Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Towers on Foot or by horseback



The Gatehouse at the Towers - Helen Tilston


Arriving at Ballysaggartmore Towers, Co. Waterford, Ireland felt like entering a story book or the setting for Lord of The Rings.   They were built in 1850 by Arthur Kiely-Ussher for his wife who wanted to live in a large house. The plan was to build a large castle but having built the bridge, its towers and the gate lodge, the money ran out so work on the castle never began. Instead they had to settle for a much more modest house which was demolished in the 1930s.

The beginning of our walk at the Towers, the sun was shining, Photo Helen Tilston

If the towers are anything to go by, the castle would have been spectacular.

The watchtower at the Towers, photo Helen Tilston
 Between the Lodge and the Towers is a distance of 2 miles.  Walking is the only way, unless one has their own horse.  I can imagine the joy of riding through this forest on horse-back or even better on horse-back, riding side-saddle, as my niece Evelyn Glynn so chooses.


My niece, Evelyn Glynn riding side-saddle and jumping too, photo M. Glynn


The moss encrused tree seemed to dance, photo: Helen Tilston
About one mile into our walk we spot this tree.  Trees of this rare  beauty need rain and as we stood admiring  her the heavens opened and we got drenched.

Tower, Helen Tilston
We had no option but to continue our walk

Tower, tunnel - Helen Tilston
Through this tunnel and another half mile and we shall be at our car.  I look up and spot a Falcon

This song comes to mind and my brother Thomas, who has a beautiful singing voice  and I sing loudly, Mike joins in the chorus.  As we sang the lyrics, Mike wondered if the composer wrote this when visiting "The Towers"


Luke Kelly and the Dubliners. "Song for Ireland"

I am very inspired and shall be painting my memories of this special day.






73 comments:

  1. Dear Helen,
    What an interesting place to visit. I agree with you, what a castle it would have been if they hadn't run out of money!
    Bye for now,
    Kirk

    PS
    I am super impressed that your niece rides side saddle. I only sat on a horse once and that was enough for me.

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    1. Hello Kirk

      Thanks for commenting. My niece, Evelyn has a degree in Equine Studies,rode as a jockey for a time, show jumping and her latest passion is riding side saddle. I ride but have not tried side saddle.

      Have a wonderful week. I loved hearing about your meeting my dear friends Jane and Lance in Budapest.

      Helen xx

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  2. Helen, what beautiful, romantic pictures!

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    1. Hello Elizabeth

      Thank you and it is is a magical romantic place

      Helen xx

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  3. Helen, I clicked on each photo and, thankfully, it enlarged to full screen so I could really "feel" what you were showing. What a wondrous place. You are exactly...it's an enchantment. And, your niece is amazing to jump side-saddle. Love you....

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    1. Hello Marsha

      Thank you for taking the time to read and view my post. It was a very special day for us. We got soaked and it was wonderful returning home to our comfortable apartment, eating soup and sitting by the fire and singing some more.
      Evelyn has mastered the art of riding side saddle and is scheduled to ride in an event in a week's time.

      Have a wonderful week.

      Helen xx

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  4. The towers and gate are wonderful...if only the rest could have been built!!
    How proud you must be of your niece...she looks perfectly elegant on her horse!
    xo J~

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    1. Hello Jessica

      Yes it would be interesting to see what the castle would have been had money been plentiful. Perhaps the area has been saved from traffic and is a peaceful, beautiful place in a remote area. Evelyn is a very capable rider.

      To a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  5. Oh Helen, everything in this post is beautiful. I so loved the gatehouse, the tower, the tunnel, the path, and the song! I particularly loved the watch-tower. "the money ran out so work on the castle never began" It reminds me of Edo(Chiyoda) Castle(the present Imperial Palace) because its main tower called Tenshu has never been reconstructed since the Big Fire in 17th century due to the same reason. You are right! The fairy tale buildings in the photos are just like ones in the Lord of The Rings!! Looking forward to your new painting on the lovely site!!

