Tag Archives: castles

Miramont Castle (Manitou Springs)

Miramount Castle (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29421&preview=true); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Miramont Castle (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29421)

Miramont Castle
~ 9 Capitol Hill Avenue Manitou Springs Colorado 80829 USA – miramontcastle@yahoo.com – http://www.miramontcastle.org/ ~

An oddity overlooking the village of Manitou Springs, Miramont castle is a manor house, museum, and tea room that was originally built in 1895. It was the private manor house for french born Catholic priest Father Jean Baptist Francolon. He later donated his home to the Sisters of Mercy for use as a sanitarium for those seeking healing from the magical waters of Manitou’s springs. The Sisters of Mercy set up the sanitarium in 1895 as a house to heal tuberculosis. They expanded the building in 1896 to take care of additional patients. The sisters were known for their motherly care, cleanliness, and excellence. They not only cared for patients, but contributed to the town’s culture, offering piano, violin, mandolin, guitar, and banjo lessons for the towns folk. The castle fell vacant from 1900 to 1904. The Sisters were urged by Dr. Geierman to purchase the castle for use with workings and healings achieved by German priest Sebatian Kneipp who initiated a water therapy system involving drinking prodigious quantities of Manitou’s healing waters as well as bathing in them several times a day. The Castle experienced a devastating fire in 1907 caused by an electrical fire, destroying part of the Montcalme sanitarium. Patients were relocated to the Castle for the next 20 years. In 1928 the Castle and sanitarium experienced financial difficulties so the sanitarium was converted to a boarding house for the wealthy and tourists, retreat for clergy, and eventually closed. It remained empty until privately purchased in 1946. The castle has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977 and has achieved national landmark status. Built by Father Jean Baptiste Francolon in 1895 with an eclectic style blending various architectural styles from Byzantine to Tudor styles. It today stands as a great example of Victorian Era design. The museum is fully accessible for tours and events. There is a climbing staircase as well as two chairlifts within. The castle is rumored to be haunted with numerous ghosts and poltergeists. Visitors can view all 42 furnished rooms, the gardens, and the tea room. Rated 5 stars out of 5

Miramount Castle (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29421&preview=true); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965.   To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews.  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography.  Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.
Miramount Castle (http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=29421&preview=true); Explorations around Manitou Springs, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken December 18, 2016. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography. Manitou Springs: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613; Colorado: http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=22613.

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The Blarney Castle


Blarney Castle
* http://www.blarneycastle.ie * Blarney, Ireland * 021-438 5252 *

The Blarney Castle and its estate is an amazing magical playground of myths and legends, faeries, and fantastical beliefs. It is one of Ireland’s most infamous hot spots and tourist locations which is most notorious for The Blarney Stone. Even the grounds in its gardens have their attractions and history, as small caves and structures in the Rock Close garden may have neolithic habitation possibilities, and potentially the home to a mythical witch that was trapped in a rock. The Blarney Witch is said to have servitude to the Castle to grant wishes for those walking up and down the Wishing Steps backwards with their eyes closed focusing on only their wish. The Close also has a Dolmen, Fairy Circle, as well as a Druid’s cave and ceremonial circle. The Martin River that runs through the estate is believed to be possessed by ghosts of salmons leaping for ghosts of flies. Enchanted cows walk from the depths of the lake to graze on the meadows below the castle. There is also a glade where Faeries are believed to be at play. The famous castle itself was built in 1446 and has ever since become one of Ireland’s most popular tourist destinations and is located in Blarney Village, just 8 kilometers from Cork City in Southern Ireland. The castle stands at around 90 feet high boldly overlooking the castle estate, grounds, and gardens. Of course the biggest draw for tourists to the castle is the magical act of hanging upside down and kissing the Blarney Stone … the action of which will endow the kisser with the gift of gab according to the legend. It is documented that more than 300,000 visitors come to kiss the stone every year. It is recorded that Queen Elizabeth I required the Irish chiefs to agree to occupy their own lands under her title. The current castle’s builder, Cormac Teige MacCarthy, the Lord of Blarneys, built this third castle incarnation in 1446 C.E. (common era) he abided by Queen Elizabeth I’s request without actually “giving in” by promising loyalty to her and handling every royal request with subtle diplomacy, just as kissing the Blarney Stone afforded him. The Queen was said to remark on McCarthy that he was giving her “a lot of Blarney” which gave rise to the saying.

