After all the excitement of the day before, today was going to be a bit more relaxed. Cousin J was coming from Trim and the 5 of us were setting off to see more countryside and a few more relatives.
We were on our way to Carrickmacross, the town where Patty’s father was born. On the way, we passed through Ardee and drove down its main street past Ardee Castle.
Ardee development originated in the 13th century. It was a medieval walled town, but ongoing development of the town has obscured most of the old details. The population today is close to 5,000. Ardee Castle is a fortified medieval tower house built in the 15th century and used as a prison in the 17th and 18th centuries.
We drove on to Carrickmacross to pay our respects to those who are no longer with us, including many of Patty’s forebears. We had first made this pilgrimage in 1977, while on our honeymoon and again in 2008 with our two sons.
Carrickmacross (rock of the wooded plain) is a market town that developed around a castle built by the Earl of Essex in 1630. The town became famous for Carrickmacross lace, devised by Mrs. Grey Porter, wife of the rector of Donaghmoyne, who introduced it in 1820. While the lace making has faltered several times over the years, the tradition is still being maintained to this day.
Our next stop was in Castleblayney to visit with cousin C, whom we had first met in 1977. We enjoyed our visit with Cousin C and the facility even provided tea and bickies. Postscript: Regrettably, Cousin C passed away on St. Patrick’s Day this year. A sad day, indeed.
The town of Castleblayney originated in the Tudor conquest of Gaelic Ulster in the Nine Years’ War 1594-1603. Population as at 2011 was 3,634.
Before leaving Castleblayney, we popped down to Lough Muckno (a small fresh water lake) for a bit of a wander. Recent rains had raised the level of the lake, but it was still a pleasant enough spot to stretch our legs.
Castleblayney being near the border with Northern Ireland, we zigged and zagged our way down the narrow roads to the next destination of Inniskeen.
After a brief visit with F’s sister and her husband, we drove to the grave of Patrick Kavanagh, Irish poet and novelist (1904-1967). As per his request, his grave was covered in shamrocks.
Our day’s travels at an end, we stopped for groceries and headed back to Collon, driving down its streets one last time.
Time to pack up and get ready for our travels home tomorrow. Sad that the vacation is over, but happy to be heading home.