"The Irish Midlands" Dunkerrin by kit_mc
Dunkerrin Travel Guide: 0 reviews and 3 photos
While visiting the Irish Midlands with my father and step mother, we stayed in the village that my step-ma grew up in, a small village community about 4 or 5 miles from Roscrea. This area consists of a one street village with obligatory RC and Church of Ireland churches on opposite sides of the street, the village shop with petrol pumps up on the pavement the old fashioned way and two pubs - one a fairly soulless place with a an overpriced restaurant used as a pit stop by truckers, the other a real local place, rather like a living room with a bar, all surrounded by farms.
So if you're ever in this place gasping for a pint of Guinness (or a whiskey in my case as I can't stand that black poison - does that mean I have to hand my passport back?!), go to Delaneys. They even have a free lottery on Tuesday's where you can win the grand total of a fiver!!
It was quite fascinating to stay in this place and to hear stories of my step-mother's childhood, tough years in the 1920's and 30's after her father died of pneumonia when she was just 7 years old, and seeing the house, windows now bricked up, covered in ivy and today used as a storehouse for peat, that she grew up in with her 11 brothers and sisters.
The family were given land in the reforms that took place in the years following the creation of the Irish Free State and while they may not have been given the best 15 acres back then, in fact, possibly some of the worst 15 acres, the extended family seem to have made up for it now as it seemed like they populate the whole area. Every five minutes or less we'd pass a farm or other that seemed in some way related via some cousin or another. For a city boy like myself, it brought home the slight sense of alienation and lack of community that so often defines city living.
All I can say is that they sure built the houses well back then, because we reckoned the roof hadn't been replaced in a good 50 years and couldn't get over what good nick it was in.
Behind the Church of Ireland church, with it's old, old graveyard full of Celtic crosses lies the remains of a castle, I think called Ballynakill, up on a hill and now with farm outbuildings sprouted up from inside its grounds.
Dunkerrin (pronounced Dunkern), located part way between Birr and Roscrea and on the Offaly/Tipperary borders, isn't necessarily a must see place but it's a good example of rural Ireland life - ie: very, very quiet! At the end of our stay, my stepmother was given a copy of an old photo from 1861 and it's still recognisable - although with even less buildings today perhaps. The remaining outline of the roof of a long demolished thatched house can still be seen in the picture here.
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