Posted by: mdmusingsie | May 9, 2010

BBTTG (before back to the grind)

Last day of (relative) freedom before I have to start work again, so I decided to go castle hunting. I found one heading up towards Sligo, in Ballymote. It’s a fully enclosed or “keepless” castle without a separate keep or watch tower. It had lots of round towers, at the corners and the front. It’s a ruin now, especially the front, but most of the side towers are intact. They put up a gate to keep people from getting in (and hurting themselves or creating mischief, I suppose), and it was locked when I was there. Naturally, while doing some follow up research on Wikipedia, I found out you can get the key to open the gate (M-F of course). That will teach me to research before going hunting. Maybe I’ll go back one day during the week since it’s only about an hour away. (Pictures available soon – I’m working on an alternative to my website as it’s too time consuming to shrink each picture before posting it.)

After that I went in search of Parke’s Castle, just outside of Sligo – what I have now dubbed the ‘hardest to find’ castle in Ireland. The signage is minimal to non existent. I tried to find this castle on my last trip, and gave up after several tries.

Not to be outdone, I set forth again. Once you get off the N4, which actually tells you the exit to take, there is not a whit of sign to be found. Using the map and a token sign or two I was able to come within about 4-5 km of the place, making it as far as Dromahair where the signage dropped off again. After nearly an hour of going up and down assorted roads, I decided enough is enough and there must be some cosmically driven reason why I should not go to this castle.

Using a path down my writer’s right brain, picture some dastardly deed either done by or to me in a previous life. It was so traumatic, that even these hundreds of years later the spirits of the place don’t want me to return. They’ve hidden the signs from my view and turned me around and around so I’ll never be able to go back again. Hmmm, that sounds like the perfect premise for a story…

Well, I’ve decided that if the spirits don’t want me to go there, I will stop trying. Besides, there are plenty of other, friendlier castles to visit.

As stated, my days of freedom to travel are at a temporary close as I’ll be turning in the rental car this week. It’s too costly to rent one for the entire time, especially when it will sit most days while I’m working. If I had thought of it sooner I could have set up a donation site where people could contribute to my auto rental fund, to help defray the cost of my travels, which, ar ndóigh, are the inspiration for much of these entries. 😉

Fear not – there will be plenty more to come. I already have ideas for several more postings, including excerpts from the mystery of Parke’s Castle story brewing in my head.

Random Note: saw a limo both on my way to and back from Sligo. Not the most common sight, this side of Dublin, and I’m glad I’m not driving one of those down the 1 ¾ lane roads.

PS – feel free to post comments once in a while – they give me hope that someone is actually reading these painstakingly crafted articles. Go raibh maith agat to both folks who have done so already.


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