The history of the land and place stretches back over two centuries before the current castle’s construction. There are remains of prehistoric sites and Druid ceremonial remains. No one knows for sure when the Blarney Stone came to the grounds, but it was believed to have arrived sometime around 1602 C.E. It is believed that the Blarney Stone, was a magical stone that was the rock that Moses struck with his staff to create the water for the Israelites during their exodus from Egypt. Another myth states it was part of Jacob’s pillow and that the prophet Jeremiah brought it to Ireland on this very plot of land. Others say its the stone of Ezel behind which David hid when fleeing from King Saul and was brought to Ireland during the Crusades. The most popular myth was it being a portion of the Stone of Scone which was used by St. Columba as a traveling altar during his missionary quests in Scotland. Upon his death it was believed to have returned to this place in Ireland to serve as the Lia Fail or Stone of Destiny atop Tara.

The first castle to be built on the land was a wooden one manifested around 950 C.E. This was replaced by a stone construction in 1210 C.E. but was torn down because of foundation problems.

The current castle is the third structure to be built on site built by Dermot McCarthy in 1446 C.E. The castle was then occupied by Cormac McCarthy, the King of Munster, who sent 4,000 men to hold Robert the Bruce at the battle of Bannockburn – and it was there that he a legend rumors that he received half of the stone of Scone from Robert the Bruce in gratitude and was then incorporated into the Castle as the “Blarney Stone“. Queen Elizabeth the I in 1586 C.E. began confiscating land in Ireland. She wanted the Blarney Castle and its ground thereby commanding the Earl of Leicester to take the Castle as she was tired of all the Blarney, and these attempts were always defeated by Cormac’s gift of gab, distracting the take-over with a feast or party, never successfully taken. A reputed treasure of a golden plate was believed to be held within the castle. The castle was besieged during the Irish Confederate Wars. In 1646 C.E. Cromwell’s General Lord Broghill broke into the Blarney Castle’s walls by placing a large gun atop Card Hill opposite and above the lake below the current castle. When they attacked and entered the keep, they discovered the main garrison had fled through the three passages known as the Badger’s Caves – one passage led to Cork, the other to the lake, and the third to Kerry. His men were not able to retrieve the legendary treasures such as the golden plate. A later landowner drained the lake thinking it was sunk within. It was not found. The Estate was then forfeited by Donogh Mccarthy, the 4th Earl of Clancarthy and the McCarthy’s reinhabited the castle in 1661 C.E. The Property was then passed to the Hollow Sword Blade Company who eventually sold it in 1688 C.E. to Sir James St. John Jefferyes, the Governor of Cork and by the 1690’s the MacCarthy’s left the castle for good.

Near the Castle is the Georgian Gothic styled Blarney House and the Rock Close was built at the beginning of the 18th century by St. James St. John Jefferyes in 1703 C.E. The court was built by 1739 C.E. and the model estate village of Blarney in 1765 C.E. The Rock Close was landscaped around the ancient Druid remains in 1767 C.E. The house was destroyed by fire in 1820. In 1825 Sir Walter Scott came to kiss the blarney stone. Father Prout in 1837 spread word of the wonders of the Blarney Stone making it even more of an attraction amongst the nobility and curious. The Irish Famine took place from 1845 and 1852. In 1846 the Jefferyes family married into the Colthurst family. The house was rebuilt in Scottish baronial style in 1874 and is still occupied by the family lineage, though through the inter-married line of the Colthurst family. In 1883 the future President William H. Taft of the United States came to kiss the Blarney Stone. By 1887 the new railway into Blarney afforded many travelers the opportunity to kiss the stone, including boxing legend John L Sullivan, at that time the reigning heavyweight champion of the world. In 1893 during the World’s Fair in Chicago the Blarney Castle and stone was mimicked with the promoters billing that it was the real stone people were kissing, this of course was false. In 1912 Winston Churchill came to kiss the stone. In 1938 American businessmen offered the Colthurst family a million dollars to allow the stone to go on tour in the U.S. but the offer was rejected. The House’s wings were reformed in the 1980’s for a better view of the castle and grounds. In 1984 Ronald Reagan claimed to have kissed the stone.

