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kilkenny Castle Rose Garden & Park

On Monday the 26th October 2009 I went to visit Kilkenny Castle Rose Park & Gardens. I went under the recommendation of my good friend Pat Fitzgerald.

As I walked up towards the castle I was bemused at the amount of brand spanking smooth polished granite that adorned such a vast are[n]a, complete with mirror polished steel against this ancient backdrop of the beautiful castle…. who on Gods earth decided on this…? such a shame. And to those who did this… you should be ashamed.

That out of my system. It was the gardens I went to see.Admission is free. The grounds are very well maintained.The sight of new tree planting schemes is to be applauded and admired. I really do love this park… The hills of grass so high in parts that one couldn’t see over the far side. The wooded areas were left with stacks of wood [brilliant for wildlife]underneath the canopy of wooded leaf areas. The leaves adorned some of the footpaths but not all. There are so many options when walking here… the poem ‘the road less travelled’ really does come to mind. The walkway by the waters edge is superb, so romantic, such a break from the norm…

It really is so very well done.  The grounds staff deserve a standing ovation. I could have stayed here all day….

The bad bit…. the rose garden was closed off. I attempted to sneak in under the advice of two local ladies…. but I got caught and was chucked out 😉 So this now becomes a review of Kilkenny Castle Park…

Go there and visit. Take your time. Bring the kids. Bring the dog. Watch out for the such beautiful secluded seating areas. Take your time and enjoy. This is up there with the best of them.

More images of kilkenny castle gardens can be viewed here

doneraile park

On my winter holidays and travelling from Limerick to Cork I needed a fix. I needed to see a park. I had to. I found one. There was some works going on in the car park. That didn’t matter.

It wasn’t Stephens green. It didn’t have to be. It was Doneraile Park. It was January. It was freezing. It was beautiful. I didn’t spend as much time there as I would have liked – but, I could have stayed there forever. It was romantic. It wasn’t pretty flowers in tidy rows. Although parks of that style have a place in Ireland too I was glad this one didn’t. It was simply nature at its best.

Some recent tree planting was evident which is always great to see.

To the Dúchas staff who look after – bulaidh bós.

the amazing skerries mills

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I thought this would be a boring day out. The ones you got ‘dragged’ out on when you were a nipper. I also thought, at first, the €6.50 tour charge was a bit steep, I was [very] pleasantly surprised.

This, had to be, one of the best ‘tours’ I’ve ever been on. Skerries Mills is simply amazing -and it’s a lot more than just a tour. And before you ask, I wasn’t given VIP tickets to visit!

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I went with ‘herself’ for a bite to eat in the coffee shop and after some good filling home cooking, we took the tour. Paddy our guide has been involved in literally every stage of the renovation of the mills, going back ten years-ish now, into what it is today and he knows everything. Add to that a good sense of humour and one finds that it is the people that make a place.

From how the 55 acres surrounding the mills came into the councils hands, how spontaneous combustion evolved from static and flour and why the life expectancy for those [lucky enough to get a job there?] was only 40 years of age… is amongst the many facts that make the journey extremely enjoyable. Outside of that ‘The Mills’ are self sufficent, financially. That is, they have to break even. And they do, now.

€6.50! In my day we could have bought the entire mills for that and still had change for a loaf of bread…..

That aside, my other interest was/ is that we ‘are’ going back to the days of water conservation, wind power and home-made; gave me an insight into how ‘not so far away’ we are from those days of old returning.

As I said €6.50 each; todays made home made scones [i asked] and a pot of tea – it is, I thought at first, a bit my Dad’s kind of thing [at least I felt like him for a little…] but it was worth every cent!

Would I return – if only just for the warm scones!