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Carlingford and Cooley

May 31, 2008

Old Pub

corey says…
Report from 29May – After our Hope Castle adventure,we were up for some more exploring. We headed to Carrickmacross to learn about the area’s famous lace. They have a tiny museum and shop in town…unfortunately, they really don’t focus on how it is made or how the tradition started.

The fellow in the centre was quite helpful and extremely thrilled to have visitors. We chatted for longer than we expected and then headed to the Carholic Church in town which has the most fantastic collection of Harry Clarke windows. Clarke’s windows would be comparable to Tiffany windows.

The collection of windows there are truly spectacular. Many of the figures captured in the images are almost like comic book characters…and the colors are absolutely brilliant. Around the back of the church, we found the Perperual Adoration chapel. It was a tiny room lined with wood paneling and the Eucharist presented in the front. Five people were inside reverently praying and there were about eight empty seats. It was definitely an intimate space, and the only time I had been this close to an exposed Eucharist since I was an altar boy.

From Carrickmacross,we followed the signs to the Patrick Cavanagh Centre. I recognized the name of the poet, but wasn’t familiar with his work. Outside the centre, which is a converted church, there was a very nice cafe. Liam’s mom had some coffee and read her book in the outdoor seating area while Liam and I checked out the centre.

We really enjoyed the experience. Rosaleen Kearney gave us a wonderful overview of the poet and author along with loads of local history. She spent a good half-hour chatting with us before firing up the audio-visual…which was an RTE interview with the artist filmed in the 1950s. Interesting stuff, but the exhibits and Rosaleen did better job of letting us know who Cavanagh was than the 30-minute clip.

On Rosaleen’s suggestion, I purchased “The Green Fool.” In the film he referred to it as the exact type of Irish melodrama the English…and now the Americans eat up.


We then traveled the coast to visit the Cooley Peninsula. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I thought it was worth a try. The drive out was a joy, and when we pulled into Carlingford, we know that was where we’d be staying for the night. The town had a great mix of charm and function.

They was a big event going on at the Heritage Centre, so we couldn’t go inside, but they had people in period costumes all over the grounds…including men in chain mail and on horseback. Apparently, there was a minister of something-or-other arriving from Dublin for the event…they were supposed to be there at two, but it was now going on five.

We then found our bed for the night at Harwood Heights…great room with a great view. Then it was back to town for some dinner. Along the way, Liam spotted an antique shop and spent a good 45 minutes snooping around in there. I stopped by Celtic Clay studios and admired their hand-thrown wares.

On ou hostess’ suggestion,we ate at the Carlingford Arms. They were serving their lunch menu until 5, so we eekwd in just in time for the lower priced meals. The food was fantastic.

It seemed as though the food quality in general was of a higher standard here, because there was an entire collection of cute bistros in town. Many of the places has outdoor seating and they all seemed like great places to sit and enjoy a glass of wine. We stopped in at the wonderfully nostalgic O’Hara’s pub and wandered around several of the old ruins in town.

After dinner, we decided to go for a drive. Into Northern Ireland we went to explore the Mointains of Mourne… “that swept down to the sea” as Liam would say each time the words were spoken.

It was beautiful drive with an ever-changing view from our windows. We were most impressed with the network of wetstone walls that were gridding the hills. We were also suprised by the holiday park along the sea…which was it’s own sea of trailer homes.

The views across Carlingford Lough were spectacular with a bit of fog and a beautiful sunset. We were home before dark and watching another installment of Britain’s Got Talent.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Netta permalink
    June 1, 2008 12:14 AM

    Going to a lace shop and a pottery shop sounds like a great place to pick up some neat Christmas gifts for special family members!!! love,mom

  2. June 1, 2008 6:19 AM

    Hmmm, who do I know who might enjoy some lace and pottery? 🙂

    I’ve come across some very beautiful gift ideas; I just wish the exchange rate was a litttle better…things like that are quite pricey when a euro equals about a $1.56 😦

  3. June 1, 2008 6:41 PM

    Hi, Corey,
    I am so delighted that you got to medieval Carlingford – it is one of my favorite towns in Ireland, and O’Hare’s pub is a gem.
    Thanks also for the description of the Carrickmacross lace centre and the Patrick Kavanagh Centre. It is years since I was in Carrickmacross and I never did get to tour the Kavanagh Centre. Years ago, an Irish boyfriend of mine from Co. Monaghan gave me a copy of “The Green Fool.” I still have it! If you want to see lace being made and learn all about its history, be sure to visit the Kenmare Lace Centre at Kenmare next time you are in Kerry. It is featured on my web site, with details….
    Well, I am wondering where you are heading next? Perhaps to Dublin?
    Happy Travels,

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