Wednesday, July 18.

Middle son Rich’s birthday today.

Today we headed off towards Cork, stopping first at the National Heritage Park at Ferricarrig in County Wexford. The park shows how Ireland has developed from the Stone Age.

Middle Stone Age, the first people to come to Ireland arrived some 9,000 years ago, after the last ice age. They were Stone Age people who lived by hunting, fishing and gathering.

Next came the New Stone Age, when around 6,000 years ago the first farmers arrived.

Around this time Megalithic Tombs began to appear. These were places of worship and burial sites made from huge boulders, found all across Europe. This type is called a Portal Tomb and usually held the remains of all village inhabitants for about 50 years. Bodies were first cremated and then placed in urns.

With the inception of the Bronze Age, the method of burials changed. Copper and gold were the first metals to be used in Ireland around 4,500 years ago. Interesting that tin, the metal combined with copper to form bronze, cannot be found in Ireland and must have been brought from England or elsewhere. The great Stone Age tombs were abandoned and single burials appeared instead.

This is the trunk of a tree found in a peat bog. It could be up to 5,000 years old. Tests are currently underway to find out.

We saw the stone circle at Stonehenge earlier in the week. Stone circles date back to the Bronze Age, and were built between 3,000 and 4,000 years ago. We know they were ritual sites as well as being used to mark stages of the year.

Ingham is an early form of writing invented in Ireland over 1,600 years ago and. Asked on the Latin alphabet. The language used is Irish, the first evidence for the use of a Celtic language.

Early Medieval Ringforts are very common on the Irish landscape from about 1,500 to 2,000 years ago, but being different to the Roman model, being strongly defended but most were just enclosed farmsteads.

The Early Christian Monastery is typical of those when Ireland became a Christian country about 2,500 years ago. Different to the Roman Monasteries, they were created as centres for art and learning.

The Priors house is in the foreground.

Chapter House. Stone roof with soil and grasses.

Copy of one of those Celtic crosses.

Inside of the Chapel.

Crannog’s were artificial islands, usually surrounded by a palisade of some form with houses or industrial holdings inside. They were used in Ireland up to about 400 years ago.

Great geometry and expertise.

Birds of prey and the excavations on the hill.

Just a few door knockers. Haven’t had any for a few days.

Lyle, this is the door knocker on the outside of the lodge. Gave the knocks but alas no one replied.

Great fence outside St Catherine’s Hall.

Looks like a tax dodge to me.

Interesting memorials.

Next stop Waterford Crystal.

Many great examples of extraordinary craftsmanship. There nine stages of inspections and pieces can be discarded right up until the final inspection. We actually saw this happen in the blowing section, one minute it was a crystal vase, next minute it was scrap.

The next three object are rare. They are the only ones.

Seven year apprenticeship to become a master blower.

In the cutting room.

Different stages in the making of a bowl.

All done by hand, with great skill. They look through the crystal to cut on the outside.

Some of their fine examples.

This is a lead crystal replica of the 9-11 monument. The guy who made this designed the real one. Cost, can’t be valued.

Want to buy this, $76,000.

Linda was shopping for a new chandelier.

There’s a bear in there.

Irish inventors and designers.

Next a tour of the Viking triangle.

This is where it all started, or perhaps was supposed to finish.

Reginald’s Tower.

Row, row , row your boat.

The original Viking church.

The Viking way.

What to do with a dead tree.

The new Viking museum.

Monument to those who did not come home.

Strongbox and Aiofe, pronounced effa.

St Francis of Assisi chapel.

Just looks great.

Weary we headed for our camp ground at Blarney, where we will visit the castle tomorrow.

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