Stone Circles and Terryglass Castle
Determined to find all references to the name Terry in Ireland we had already been to a place outside Galway named Terry land. This turned out to be an old demesne. The house was in ruins with little left to show for it. I have not been able to find out much about the original house and the last time by this location I saw none of the ruins that were there before. I did notice a shopping mall name Terryland I suppose in honor of the estates across the way. So between my first visit and my last visit the ruin has disappeared.
It was an old house.
We went on to Terryglass, County Tipperary, Ireland looking for Terry Glass Castle. Set on the North Tipperary shore of Lough Derg, largest of the lakes on the Shannon River system, Terryglass boasts a magnificent harbor which is only a stroll away. This area is renowned for its coarse fishing, pike, rud and bream. We were Headed to Cork and coming from Roscommon through Athlone, Balinasloe Loughrea. From Terryglass we would continue back up to Birr and then on down through Roscrea, Templemore, Thurles, Cashel, Caher, Mitchelstown, Fermoy and finally Cork. It was a long and interesting drive but the side trip to Terryglass proved to be as interesting as many of the more well known sites. The Blue book guide promised a unique castle built in the shape of a four leaf clover and only one of two known examples. The village itself was quite lovely and peaceful with large green acres across which you could see the village in the distance. As such it was very picturesque. An old sign, white with black letters said Terryglass Castle and an arrow. Following this we came to another sign at the entrance to a long tree lined driveway with a smaller sign that said please park your car and walk to the castle. Normally I follow instructions so as not to be impolite but this sign was so old I decided to tell anyone who stopped me that we didn't see the sign as well I might not have since it was tacked to a tree above eyesight. I don't usually tell fibs either but we were both tired and neither of us wanted to walk all the way down the drive only to find out the castle was not available to be seen. A small parking lot was on the other end of the drive and as we were getting out a man approached the car. Fearing the worst I asked if he minded much if we just took a quick peek at the castle. He was very pleasant and said, "not at all, come with me and I'll show you it myself." We walked passed a rather long house toward Lough Derg while he continued to talk about himself and the property. He said that he just recently bought the property after spending many years in Germany as a developer and he'd come home to Ireland to enjoy his retirement. After a short walk we came to rubble of white stone about two stories high. He said he wanted to restore the ground floor and turn it into a disco. As we rounded the ruin you could make out two of the turreted corners. Not a very big castle. On the lough side you could see what remained of the cavity with a few steps against one wall. He then wanted to know what my interests were and I told him first it was named Terryglass and that caught my eye as Terry was my last name. He pointed to the lough and the grass and said it had to do with the grass like that. It was a pretty grassy slope that ran gracefully to the water's edge. He said the Vikings attacked the castle from the lakeside and you could still find bits and pieces of the attack. He said that the castle was put to ruin by Cromwell's forces. (I like the way they talk in Ireland... "put to ruin"...) Secondly I told him I liked the antiquities or the "Old Stones" including the menhirs, the standing stones, the wedge tombs, the court tombs, all the tombs, the dolmens, dolmens cromlechs menhirs and places like Newgrange, Carrowkeel, Carrowmore, Queen Maeve's tomb, all the old derelict stone cottages, the old castles and ruins and more. I liked the all the old stones. So we talked about old stones and what was of interest to me. I told him that I thought that you could feel a vibration in some of the stones which I thought was unusual. He said he thought he could feel that by laying his hand on the old castle wall. I told him about the stones in Australia that were polarized by fire and indicated that the world had tipped over during man's time on earth. I said I was fascinated that some carvings can be found around the world such as the spirals found on the curb stones at New Grange and also in Marin County California and also in New Mexico. I related how I was told not to move the old stones about or I would stir up bacteria and such things that were buried in the stones. There were many superstitions about the stones of old cottages from the famine times - that the sickness and illnesses were still in those stones and moving them, would release the germs and cause sickness again. The Turoe stone was an example of a mystery. The Castlestrange stone is located in the grounds of "Castlestrange House" near Athleague in County Roscommon. It is a granite boulder decorated with flowing spirals in the La Tène style, dating from the Iron Age period between 500 BC and 100 AD. It is believed that there was a strong Continental influence in Ireland at time which the carver was imitating. Only three other stones of this type have been found in Ireland, of which the Turoe stone in County Galway is the best known. The use of the stones is not known but it is assumed they probably served some religious or ritual purpose. The top half of the stone is covered with a continuous abstract La Tène style design similar to that on the Castlestrange stone in County Roscommon. Concentric spirals are carved in low relief to the depth of about 3cm. Some claim that the carvings on the stone, were they spread out on a flat surface, would equate to a primitive globe map.Alternatively it is seen as a phallus. It is a granite boulder decorated with flowing spirals in the La Tène style, dating from the Iron Age period between 500 BC and 100 AD. It is believed that there was a strong Continental influence in Ireland at time which the carver was imitating. Only three other stones of this type have been found in Ireland, of which the Turoe stone in County Galway is the best known. The use of the stones is not known but it is assumed they probably served some religious or ritual purpose. The stone is a protected National Monument. The conversation was continued in his house where he wanted to show me a book "The Pi in the Sky" by ------------- which he wanted to give me. He began telling me of a woman who live in the village that used stones to heal people of various ailments. He wanted us to stay the night and continue the conversation but it was getting late and we had reservations in Cork so we begged him to forgive us but we had to continue on our trip. Our discussions recounted here are not as interesting as they were at the time. As a foot note I found the book in Cork on sale for 2 punts. It is a gorgeous book with many aerial photos of various antiquities in Ireland and elsewhere in Europe. Briefly the theory postulated by the book was that there were many energy centers in the earth and the ancients had built their stone monuments to take advantage of the energy emanating from these spots. It then went on to connect these sights by mathematical relationships and lines that purported to give some higher meaning. Among the theories was that Atlantis could be found just to the west of Ireland. It really was well done but I doubt anyone gave it serious consideration.
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