Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Easter Break-Day 4

Easter Sunday-Cork to Shannon

During our stay in Cork we were at a Radisson hotel. On the evening of the 23rd we were meet with a notecard with a clue on it hanging from our door. The hotel staff had put together an Easter egg hunt for the kids in our hotel room. The kids thought this was the greatest and loved finding the 6 clues and were rewarded with four large chocolate eggs hiding in the lock box. The next morning we headed out early for our unorthodox Easter Sunday experiences. We started the day at the Swiss Cottage.

The Swiss cottage was built in the early 1800s for Richard Butler, the first Earl of Glengall. The cottage was built with the intention of blending in with the surrounding environment. So there is nothing about the cottage that is symmetrical. Every door and window has it's own distinct measurement and no two are alike. You were made to feel as if you were living inside a tree. We had a great time exploring.
The Rock of Cashel
Here is where the ancient kings of Munster reigned in 300-1100 A.D. This was also a place of great tribal wars as kings fought for the great fortress. In 1101 Murtagh O'Brien gave the Rock to the Church. This provided a great ecclesiaastical center for the growing Christian church.
This piece of wall fell off during a massive storm after being weakened by cannon fire in one of the many battles fought here.
Graveyard and Round tower. The round tower was the first stone structure built on the Rock after the Church took it over. It was used as a bell tower and lookout post. The monks would use this as a place to store their precious sacramental treasures.
St. Patrick is said to have baptized King Aengus at the Rock of Cashel. The 12th century cross was carved to celebrate the handing over of the Rock to the Church 650 years after St. Patrick's visit. This is just a replica of what once stood there. Over the years the wind and the rain have eroded the original and so they have moved it inside to the museum for protection. Many tourist can be seen trying to hug this cross as the tour guide explains an Irish legend of believing that if your arms could touch while encircling the cross you will never suffer from a hangover. I think I might have a better way.
Inside the cathedral.
From the grave yard there is a great view over the Plain of Tipperary, once covered by giant oak trees. In view is the Hore Abby. This abby was named for the Cistercian monks who wore simple gray robes, the same color as hoarfrost. We walked around the ruins and found it very peaceful and a reprieve from the overwhelming amount of tourist at the Rock.

After our tours we made a couple hours drive to the Shannon area where we stayed at a golf resort village. It came as a pleasant surprise to be staying in a town house where we had two levels, a full size kitchen, two bathrooms, laundry facilities, and one of the largest places we have stayed in yet since we have been to Ireland.

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