Beneath the castle lies the Badger Cave and dungeons, in its courtyard is the infamous The Blarney Poison Garden, and within the grounds are the magical fantasy land known as The Rock Close. The castle is open daily except Christmas Day and Eve. Adults are €10.00; Child €3.50; Student/OAP €8.00; Family €23.50; and newly weds wanting pictures at the Castle are admitted free. Rating: 5 stars out of 5.


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The Blarney Badger Cave


Badger Cave
* Blarney Castle, Blarney, Ireland * http://www.blarneycastle.ie *

A feature of the Blarney Castle are the caves below the fortress called “Badger Cave”. This was the escape route used by the garrison when Cromwell’s general Lord Broghill besieged the castle and fired down from Card Hill above the lake and broke through the tower walls. He found only two trusty old retainers and the garrison gone. He was hoping to find the fabled golden plate but appeared that it was taken through the caves to escape his capture. Some say the plate was sunk in the lake. There are believed to be three passages in these caves – one that leads to Cork, another to the lake, and another to Kerry. However, no one seems to be able to find these legendary passages ….

In order to provide public access to one of the passageways in the cave archaeologists had to evaluate the passage before tourist entry. The 2007 Excavation report of Badger Cave, Site 07E0672 / CO062-177 / 16080 07531 report concluded that this main 35 meter long passage interlinked with two short connecting fissures (7 meters long and 13 meters long respectively) extending from its south-eastern wall. This main passage was excavated with a trench 23 metes long by 1 meter wide by .8 meter deep with 50% of excavated deposits wet-sieved. Within the findings were over 340 naturally occurring recent animal bones and a proximal end of a flint flake that potentially dated to the Neolithic.

There are some myths and legends about paranormal activity in the caves, castle, and grounds. The Echo Ghost hunters investigated the site from 2010-2011 and captured an image of a man in the 3rd floor window of the castle (no stairs or access to that window) and recorded strange Kll hits in the caves.


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Kylemore Abbey

Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden
* http://www.kylemoreabbey.com/ * Kylemore, Ireland
“Mainistir na Coille Móire” is one of Connemara’s famous attractions, the Kylemore Abbey with its Victorian Walled Garden is a highlight of history in the area. Nestled in an area of old oakwoods which terrace the mountainside, within the mountainous valley of Kylemore Pass with woodlands and a lake, sits the Abbey as a home to the Benedictine nuns since the 1920’s. The Abbey was built in 1868 by Mitchell Henry in memory of his late wife Margaret in a neo-gothic style as a castle by architects James Franklin Fuller and Ussher Roberts with the aid of 100 men a day. Margaret died of dysentry that she caught while on an expedition to Egypt. The castle took 4 years to complete. It covers over 40,000 square feet with over 70 rooms. There were 33 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, 4 sitting rooms, a ballroom, a billard room, a library, study, school room, smoking room, gun room, and various offices and domestic staff residences for the butler, cook, housekeeper, and other servants. Mitchell Henry was a wealthy politician from Manchester, England who was also the MP for Galway Country from 1871-1885. A Gothic Church built by Mitchell Henry and designed by Architect James Franklin Fuller was constructed as a miniature cathedral on the estate. The house was purchased by the Benedictine nuns in 1920 after fleeing from their convent in war-torn Belgium in 1914. They replicated here the same boarding school they were running in Belgium for over 300 years, still schooling to this day. It became one of the oldest of the Irish Benedictine Abbeys. The community of nuns who have resided here for 189 years. The south transept has beautiful stained glass tracery windows depicting Fortitude, Faith, Charity, Hope, and Chastity. In front of the altar was a trap door through which coffins were lowered to the vaults below. Due to erosion, the church began to decay. The nuns began restorations in 1991. A mile west of the main Abbey is the 6 acre Victorian Walled Gardens that Mitchell built during the construction of the Castle. This garden was one of the last walled gardens built during the Victorian period in Ireland and the only garden in Ireland that is built in the middle of a bog. The gardens are maintained with 21 huge glasshouses that were originally built to house exotic fruits and plants that were heated by three boilers, one of which doubled as a limekiln.
The Gardens fell into disrepair through the years until the Nuns found grants to repair them. The Gardens were re-opened in 1999. The Garden houses only plants and vegetables that grew in the Victorian era. In the back of the gardens is a tea room providing refreshments for the guests.