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    1. Hello Sapphire

      Thank you for your kind words. It was a surprising visit for us. On this particular day our intention was to visit a garden. We neglected to check the opening and it was closed when we arrived. We continued our drive and stumbled upon "The Towers"It was truly magical.
      How interesting that the Chiyoda Castle has a similar story.
      I hope your week is very special.
      Helenxx

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  6. Dear Helen - please share with us the painting you are inspired to do after this fairy tale walk to Ballysaggartmore Towers. Is it any wonder that Ireland is called the Emerald Isle? so green and lush.
    In a deep secluded valley near here there is an unfinished Gothic revival mansion mysteriously abandoned mid construction. It has been listed as a Grade 1 building to save it from dereliction, but will never be completed. It is being pioneered as an on-siste masonry and building training programme for young people to learn stone mason skills.
    Your nieces riding skills are very very impressive.

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    1. Dear Rosemary
      I am still dreaming in colour of this experinece and shall keep you informed of my paintings. Yes one can see the benefits of the mist in the landscape.
      We were soaked to the bone from the sudden downpour but it felt so good to be walking in such a magical kinddom and singing to our heart's content.
      I am delighted to read that the art of masonry is being revived and kept alive in your area. It is so important.
      Evelyn is a natural on horseback and has been around horses since childhood. She would forever point our horses at pasture when on a car ride.

      Helen xx

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  7. Now you know how Ireland stays so green - it rains every five minutes. It's the abiding memory of my childhood, no matter the season, simply expect rain.But what a beautiful walk. A shame he ran out of money because I'm sure any house would have been spectacular. Great photos, Helen.

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    1. You are right, it rains quickly and the sun also shines just as quickly. Funny how my childhood memories are of sunny summer days and of course misty foggy weather at Christmas and then Easter with flowers and spring fashion colours.

      We had a beautiful day
      Helen xx

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  8. What a wonderful place! I suppose storybook illustrators base their pictures on such places.
    My partner once recorded the Dubliners for the BBC and they were so drunk they kept falling off their chairs. It was a hard recording to make!

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    1. Yes, a perfect spot to create illustrations and paintings.
      How amusing about your partner recording the Dubliners, I can believe it. I remember taking my father in law to see them in concert and they behaved in a likewise manner. Ronnie Drew had an incredible voice and they could make the instruments talk.
      Helen xx

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  9. What a dreamy yet spectacular post! Helen, this lush beauty covering the remains of dreams past reminds me of the temples at Angkor!! Oh how I can understand that this visit would mark you and give you the inspiration to fill many a canvas.

    Wishing you a restful Sunday and a wonderful week ahead,
    xo,
    Heather

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    1. Hello Heather
      Thank you for your kind words. You and Ben would have loved being along for the walk - knowing Ben he would have been smarter and ran to shelter in the tunnel.
      Now you have me wanting to visit Angkor.

      Thanks for your good wishes and may your day be extra special

      Helen xx

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  10. I agree with everyone about the romantic towers but I think the dancing tree is wondrous. I hope it features in one of your paintings.
    Cheers Gillian

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    1. Hi Gillian,

      Yes the tree was quite spectacular and then the falcon and it all inspired us to sing and dance in the forest. We certainly did not act our age!! Hee Hee.

      Hope you have a very special week

      Helen xx

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  11. What an exciting day you had Helen. Such a shame that The tower's has been neglected.. but it sure is a hidden gem.
    The entrance is stunning..
    How magnificent your niece Evelyn looks riding so confidently side saddle.
    Lots to draw and paint around there Helen.
    Thank you for taking us around this magic place.
    Have a wonderful week.
    val xx

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    1. Hello Valerie

      Thanks for commenting. It is a hidden gem
      and I am dreaming of it in different seasons. Blackberries were ripe and in abundance and we feasted on them.There were some sloes too. Once I finish my current commission, I will be chomping at the bit to paint.

      Have a wonderful week

      Helen xx

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  12. Hello Helen:
    What a magical place this looks to be, the wonderfully lush countryside,stone buildings and rain all evoke an Ireland for us that we have often dreamed of living in.

    The Towers are so fabulously romantic and really beckon one to explore, rather like entering into a fairy tale. Yes, one can only imagine how impressive the Castle would have been if built, but, perhaps, left to our imaginations, the Castle becomes even more a destination of dreams.

