Wednesday, November 19, 2014

From Castle to Cottage

After spending three great days at the castle, it was time to move on to our next stop...the Mill Cottage in Kells, Kilkenny County.  We decided to chance fate and see if Penny could get us to the Hill of Tara on the way south.  Given there is no physical address for the Hill (or most places in rural Ireland for that matter), we picked a town close by and off we went (since we had such luck with this method getting to the castle...not!).
Fortunately the Hill of Tara is a very significant spot in Irish history and as we got closer, GPS found the location...of course in typical Penny fashion, she picked the smallest possible roads to get us there!  We've become quite good at playing chicken with fellow drivers...they usually win as we are happy to pull over in the hedges.
Prior to St. Patrick (Naomh Padraig) bringing Christianity to Ireland, the Hill of Tara was the seat of political and religious power in Ireland.  In ancient times, Ireland was full of chieftain-kings and the king of Tara was considered to be the King of Ireland.  It was on this hill that St. Patrick challenged the king's authority and was given the opportunity to explain Christianity to him.  St. Patrick used the three leaf clover to illustrate the Holy Trinity.  Upon understanding the relationship between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, the king granted St. Patrick the right to preach throughout the land.

The Mound of the Hostages (Duma na nGiall) dates back to 3000 BC.  For more than 1500 years, it was used as a tomb and it's name dates back to Medieval Times when it was the place where hostages were exchanged.

It was a cold, windy and rainy (really just annoying drizzles) day.  We dodged the mud and sheep "presents" to make it to the mound and explore the hill.  Even though it was overcast, we could see pretty far...can only imagine how beautiful it is on a clear day.
 The Lia Fáil or Stone of Destiny was the
coronation stone for the High Kings of Ireland
Arial of the Hill of Tara
Here's a video of the Hill of Tara. Sorry its a little Blair Witch Project...
it was cold and windy but wanted to capture the entire Hill.

After a scone and a pot of tea, we hit the road as we had a two hour drive to Kells, Kilkenny County to reach the cottage. We had rain the entire way but fortunately Penny was on her best behavior and sent us motorways the whole way until we got to Kells.  We were rewarded with a rainbow as we got close to the cottage and we could see the rainbow in both directions above the cottage.
For the next 5 days, this will be our home.  I found the Mill Cottage on and it is absolutely charming!  The owners are so nice...Dave comes over every day to clean the stove ashes and reset the wood for the night's fire.  He is also a musician and gave us two CDs of Irish music...we've yet to find an Irish music station in the car so this perfect!


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