My walk the other day took me to Centennial Park in my home town of Nashville. The park was created for the Tennessee Centennial and International Exposition in 1897. After the Exposition it was renamed Centennial Park. An artificial lake was constructed there as well as a bandshell and sunken gardens. The original Exposition had several unique buildings including a model of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. The original was built largely out of plaster and was dismantled after the Exposition and in the 1920’s a local architectural firm, Hart, Freeland & Roberts, won the bid to build an exact replica of the original using concrete and steel. The firm’s owner went to Athens and studied the Parthenon in great detail. It is magnificent and the only exact replica in the world. Many years later, local sculptor Alan LeQuire completed a sculpture of Athena, and it is said to be the largest indoor sculpture in the world. Anyone visiting Nashville should definitely see this beautiful piece of our history. After all, Nashville is known as “The Athens of the South.”
Johnstown Castle estate has been home to two prominent Wexford families. The first owners were the Esmondes; a Norman family who settled in the county in the 1170s. They constructed the tower houses at Johnstown and Rathlannon during the 15th or 16th century. During the Cromwellian period of 1640s the estate was confiscated and changed hands several times before being acquired by John Grogan in 1692, whose descendents remained at Johnstown up until 1945. In this year Maurice Victor Lakin presented Johnstown Castle estate as a gift to the Nation.
As usual it started raining and rained and rained. It will be weird to come home tomorrow to the “nice, warm humid, Tennessee climate. Lori had to get her paintings ready so we just walked around town looking at all the shops and the people. We had a really nice dinner at Green Acres restaurant. Sandie had the fresh fish and Lori and I had the beef filet, from an award winning Irish Hereford. It was the best hunk of meat I have ever eaten! They served it with ,ummmmm, potatoes, and celeriac chips. Celeriac is a root veggie, and it looks like potatoes! I’ll have to research it more. Desert was berries and cream, and Wexford is known for its strawberries. There is also a fine creamery in Wexford and so the ice cream was yummy too. Maybe a little red wine and some Irish coffee to finish it off, and we slept like babies!
Saturday was a quiet day for us. The artists painted in Wexford and had quite a large crowd. We shopped for souvenirs because most stores are closed on Sunday. Monday is a Bank Holiday, which is really just a Monday holiday when the banks close.
We had a dinner at the Irish heritage center, but really didn’t get to explore the site. It was after hours. Not having a car we are somewhat limited. Our dinner was a nice prime rib and along with it, not one but two scoops of mashed potatoes and a roasted potato! The vegetables were onions, zucchini, and you guessed it, potatoes! Lots of potatoes. They have the largest, sweetest baked potatoes and they come with your choice of topping! Those would be, cheese, corn, chili, sour cream, you name it. I am happy but the diet is not!
Today we will catch the bus to Johnstown Castle and see what’s there. Hope for some good photos. The weather is stir good, sun right now! Can’t wait to bore everyone with our stories. The Irish history is so interesting. I never really knew much about it and look forward to learning much more.
Just a few more random photos till tomorrow. Guinness sign from the pub in Inistigue, our huge baked potato, some fish from the fish and chip place.
And for the American world who thinks there are sheep everywhere, there are, but you can’t pull over on these little roads, specially if you aren’t driving! Found one rouge lambie hiding in the bush!
Just wanted to give you a few more photos to enjoy.
The field of wheat was taken behind Loftus Hall before our tour. There are a couple more at Hook Lighthouse and surrounding coast. As they say, “this picture just doesn’t do it justice! The crest on the back of the boat says “kiss my ass” in Gaelic, don’t know if you can see the little leprechaun bottom!
We got up this morning and the weather in Wexford was dreadful. We decided to go to Hook Head anyway. What a great day! We were on the photo walk with Paul Freeny, who is a local photographer. We started at Hook Head Lighthouse. It is the oldest operating lighthouse in world. It’s over 800 years old, and was started long ago by the monks to guide ships on the Irish sea. The new lighthouse is built over the old original lighthouse.
We went down the road a way to a spot in the road called Slade. There is an old castle that no one takes care of. Such a shame to me but I guess there are so many ruins here that they aren’t as special. The photo with the truck and castle below is at Slade.
From there we went to Loftus Hall, a beautiful old home that had fallen into ruins. About a year ago a couple bought it and are working hard to renovate and open it for tourists. It is supposed to be the most haunted house in Ireland. We couldn’t tour the house because of the work, but we did get a guided tour outside, and in one room. There is a story about a stranger who came up from the sea, and the family gave him shelter. The daughter fell madly in love with the stranger, and one night they were playing cards and she dropped a card. As she bent down under the table she noticed he had a cloven foot! It was the devil! He shot up through the roof, and it could never be repaired! The girl never married and stayed in her room for the rest of her life.
Our last stop was in Duncannon, where there was an old fort. Dunn means fort in Gaelic. From there, after a pub visit, we came back to Wexford. We met the group at T. Morrisey’s for, you guessed it, a beer!
Yesterday we drove to Enniscorthy. It’s about 45 minutes from Wexford. The day was absolutely gorgeous! Quite a change from the rain. Of course it’s raining like crazy now, but that’s likely to change.
Last night was a nocturne painting for the artists, meaning they paint at night. The moon was full and it was so beautiful, but cold!
Ok I just realized I am going backwards, so yesterday we drove to the town of Enniscorthy. It is famous for the Battle of Vinegar Hill, in 1798. More on that later. We went through a castle and some incredible cathedrals.
Well, today started out cold, wet and rainy. As artists are not delicate flowers, off we went to Clonegal, about 30 minutes from Wexford. Quite an adventure. Another quaint Irish town with more pubs than population. Just kidding. The people were just delightful and friendly, as all the Irish have been. I was standing on the bridge taking photos and a small woman came walking across. She stopped to say good morning. Her name was Annie Sullivan and she was born in Clonegal. She had sent someone to fetch her milk and a loaf, (bread) but they forgot the bread so she was walking over to get it. Her big concern was for the lady with all the books who had just died. I’ll have to look that one up on google. We walked across the bridge together and she bid me good day.
We had soup and sandwiches and of course a pint os Smithwich’s. oh and it was a funeral parlor before, they made caskets and funeral arrangements in the front and sold beer in the back. When they built the new bar, they used coffin wood!
Then we toured Huntington Castle, one of only 5 castles left in Ireland still owned by the family.
The great great grandson gave us the tour and the family lives there now. The great aunt is 95 and when she was younger she and her husband founded the Isis Temple in their basement, and she has followers all over the world. The bar keeper said that when she has a meeting of her worshipers, they come down for some tea and “spirits”
So, that brings us to 9:56 pm and the sun just went down. Lori had a critique so Sandie and I went to Thomas Moore’s to eat. We are about to call it a night. Tomorrow off to somewhere I can’t pronounce. Night to all!
The rain finally subsided and thanks to a fellow artist, Terry, we got to go to Kilmore Quay. The weather was not great, but we got to eat at The Saltie Chipper. Sandie and Lori finally got their real fish and chips. I had chips and risole. Risole is like a big fat potato pancake. Some have meat. It’s really a way to use up leftovers. The fish was haddock and I think they just pulled it out of the sea.
They don’t have inside seating so lunch was a little soggy!
But we carried on, Lori painted and Sandie and I wandered and took photos. This is a real fishing spot on the Irish Sea. Some of the houses have thatched roofs. They look like hobbit houses.
Although it was a little gray and wet, it was a fun adventure. This little island is full of surprises. This morning the wind has been blowing and rain pouring but we found out that we will head to Clonegal Afterall.