We decided to try to walk some of it off by exploring the Mourne Wall along the nearby mountains, or slieves. Built over eighteen years in the early 1900s, The Wall spans 22 miles and averages about 4ft tall and 2-3ft wide, and was constructed, we were told, for the express purpose of preventing the sheep and cattle from sullying the enclosed water reservoir. The ubiquitous presence of walls in Ireland that demarcated every parcel of land was something that surprised us, especially when compared to Iceland where the concept of common land meant wide open spaces and free-roaming sheep. As Ann pranced up Slieve Binnian, I took a breather and sat on a portion of the Wall, where it became apparent to me that "the grass is always greener on the other side" is most definitely true, especially when there are sheep involved.Read More
"The history of Kells and its Abbey from late in the ninth century to the end of the tenth is a tale of continuous struggle against foreign centuries and domestic aggression.
In 899 the Abbey was sacked and pillaged.
In 918 the Danes plundered Kells, and laid the church level with the ground.
Rebuilt, it was again spoiled and pillaged by the Danes in 946.
Three years later, Godfrey, son of Sitric, plundered the Abbey.
In 967 the town and Abbey were pillaged by the King of Leinster's son, supported by the Danes; but the allied forces were assailed and defeated by Domnald O Neill, King of Ireland.
Only a year later the Abbey and town were despoiled by a united force of Danes and Leinster people; while in 996 the Danes of Dublin made yet another pillaging raid on both the town and Abbey.
How the Gospels of St Columba survived this century of violence and spoilation it is impossible to say."Read More