Ireland Is For Writers #2: Headford & Stone Circle

This entry is part 4 of 8 in the series Writing in Ireland

(I’m talking about my writing week with Ireland Writer Tours in August 2015. Catch up with part #1.)

We arrived at the village of Headford and settled at the Angler’s Rest, which secretly pleased me because The Scarlet Pimpernel’s secret way-stop was the Fisherman’s Rest, and it was close enough. (I’m such a nerd.) The pub was downstairs, our rooms above. I was on the top floor.

Then we set off past stone walls keeping flocks of sheep for the Ross Errily Friary, the best-preserved Franciscan ruins in Ireland. Founded in 1351, the friary was once one of the larger Franciscan establishments in the country. The monastery is a fantastic view into a self-sufficient medieval life. There was even a tank for keeping live fish in the kitchen!

The monks were evicted seven times over the centuries, including by Cromwell in 1656, because that’s what Cromwell was good at, but they returned each time until 1753. The buildings have been abandoned since then, though they are respected and protected today.

We started the tour in earnest the next day, going first to the Glebe stone circle.

One thing I love about places which don’t have the liability and litigation issues we have in the United States is that cool things can be opened to the public even on private property. Quite a few ruined towers and ancient cairns in Ireland sit on private land, but property owners can allow the public to walk across the sheep pasture without having to worry that someone with a wool allergy will trip on a rock and sue for millions. So we were able to walk up a narrow road (all Irish roads are narrow, and usually bounded by unforgiving stone walls) and slip over a stile into the pasture where the old circle sits.

There are a lot of photos in this series, obviously, and I don’t want to bog down the posts, so I’ll break here. Next up: a castle you might know from television or film or celebrity wedding photos.

(If my photos and commentary is not convincing enough, by the way, feel free to link over to Here’s why you definitely need to visit Ireland and check out those photos. It also serves as a tiny sneak preview, as I’ll be talking about some of those same sites here.)

Series Navigation<< Ireland Is For Writers #3: Ashford Castle & CongIreland is for Writers #1: Galway >>
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