Castles, Follies and Four-Leaf Clovers: Adventures along Ireland's St Declan's Way

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Allen & Unwin, Jul 1, 2011 - Travel - 288 pages
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Rich in history, castles and larger-than-life characters, St Declan's Way is one of Ireland's best kept secrets.

Rosamund's adventures begin when she is lent a map of the ancient highway and pilgrim route St Declan's Way. Intrigued she returns to Ireland. Setting off from the famous Rock of Cashel in County Tipperary, she travels through small towns and villages, across the beautiful Knockmealdown Mountains, to the town of Lismore with its spectacular castle, where her family used to live, and then on to the fishing village of Ardmore in County Waterford.

Battling the rain as she follows narrow country roads, little used tracks and overgrown paths, she traces the footsteps of St Declan. From a day at a horse fair to climbing mountains and tracking down fairy forts, she captures perfectly the local characters and castles, miraculous wells and talking statues, the broken dreams and local legends. Stories of goddesses, ghosts and fairies are intertwined with the eccentricities and daily lives of everyday people - this is a journey full of the surprises that only Ireland can offer.
 

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Contents

1 The map
1
2 Coming home to the castle
7
3 On my way
13
4 Perfect potatoes
19
5 The Rock of Cashel
23
6 Books and bishops
27
7 Brigid
32
8 Raths and a heavy backpack
39
23 Saints sinners and a fur stole
143
24 Lismore Castle
149
25 Prematch fever
157
26 A cloistered existence
163
27 Dawn chorus
170
28 Déise disaster
175
29 Battling the undergrowth
178
30 Detour to Tourin
184

9 Good boots
45
10 The Legend of Knockgrafton
53
11 The kindness of strangers
58
12 The cottage and the well
63
13 Backtracking
70
14 Castle Grace
78
15 Lost on the mountain
85
16 Bay Lough and Petticoat Loose
92
17 Pepperpots and fairy apparel
100
18 Up the Déise
107
19 Moving statues
115
20 The miraculous bin
121
21 Limping in halfway
127
22 The Tallow Horse Fair
135
31 Decked out for a dinner party
189
32 Sir Richard Keane and the pact with the devil
193
33 The Road of the Saints to the Road of Slaughter
200
34 Deluge
209
35 Turkeys and chickens
218
36 Dromana
222
37 The Bog of Hags and the holy well
230
38 Stepping stones
237
39 The fairy fort and the high road
243
40 You cannot draw blood from a turnip
250
Information for someone wanting to follow St Declans Way
259
Helpful books
267
Acknowledgements
269
Copyright

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About the author (2011)

Born in Ireland, Rosamund grew up in England until her father got a job with the Duke of Devonshire. Ros and her family then moved back to Ireland into the East Wing of Lismore Castle, possibly Ireland's most spectacular castle (Lismore is on St Declan's Way). Rosamund was able to immerse herself in this forgotten corner of Ireland with its mix of derelict mansions, and the larger than life locals. In 1994 Rosamund came to Australia to work for and later manage the Mind Body Spirit Sydney festival. For the last few years she has worked as a freelance journalist and writes for a wide range of newspapers and magazines.

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