To Live and Die at Minard Castle

Minard Castle, Dingle Peninsula, IrelandFields of Sheep with Minard Castle on Kilmurry Bay, Dingle Peninsula, Ireland.

Dingle Peninsula Tree with TiresFollowing a long and full day of sightseeing on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland, my husband and I were enjoying the drive to Killarney as we passed through a comparatively less-than-picturesque area. After so much natural beauty, I was amused to be reminded by this more industrial moment that people do actually live and work in paradise.

Dingle Peninsula Valley with Minard CastleBut not far beyond, just east of Annalack on the N86, we rounded a bend in the road and came upon a stop-in-your-tracks vista. This is the southern-facing view towards Kilmurry Bay.

Dingle Peninsula Valley, IrelandAnd this is the northern-facing view.

Dingle Peninsula CowsNot far from where we parked our car was a cluster of cows lazing and dining on the grass.

Dingle Peninsula Cow HerdingWithin minutes, a truck pulled off the road a dozen or so yards behind us. Without delay, a dog raced over to the cattle, roused them, and sent them on their way. Apparently, sheep-herding dog plus dinner time got those cows moving. The whole episode was over far too quickly for our enjoyment. But yet another reminder that people do live and work in paradise.

Dingle Peninsula Minard CastleBut paradise has a darker side, too. I noticed a castle off in the distance beside Kilmurry Bay. I later learned that this is Minard Castle, once the home of the Knight of Kerry. It was also the location, in 1649-50, of the last stand of any Irish resistance during the Irish Confederate Wars. Oliver Cromwell’s forces, under Colonels Lehunt and Sadler, placed four gunpowder charges at the corners of the castle walls after noticing that the occupants, Walter Hussey and his forces, had run out of ammunition. The castle was structurally damaged but not destroyed in the blast; however, all of the occupants were killed. If you look closely at the photo, you can see a hole blasted into the castle’s corner.

Apparently, war is waged and people die in paradise, too.

On a happier note, Minard Castle was featured in David Lean’s Oscar-winning 1970 film Ryan’s Daughter.

Visit Voices from the Dawn for a brief yet informative history of Minard Castle along with a really neat virtual tour/360° view of the castle, a nearby ring fort ruin, a holy well, and surrounding area.

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About satnavandcider

An American expat living in England, exploring the United Kingdom and Europe through five senses and a camera lens.
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