Town Walls of Youghal

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The historic walls of Youghal, a seaside town in county Cork, can boast an original construction date of approximately 1250 AD. Earliest upstanding remains of the walls are from the Anglo-Norman settlement period. Early pictorial maps show the town walls as having 13 towers.

Today, the landward wall survives almost intact and runs for up to one kilometer, with four towers remaining along this part of the wall. In the 15th century, a need for deeper shipping berths saw the quay area of the town moved southwards. To protect the new harbour, an extension to the existing walls was created. The walls were heightened and repaired by Sir Richard Boyle in the 17th Century.

The Last Witch of Youghal

There is a plaque on the town walls in relation to the last witch of Youghal. Florence Newton was committed to prison by the mayor of Youghal in March of 1661, accused of bewitching Mary Longdon, servant girl to a local bailiff. Newton was a beggar woman, who went from door to door scrounging whatever she could. It seems she was very intimidating and most people, out of fear, handed over whatever it was she asked for.

Mary Longdon refused to give her some beef and later fell ill, saying that Newton kissed her one day as she carried water from a well. This apparently resulted in all sorts of seizures and strange afflictions on the poor girl. To make matters worse for Newton, as she awaited trial, her jailer died suddenly. He had been ill for two weeks and nowadays it’s thought he had a stroke, but his dying words were, “She’s done for me, which didn’t do poor old Florence any favours. Add to that, his wife gave evidence at the trial that the old woman had kissed her husband’s hand.

The trial was considered so important, the Irish Attorney General took part in the prosecution and although sentenced to death, there is no record of what happened to Florence Newton. The old woman was believed to have the ability to disappear into thin air but she may have had knowledge of and access to, some of the underground tunnels running through the town and under its walls. These had served as escape routes for monks during times of persecution. Who knows, maybe Florence escaped through one of these and moved on to another town. 

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “From Every Angle.”

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Thursday Doors

For Thursday Doors this week I took another trip up one of the back streets near my place of work. These are some of the entrances to The Collegiate Church of St. Mary, in Youghal Co. Cork. I couldn’t get a decent shot of the main doors, as there were too many people in the way and both doors were wide open. So I had to make do with the side entrances. Inside, you certainly get a feel for how old this historic building is. It has an amazing history and rightly deserves its claim to be the oldest church in Ireland that has held continuous worship since the 13th century.

There may have been a church much earlier on this site, even as far back as the 5th century, when Saint Declan founded a monastery at Ardmore, only a few miles away. Some of the exposed roof timbers have been carbon dated to the late 12th century and the story is that French carpenters were brought in to construct it.

When subsidence was noticed in one of the aisles experts were called in, which resulted in the discovery of an underground form of central heating, similar to the Roman aqua duct system. It was dated back to the 18th century and as the church is pretty cold these days, the congregation back then may have been quite a bit warmer during worship.

In the fifteenth century it became a Collegiate Church when a college of clergy and singing clerks was founded next to it and placed in the care of a Warden. The former Warden’s house, in due course, was owned by Sir Walter Raleigh, who was Mayor of Youghal in 1588 and 1589.

There’s a lot more to Thursday Doors than meets the eye and Norm’s doors are well worth checking out, as are these. Enjoy.

Posted in Historical buildings, History, Ireland, photo challenges, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Shot at Dawn and an appeal for forgiveness – a moving story from Bolton’s archives

Jean Reinhardt:

This is so upsetting. I knew that executions were carried out, but this is the first time I’ve read an individual, personal account and it’s appalling. I just had to reblog. I would love to have seen the play, even though my eyes would have been like swollen red tomatoes at the end of it.

Originally posted on GM 1914:

James Smith Playcomp

Lois Dean has researched and written this powerful story from Bolton’s archives.

Shot at Dawn and an Appeal for Forgiveness

The brave young Bolton soldier had faced guns before, at Gallipoli and the Somme, but those James Smith faced early on the morning of 5th September 1917 were to be fired by his own countrymen – friends and comrades from his own unit.

James ‘Jimmy’ Smith became the only Boltonian to be ‘shot at dawn’ after being found guilty by a military tribunal of desertion and cowardice.  However, his experience of the horrors of war told a different story, one that led to his pardon nearly 90 years later.

Born in Noble Street, Bolton, in 1891, the son of James and Elizabeth Smith, Jimmy was brought up by his aunt and uncle when his mother died soon after his birth.  At 18, he joined the Lancashire Fusiliers as a…

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A Good Day

You might think it strange to see misty images being used in a post about a good day. Because we live so far from our children and grandchildren, any day spent with them is always a good one. This summer we camped in Barleycove, West Cork, and although we had a lot of grey skies, the sun did eventually make an appearance. The seagull pictured in one of the images sat waiting for someone to throw her a treat from their car window. We are pretty sure it was the same bird, next day, that landed a short distance from anyone eating on the beach and stared at them until she was thrown a tasty morsel.