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Dunluce Castle

Dunluce Castle
* A2 Coast Road Portrush * BT57 8SX * County Antrim, Northern Ireland * Tel: 44-28-7082-3333 *

Dunluce a.k.a. Dun Lios, means “Strong Fort” in Irish. One of Ireland’s infamous settings for fantasy tales, movies, or depictions – Dunluce ruins contrast with awe-inspiring grandeur with the precipitous basaltic rock it stands upon over the Northern Sea. It is separated from the mainland by a deep chasm that is crossed by means of a narrow bridge and beneath the castle is a long cave that served great strategic importance as an escape to the Sea. It is believed that the nomadic boatmen who first inhabited this area in 7,000 B.C.E. must have seen this crag from which the castle now sits and may have ventured into the cavern beneath it back in the day. It is believed that early Christians and Vikings were attracted to this Crag and had an earlier Irish fort placed here before Dunluce was constructed. With the Normans arrival, it is believed, that this Crag was first crowned with a castle. There are legends of inhabitation of this area by giants, ghosts, and banshees as well. Believed to have been used as a fort during Early Christianity in the area by evidence of the souterrain that survives beneath the current ruins. The Castle is mentioned as part of the de Burgo manor of Dunseverick in the early 14th century. Richard de Burgh, the Earl of Ulster, was the first to build this castle on the Crag. It was a common place to fall under siege as many desired it. First in the hands of the MacQuillin family in 1513 when the two large drum towers were believed to have been built. The Castle then became the home of the Clan MacDonnell of Antrim and the Clan MacDonald of Dunnyveg from Scotland. Most of the ruin remains that are left standing were built by Sorley Boy McDonnell (1505-1589) and his family, the 1st and 2nd Earls of Antrim – who seized the castle in 1558 after the death of his brother Colla who married the daughter of the McQuillan chief in 1544 even though he had been evicted from the Manor twice before (1565 and 1584). He took back the castle by force with artillery in 1584 and hauled his comrades up the cliff in a basket. He was officially appointed Constable of Dunluce by the Queen in 1586. Damages done by the 1584 siege. In 1588 when the Spanish Armada treasure ship – The Girona – wrecked off the Giant’s Causeway in a storm – the treasures were salvaged by Sorley Boy who utilized the prizes to rebuild and repair the castle. Repairs were so extensive they lasted past Sorley Boy’s death in 1589 with additions such as the turreted gatehouse in Scottish manner, cannon ports in the curtain wall where eventually the Girona’s cannons were placed (from the Spanish Armada ship 1588). Somewhere around the 1560’s the north-facing Italianate loggia behind the south curtain was added. In 1613 Mac Donnell’s granddaughter Rose was born in the Castle. In 1639 a terrible tragedy befell the castle when the lower yard, the kitchen, and most of the staff saw a collapse into the sea. The Castle owner’s wife apparently after that point refused to live in the Castle any longer. The mainland court was believed to be built by Lady Catherine to replace the lower yard after parts of it fell into the sea. After Royalist second Earl was arrested at Dunluce in 1642, the family ceased to reside at Dunluce Castle, after which it fell into decay until 1928 when it was transferred to the State for preservation. Dunluce Castle served as the seat of the Earl of Antrim until the impoverishment of the MacDonnells in 1690 following the Battle of the Boyne. In 1973 the castle appeared on the inner gate fold of the Led Zeppelin album “Houses of the Holy”. It was referenced in the comedy “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure” when they travel back into time to meet Socrates. In 2001, the castle appeared in Jackie Chan’s “The Medallion” as the villain’s lair. It is now in care of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and a Monument in State Care.
The Cave beneath has been called the “Mermaid’s Cave” above it is the “wishing well” (down and up the path). Castle is open year round from at least 10 am until 5 pm with later hours in the summer.

