Summer Outing to Castledermot, Moone and Ballitore, Co.Kildare
Date: Saturday, 11th May 2019
Guide: Sharon Greene
The first Summer outing of 2019 was to the very interesting medieval town of Castledermot, Co.Kildare where our guide was Sharon Greene, who is editor of Archaeology Ireland . Sharon conducted a walking tour of the town focusing primarily on the story of the medieval town and started at the early monastic site which is now St. James's Church and also took in the magnificent Franciscan Friary, Carlowgate/town wall, Market Square, Fair Green and pointed out the site of St. John's.
After lunch in The Clubhouse at Kilkea Castle, we visited Moone and its 10th century high cross, followed by a visit to the nearby Quaker village of Ballitore.
Tour of Dalkey Island
Date: Saturday, 15th June 2019
Meeting Point : Coliemore Harbour (Meeting time 10am)
On Saturday, 15th June 2019, in beautiful weather, archaeologist Jason Bolton, led us on a fascinating tour of Dalkey Island. This was a repeat of the very successful tours of 2017 and 2018.
The tour began at the boat harbour on the island, examining the site of the 1960s archaeological excavations where remains from the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Iron Age/early medieval trade with the Roman Empire were uncovered. This was followed by a visit to the early medieval ecclesiastical
site and the Napoleonic War fortifications. Jason also showed us the probable location(s) of the medieval port of Dalkey and described the use of the island as a trading post, settlement site, refuge, prison, duelling ring and military base.
We finished up by doing some bird-watching, getting really close-up views of nesting Great Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls with their downy young. Oystercatchers, Shelduck and terns also seemed to be nesting on the island.
Outing to Mountmellick and Emo
Date: Saturday, 27th July 2019
Guide: Rob Goodbody
Rob Goodbody organised a visit to Emo Court and Mountmellick on Saturday, 27th July.
Emo Court is a neo-classical mansion designed by James Gandon for the Earl of Portarlington. Gandon is best known for the Custom House, the Four Courts and a few other works in Dublin and Emo Court is the only substantial country house that he designed. The house was donated to the state twenty-five years ago by its last occupant, Cholmeley Harrison, who restored the house to its full splendour following several decades of occupation by the Jesuits.
After Emo Court, our visit to Mountmellick started with a visit to the Museum which was opened specially for us at 2pm. The Museum has a dual focus – as a centre for the care and display of Mountmellick work and also the Quaker influences on Mountmellick. Mountmellick work is a uniquely Irish tradition of embroidery with white thread on a white background. We also looked at the town itself which was an industrial centre in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with a great deal of Quaker influence. The Quaker community also ran Mountmellick School in the town.
Visit to Kilkenny
Date: Saturday 10th Aug. 2019
Guided visits were booked for us at the following 3 sites:
1) The wonderful ‘new' St. Mary’s Medieval Mile Museum at 11.30 (€10)
2) Rothe House Museum and Gardens at 3.00 (€8.50)
3) St. Canice’s Cathedral at 5.00 (€4).