at the Tourist Office was a bit funny. The place is more of a place where Tipp (Tipperary) supporters buy their fan gear. The place was awash with blue and yellow jerseys and flags. In the back, there are some racks of tourist info…most of it pertaining to the GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association), which was formed in Thurles in 1884.

The woman there gave us good directions to the Famine Museum in town, but when we asked about other things to see, she said, “You’re not far from Cashel.”

“No, we’re looking for things in Thurles.”

“Have you seen Holycross?” she asked

“Been there, we just want to see Thurles.”

“Well, let’s see. There’s not much. You could check out the library and arts centre.” That was about all she was going to give us. It’s rare that a town’s tourist office would try directing visitors to neighboring town…only in Ireland.

On our way to the Famine Museum, we stopped in the Catholic Cathedral. It’s a much different type of church from others in Ireland. I’m not sure of the architectural style, but it looks more Romanesque or Moorish than Gothic.

We arrived at the Famine Museum which is in the old St Mary’s Church of Ireland. Unfortunately, the museum is only open on Mondays. Oddly, before we arrived, Tony said, “just watch, this will be one of those places that are open on Mondays from 2-3.” He was partial right.

The cemetery there is very interesting…although the two giant, modern cannons felt a little out of place among the tombs.

On our way back to the main square, we walked up to Saint Patrick’s College. I think it’s a seminary. It’s an attractive Georgian Building that looks like its bordering on being neglected. A small cemetery off to the side had a few graves, three of which were dated from October to November 1907. The men buried there were all young, so our thought was that there must have been an accident. There was no one around to ask.

Then we drove several sideroads in search of some ruins. We ended up in Ardmayle, which has a very exciting castle. The square keep is interesting enough from the outside and the main part of the inside, but the real thrill comes from the almost hidden staircase that leads to the roof. It’s built in the wall.

It’s a bit of a scary spot, as most of the cornerstones have been removed, and it’s stability is questionable. Under the influence of cold and flu medication, Tony and I decided to be adventurous and have a go. We climbed to the roof and rooted around up there. The roof gives the illusion of a field because it has trees and grass growing on it.

Then it was across the road to the beautiful church and cemetery. Just down the road there is a very nice arched bridge. We drove over it and headed into Nenagh to pick up some groceries.

Eddie is hosting a fundraiser tomorrow to help pay for his trip to Africa where he will build houses for two weeks. We agreed to bring some sandwiches.

It was then back home where Tony and I both watched a movie and went to bed.

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