    We are not at all surprised that you have been inspired by your visit to paint and capture some of the magic of the Towers and its surroundings on canvas. We hope that we might be afforded a little look at the finished result.

    And, what a fine horsewoman your niece, Evelyn, looks to be. Perfect!

    Thank you so much for giving your encouragement to Kirk to visit us whilst in Budapest. He experienced a baptism of fire in a rather lively dinner party but we hope that he survived unscathed and will be tempted back again. And, so too, we hope you will come one day, dearest Helen.

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    1. Dearest Jane and Lance

      You make a very good point here when you say that the dream of a Castle stretches the imagination. I am looking forward to painting and recalling this magical day.

      Thanks for your comment on Evelyn. She has had a keen if not obsessed interest in horses since childhood. Her father and grandfather all having worked with horses.

      It is so exciting to think that Kirk saw you both in Budapest. There is no doubt we will meet one day soon also. I am so looking forward to that day!

      Wishing you a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  13. Oh Helen, what a very sad tale! If only they had made the towers a little roomier they could have lived there!
    I love the Dubliners, and went to see them live at Wembley when I was a schoolgirl. My friend and I so enjoyed ourselves singing along, clapping and cheering, that a member of the audience said 'he would like some of what we were having', which made us laugh uproariously, as it was simply joy of living! I can imagine you and your brother, on your walk full of such joy. Much love to you, Linda x

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    1. Hello Linda

      So true Linda, I think if the Gate House and towers were complete they would satisfy a family with minimal taste.

      I am giggling thinking of you and your friend having a fun time listening to the Dubliners. Was Luke Kelly with them then? He died some years ago and what a loss. Live concerts are the best!

      Have a wonderful week

      Helen xx

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  14. Oh my goodness, Helen, what a beautiful place to visit.
    Your photographs are just wonderful.
    Thank you for taking us along, and Happy Sunday to you!
    xo.

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    1. Hello Lisa

      You would have had a field day shooting images. Glad you enjoyed seeing "the towers"

      Thanks for your kind wishing and may your week be filled with joy

      Helen xx

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  15. Enchanted is definitely the word. Beautiful photographs.

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    1. Thank you for your kind word and compliment

      Hope your week is very special

      Helenxx

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  16. What a magical place that must be, Helen. Your photos are beautiful. Love the moss covered tree and tunnel posts. And to see a Falcon! How special! I would love to see one. These are memories enough to last a lifetime for you.

    Sanda

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    1. Hello Sanda
      It was a very special day and to have spent it with our youngest brother added to the joy. We were so grateful that his health allowed him the strength on this day to complete the walk.

      We have filed away the beautiful memories of this day and will withdraw on them when needed.

      To a special week, full of blessings

      Helen xx

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  17. What an awe-inspiring post! Thanks for sharing your experience, Helen :)

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    1. Hello Becky

      And thank you for visiting and commenting

      My best

      Helen xx

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  18. Wonderful pictures. Indeed, it causes one to have visions of knight, and kings, and all the romance that goes along with it. The story behind the Gate and Towers is so romantic in its own right!! Thank you!! Cathy

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    1. Hello Cathy

      You describe beautifully how we felt when we stumbled upon the Towers. Kings, knights and romance and sad times too we recalled. There is likely a very long story to the history of the Towers and sometimes it is better to just accept it for what it is

      Have a great week

      Helen xx

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  19. Hi Helen,

    Magical and magnificent...of course you are inspired! It is a shame about the house, but perhaps some things were just meant to be. The forest, lush with green, seems to be singing a song of its own. Melodic, with hints of melancholy, like the story of the house that never was.

    Hope you have a great week!

    Poppy xo

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    1. Hello Poppy

      You are right the forest did sing its own song and when the sun peaked the long shadows lured us alson.

      We are looking forward to a return visit to sense the experience again.