How do I know the bird was female? I don’t, but I’m guessing her mate was minding the chicks while she was out hunting for food. Seagulls mate for life and take turns incubating the eggs and feeding their offspring. Which brings me back to why this was such a good day for me – I got to spend some time in a beautiful place with my lovely family.

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Today Was a Good Day.”

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Paul Anthony, an author I know,  has put this book together to help raise funds towards research into a medical condition that I had never heard about until recently – Chiari Malformation.

chiari medical condition

Available on Amazon UK  Amazon US Amazon Australia Amazon Canada and many other Amazon sites.

Here’s a description of the book from Paul Anthony;

‘This is an anthology of short stories by 18 authors from across the globe – the UK, the USA, Canada, and Europe – The tales they tell are both non fiction and fiction. Many are based on real life experiences. Others are based on vision and a wondrous source of imagination that these very special authors bring to their readers. Some of the stories they tell will make you cry, others will make you laugh. But some of their writing will actually terrify you when you realise that some of the accounts they recall are actually true stories from real events in their lives. Indeed, there’s something for everyone here: tales of love and war, of honour and disobedience, of hate and humour, of desire and desperation. They have produced a roller coaster of emotion on their journey to complete this anthology. It’s a book to savour and enjoy, page by page. Above all, this anthology contains the true story of a young boy who suffers from Chiari Malformation – a condition for which there is currently no known cure.’

You can find out more about it on Questions About Chiari.

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Thursday Doors

wpid-dsc_1080.jpg thursday doors, glenbower woodsthursday doors, glenbower woods, cork.

We recently took a stroll through Glenbower Woods, not far from where we live. I love it there at any time of year and it’s one of my favourite places to walk and take photographs.

glenbower woods

As we crossed a bridge to a more densely wooded area, we could see lots of colourful miniature doors in the distance and I knew I just had to include them in Norm’s weekly photo challenge. The little ‘fairy’ doors were attached by tiny hinges to the hollows at the base of some trees.

 wpid-dsc_1129.jpg glenbower woods

The wild flowers were out in abundance and the light spilling through the trees cast the most wonderful shadows. Alas, my photographs don’t do any justice to the beauty of the place.


I didn’t come across any fairies but I managed to get a nice shot of a wee leprechaun who seemed to be contemplating which path he should follow.

wpid-dsc_1137.jpg glenbower woods ireland nature

Should he take the high road or the low one? We took the low one.

forest walks, glenbower woodsSee more Thursday Doors here and check out Norm’s door, too.

Posted in Ireland, nature, photo challenges, photography, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, wild plants | Tagged , , | 9 Comments


sunset over forest, cavan ireland

Coming to the end of a lovely day’s walk in the Killykeen Forest Park, in county Cavan, we arrived back at the car as the sun was going down. Some of the last photos I took that day look quite eerie, even creepy (more so if I had been on my own).

killykeen forest park

The various trails bring you around the Lough Oughter lake system and are interspersed with picnic and swimming areas. There is also a very accessible family cycle trail of 3km 

trees and grey sky

None of these shots were taken in monochrome, they just turned out that way in the last bit of light that was available. I love walking through forestry and woodland in the daytime, but late in the evening, as daylight disappears, the atmosphere can turn a little creepy.

Killykeen Park is  located close to Killeshandra and not far from Cavan town. It’s very popular with families, bird watchers, walkers and anglers.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Creepy.”

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Thursday Doors

thursday doors, youghal, ireland historical buildingsNot too far from Shalom House (featured door in a previous post) is another beautiful old stone building called The Stables. It wasn’t just the door that caught my eye, in fact I noticed the windows first. I’m not sure if this is a private residence or connected to Shalom House. The side door was also worthy of a photograph.

The Stables Youghal, historical buildings irelandFollow the link to Norm’s blog to see what fabulous door he is featuring this week.

You’ll find some very interesting doors here, too.

Posted in Historical buildings, Ireland, photo challenges, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

A Dog’s Best Friend

Staying on the subject of animal buddies, here’s a clip of one dog on Tory Island, off the coast of Ireland, that has an unusual best friend. Maybe not quite as rare as the bear and the wolf but just as endearing to watch.

Uploaded from Youtube. Source BBC ‘Country File’

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Unusual Friendship Between Wolf And Bear Documented By Finnish Photographer

Jean Reinhardt:

We could learn a lot from animals.

Originally posted on Wolf Is My Soul:

From boredpanda on August 12, 2015 by Dainius

“It’s very unusual to see a bear and a wolf getting on like this” says Finnish photographer Lassi Rautiainen, 56, who took these surprising photos. The female grey wolf and male brown were spotted every night for ten days straight, spending several hours together between 8pm and 4am. They would even share food with each other.

“No-one can know exactly why or how the young wolf and bear became friends,” Lassi told the Daily Mail. “I think that perhaps they were both alone and they were young and a bit unsure of how to survive alone…It is nice to share rare events in the wild that you would never expect to see.”

“It’s very unusual to see a bear and a wolf getting on like this”


This unlikely pair was spotted by Finnish photographer Lassi Rautiainen


He photographed the female grey wolf and male brown bear every…

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