Walt in Ireland: Castles - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt in Ireland: Castles

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One of the first things that dawned on me when we began to roam around Ireland is how young OUR nation is.

Even though we had people coming to the colonies and settling back in the 1600's, there's a bunch of places we passed and even got out and toured that were already hundreds of years old by then, if not already in ruins.

There were cottages, of course, with plaster walls and thatched roofs that didn't make it from those days until now. But then again, there are plenty of structures that did.

Castles. Some are little more than piles of rubble now. But a bunch of them have been restored and are open for tours.

Kilkenny Castle in the town of Kilkenny was probably the most ornate we toured. Last time it was redecorated, it was brought up to the era of what many of the antebellum homes in Natchez and Columbus and Holly Springs look like on the inside. Only way bigger.

Another castle near the town of Limerick that we DID not only tour, but enjoy a medieval banquet at, is Bunratty Castle.

They say that every man's home is his castle. I'm really glad not ever man's home is LIKE a castle. They are big and dark and drafty and the stone staircases are tiny and tight.

Vikings first settled the area where Bunratty is today in the 900s. And there were some attempts at fortifications here from around the 1200s.

We were all invited into the reception hall and given a taste of mead, which is wine made from homey. ‘Course there was leaded and non-leaded varieties to choose from. And while we were sipping our mead we were entertained by a harpist and violinist playing old Irish tunes from way back.

Rachael Mullaly is the talented violinist. She's been playing since she was four. And when not at Bunratty, she's a medical student in Dublin.

At the feast that night in the great hall there we a great many of us in attendance. The food was delicious and the wine flowed freely and the music played and played and played well into the night. Almost until 9 o'clock.

And then, just as an afterglow, our tour guide, Pierce Kavanagh serenaded us on the way to the hotel with another old Irish tune. And it ‘twas another lovely day in Ireland.

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