      Have a glorious week

      Helen xx

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  20. Wow, Helen, your towers absolutely look like something out of a fairy story. I thought I had stepped into the pages of Tolkien this morning. And your niece looks so elegant astride her horse and sidesaddle to boot - like something from another time.
    Have a beautiful week! XO

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    1. Hello Jeanne

      Tolkien is a suitable reference to the Towers. The setting is mysterious and could be the backdrop for many movies. I now wonder if it has been used. Evelyn is a great horsewoman and seems to adopt to many styles of riding. Side-saddle is challenging and elegant.

      To a beautiful week also

      Helen x

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  21. Your walk sounds lovely Helen. It reminds me of the walks my husband and I made when in Ireland years ago. It is a special country!

    Wish you a lovely week!

    Madelief x

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    1. Hello Madelief

      I am sure you would love the walk and perhaps would identify more plants and trees than I should.

      Blackberries were also ripe for the picking and we feasted

      Have a beautiful week too

      Helen xx

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  22. Kind of reminds me of Robin Hood, Helen

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    1. Yes, you are right. Ha Ha - The Towers seems to bring out so many memories of our childhood and ones imagination can be stretched.

      Helen xx

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  23. Such beautiful photos you have taken! I would have to agree that if the castle were built it would have been majestic. Did you get to travel around Waterford much? Perhaps on your next trip you would like to check out the beautiful Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre http://goo.gl/H9EeR home to some of the world's finest Crystal! It is great to hear that you will be creating some paintings inspired by your trip, we cannot wait to see them. :)

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    1. Thank you for your kind words and I am plotting my paintings.
      We have visited Waterford Crystal in the past and it is a wonderful and enlightening experience. We have many treasures from Waterford and my living room lamps are from Waterford. I recall our visit and seeing a bespoke chandelier in the making which was destined for a Palace, I shall leave unnamed and for the quality of the piece, we felt it was reasonable.

      Slan

      Helen xx

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  24. Thank you for calling by at my blog. Do call again, you are very welcome.
    I did enjoy this outing to Waterford, great photos too.
    I shall be reading more here for sure.

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    1. Hello Cait

      A warm "cead mile failte" to my blog. Thank you for reading and for your words of appreciation.

      I will indeed be visiting you again.

      Helen xx

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  25. That place is so picturesque it is almost ridiculous. The back-story reminds me of Squires' Castle in Ohio. Rockefeller executive Feargus Squire, was going to build a large estate, but only got around to the gatehouse, the shell of which which is now located in a Park and can be explored. My next trip home, I'll have to do a post on it.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. It is indeed a place of beauty and tranquility. It was worth the two mile walk. I will be very interested to hear of Squires Castle when you post about it. It, too, sounds very interesting.

      Helen xx

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  26. Dear Helen

    What a lovely post this is and I absolutely, absolutely love the pictures. Your 'Lord of the Rings' allusion is quite spot-on, more so with your vivid description of the towers.
    Too bad, it didn't materialize into what it was meant to be, but as long as there's such breathtaking charm, I don't mind it in the least.
    Many thanks for sharing the splendour. Take care.

    Suman

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    1. Hello Suman

      Thank you for stopping and I am delighted to read you enjoyed this post. I can imagine your Writer's mind in such a place and the stories that would enfold.
      It is complete in its own way and is stable so I feel it shall remain for a long long time.
      Hope your week is spectacular.

      Helen xx

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  27. Oh, Helen, what a glorious post. It makes me want to pack my bags and travel all the way there!
    It's the perfect setting for a gothic novel!
    Your niece looks splendid on horse back and adds absolutely to the charm of everything!
    You must be thrilled and surely in your mind there are plenty of pictures to be painted in plain air!
    Thanks for all your lovely and loyal comments, I have relished in all your visits, while we were in limbo....
    Now we are back among the living.....Internet and all!

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    1. Hello Victoria

      So lovely to hear from you and to know all is getting back to normal for you and your neighbours.

      The day was very special. Evelyn is a natural on horseback and is very brave. She has owned horses since she was a child so has tremendous respect and love for them.

      It is always a delight to visit you and hear your words.

      Helen xx

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  28. Thanks for your comment and for following along. I love anything that looks like it could have sprung out of the Lord of the Rings. You seem to have visited and enchanted place. It is beautiful.

