Friday, March 16, 2012

Off the Beaten Path-Dysert O'Dea



In honor of St. Patrick's Day tomorrow, I offer a photo of the O'Dea Castle, a fortified tower house built around 1480. It sits outside Ennis, in County Clare, Ireland. A long-ago monastery once occupied part of the site, hence the place name dysert, which means hermitage in Irish.

Did my ancestors didn't live in the castle? I wish! It's a safe bet they lived nearby, but in humbler circumstances.

Speaking of ancestors, every three years, far-flung members of the O'Dea Clan (a group that also includes those with the last name O'Day, O'Dee, Dea, Day, and Dee) gather in Ennis. They explore the castle and its environs, research genealogy, and become acquainted with Ennis and each other.

Today, the restored castle--time and Oliver Cromwell's troops had damaged it--serves as an archaeology center. Visitors can see a short film at the site, tour its rebuilt rooms, climb a spiral stone staircase to the roof, and then retrace their steps to the ground floor where tea is served May through September. http://www.dysertcastle.com/castle.htm

The castle's environs include the ruins of a church with a Romanesque arch, a high cross, a round tower, and a holy well. Go to the website of Natural Born Hikers to see stunning photos of Dysert O'Dea. Don't miss the shots of St. Tola's Cross or the Romanesque archway of St. Tola's Church.

For another taste of Ireland, turn to Kecia Adams' blog. Here she looks at Thomas Cahill's HOW THE IRISH SAVED CIVILIZATION, and wonders if Cahill hasn't overstated the case a wee bit.

A job transfer sent Jennifer Jensen and her family to Ireland. There, learning to drive on the opposite side of the road was the least of her driving challenges. Here, she offers the basics of learning to drive in Eire. And here, she posts a video of one of her sons behind the wheel on a narrow country road. Finally, she offers an overview of how St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in Ireland.


Happy St. Patrick's Day!

17 comments:

Jane Myers Perrine said...

This is fascinating! How wonderful to have a family castle! I read they have a tea room and fresh coach parking. I want to visit.

Jennette Marie Powell said...

How cool to have a castle in your family's past - even if your forbears didn't live there. Have you ever attended the reunion? That would have to be some party!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Haha, Jane. You're stretching it with "family castle," but the tower is beautiful in its simplicity--and who doesn't love a tea room?

In my family room, I have a reproduction of St. Tola's Cross made by McHarp, a mother-daughter team out of Texas. I bought it in San Marcos. Small world.

Lark Howard said...

A family castle! What fun! Ireland's one of my favorite places--beautiful country and friendly people. A branch of my family hails from there too, although I've been told my great-grandfather made his exit just ahead of the constable.

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you, too, Pat!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Jennette,
Yes, I've been lucky to attend the reunion, and "some party" is right. The Australian O'Deas are particularly lively and enthusiastic, and James O'Dea of Clontarf, Dublin, has been a wonderful ambassador for the clan.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Lark,
There's a similar rumor about my mother's side of the family.

Alexa said...

Great post! I love anything about Ireland. Have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day tomorrow!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You, too, Alexa!

Coleen Patrick said...

Who doesn't love a good tea room? :) One of my favorite things about Ireland is stopping for afternoon tea.
Happy St. Patrick's day Pat :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Tea breaks are always good, Coleen. Happy St. Pat's Day to you, too.

Kecia Adams said...

Hi Pat! Now of course I knew you were Irish, but a family reunion in Ireland, complete with castle...that's something else! Happy St. Patrick's Day too you too. :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I'm awash in memories of Ireland, Kecia and your blog post today is partially responsible.

Happy St. Pat's Day to you.

Jennifer J said...

Hi, Pat! I agree with the others - how cool to have a family castle! I think we might have one in France, but ancestors were knights there, and my Irish were farmers who got out 20-100 years before the famine.

Thanks especially for such a great mention in your blog. I sure wish I was back there!

Debra Eve | Later Bloomer said...

I did grad work in Co Tipperary. That picture makes me so nostalgic! Thanks for sharing it, Pat.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Weren't your Irish ancestors the smart ones, Jennifer! And you've got French knights in the family? Magnifique! Thank YOU for your posts on life in Ireland--and I'm with you on wishing I were there.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You've led an interesting life, Debra. Now I'm dying to know what you studied in Tipperary.

I haven't yet made it to the Rock of Cashel. One of these years.

Karen McFarland said...

Ah yes Ireland. As you know Pat, you and I have that in common. My maiden name was Murphy, but my father's mother's name was O'Brien. And the O'Briens were royalty in county Limerick that borders county Clare. And they too had a castle. It is still standing which for Ireland is really something since most castles are in ruins. But there is no doubt that my clan was more than likely not related to the royal clan. LOL! Darn. :)