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    1. Hello Loree

      A big welcome to my blog and thank you for following. You are right the setting of the Towers could very much have worked for Lord of the Rings.
      A very special place.

      Have a wonderful weekend

      Helen xx

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  29. Dearest Helen, I'm utterly enchanted by your beautiful visit to Ballysaggartmore Towers. It reminded me of the first line from Rebecca, a novel by Daphne du Maurier, "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again". It's so beautiful and romantic. I fell in love with the Dubliners - Song For Ireland. It captures the essence of this beautiful country. The creative gene runs in your family. You are a talented artist and your brother is a beautiful singer.

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    1. Dearest ASD

      You have reminded me to pick up Rebecca again and go to that beautiful world. Manderley differens to each of us and you live in your own beautiful version of this house.
      I am so happy you enjoyed Luke Kelly singing. Yes my brother Thomas has a great singing voice.He has a wicked sense of humour too. One time he won two tickets for the Rolling Stones Concert, a phone in contest show on RTE, the prize was for Ireland's worst singer. My brother phoned in and sang "I did it my way" purposefully off key. Just thinking about it has be laughing.
      Thank you for the beautiful compliment

      Helen xx

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  30. Very pretty and romantic. It looks like a great spot to unwind.

    philippine real estate

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  31. Helen,

    You are living a Harry Potter type of adventure aren't you? Magical, mystery, spiritual, historic, and heart pounding sights, sounds, music and smells. Good thing paintings don't have surround sense sound or we'd be in real trouble. But something does take over doesn't it and we go with that flow and what wonderful experiences are left to be told.

    Happy weekend!

    Bette

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    1. Hello Bette

      So true living the adventure. I love your imagination and envisioning pictures with surround sound is marvelous. I know exactly what you mean and being in the flow, the zone and seeing light and shadow.

      Have a week of joy

      Helenxx

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  32. Hello Helen - I cannot think of a more perfect day. Amazing setting, stunning history, and the joy of song. How I love the Dubliners : ) How proud you must be of Evelyn; she looks absolutely eloquent on that amazing horse. Have a fun weekend and looking forward to seeing your paintings of this memorable day.

    Deb x

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    1. Hello Deb

      Thank you for your kind words and yes we are proud of Evelyn. She is fearless and has a wonderful understanding of horses. Glad you like the Dubliners.

      Wishing you a week of happiness.

      Helen x

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  33. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY A TREAT TO SEE!!! And I could never understand how women can ride sidesaddle...the muscles required for stability are those we probably are not used to using! What glorious grounds and ruins, Helen! And thank you so much for visiting with me! Anita

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    1. Hello Anita

      I agree with you that riding side saddle is a skill. It is also elegant. Your imagination would run absolutely wild and I would love to see your take on The Towers in a post.

      To a week of joy
      Helen xx

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  34. Helen, What a lovely post to read as my first visit to your page (meant to get here after you wrote, but travel got in the way). I am signing up as a follower as soon as I finish this message!

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    1. Hello Jackie and Joel

      A warm and heartfelt welcome on your first visit. I will look forward to more of your visit and I shall be visiting you also

      Helen xx

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  35. I know your paintings will be as remarkable as this beautiful place. It looks like you found a hidden jewel that no one else knows about...a place hidden from everyone else. It's beautiful and so is your niece!

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    1. Hello Di

      You are right this is off the beaten track and suitable for walkers only or the horseback rider. I am looking forward to painting and recalling the memories of this eventful day

      Helen xx

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  36. Helen your lovely photographs of this enchanting place just have me pining to visit Ireland again, it's been so long since my last visit. It's easy to see why they call it the "Emerald Isle"
    XXX

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    1. Hello Dash

      Thank you for your compliment and I hope you manage to visit Ireland soon. You likely could take the ferry from France to Kinsale or fly to Cork airport.

      Wishing you a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  37. Wow, beautiful photos. I think I'd have just lived in the tower, if it was possible. I can only imagine their castle would have been glorious.

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  38. I have always been fascinated by the place and it is my dream to live there someday. Ireland is so rich of culture and tradition that it is very interesting to be a part of. They have maintained their edifices which makes it a good tourist destination.
    - TowerMaintenance.com

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