The castle is believed to be haunted by many spirits. Some say former servants roam the halls (those who died during a severe winter storm in 1639 when part of the castle fell into the sea), others say that one of the MacQuillan’s daughters can be seen on occasion (she tried to elope to Peter Carey, complete with black coat and purple scarf, when he was hung by Sorley Boy MacDonnell (the local chieftain)), while others report seeing an apparition of an English constable. Inland, below the castle, is the Royal Protrush Golf Club’s main course (known to have hosted the only British Open golf championship (outside of Britain and Scotland)) called “Dunluce links” is said to be frequented by fairway fanatics involving the battles between the Vikings and local Irish tribes during the 12th century. The sandhills on the East Strand Portrush were called the “War Hollow” because it was the location where ambushes of Norsemen returning with plunder after capturing Dunluce Castle took place, and Magus, the King of Norway, was beheaded there and the treasures supposedly still buried down below. (myths as told by http://www.causewaycoastandglens.com/portals/2/itineraries/ccritinerary-myths.pdf)

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Dunseverick Castle

Dunseverick Castle
* Along the Giant’s Causeway / Coastal Causeway Route, Northern Ireland *

Near the Giant’s Causeway, on an isolated rock surrounded by the sea in a small bay, is the crumbling remains of “Dunseverick Castle”. A maritime fortress of Dalriada, built by Sovaric, son of Eberic mythically in the year of the world 3668 a.m. once off the royal road from Tara, and once of the seats of the Kings of Ireland. It was stormed in 870 C.E. and then plundered again by Mave, the QUeen of Connaught at a uncertain date, starting a bloody war between Ulster and Connaught. When the castle was in the hands of Kinel Owen, in the 12th century, another disaster struck. When Turlough of Dunseverick returned from the Crusades, the castle was ransacked and massacred by Norwegian ships sparing only Lady O’Cahan, sister of Turlough. This beautiful young girl with dark hair and blue eyes, won the heart of the Norsemen, sparing her, and wedding him until the Norseman was slain by Turlough. The melee between the Norseman and Turlough caused the castle to catch fire, and the bride to plunge to her death off the cliffs resulting in the castle falling into ruins.

    “And the villagers of olden times oft heard the wailing cry
    Of the Norseman and brave young Turlough when waves were running high,
    And old Dunseveric, gaunt and bare, has no sadder tale of woe
    Recorded in its annals of the years of long ago.”

The castle was later made the family residence of the O’Cahan family who were branched from the Kinel Owens, from about 1000 C.E. until 1320, regained again by the family in the mid 16th century. Was in the family hands until the 1641 rebellion when chief Gilladuff O’Cahan was taken by General Munro and hanged at Carrickfergus years after the rebellion. Munro destroyed all the castles in the area along the coast except Dunluce where he garrisoned English soldiers for the Cromwellian army. By 1662 most of Dunseverick was demolished except a piece of wall at the entrance six feet thick which his men were unable to remove. On the north side of the castle, is a well about three yards from the edge of he cliff, over 100′ above the sea, that legendarily “Never goes dry”. It is named the “Tubber Phadrick” or “St. Patrick’s Well” and was considered one of Ireland’s holiest wells as St. Patrick visited Dunseverick on several of his travels through the North. St. Patrick used to sit on a stone located by the well, named “St. Patrick’s Rock”, but this stone was tumbled into the well by General Munro’s soldiers. Last to own and reside in the castle was Giolla Dubh O Cathain who left it in 1657. Now in ruins, only a small residential tower survived until 1978 until taken by the sea. Now just ruins of the walls remain. The castle is located in County Antrim near the small village of Dunseverick and about a mile and a half from the Giant’s Causeway. Now part of the National Trust (1962) as passed on by local farmer Jack McCurdy.

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Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle
* 2 Palace St * DUBLIN 2, Ireland * 01 6777129
The Dublin Castle is located off Dame Street in Dublin. The Castle was origimally a defensive fortification for the Norman city of Dublin and took on a long history by various successions of Dublin through time. It was founded by King John of England in 1204 after the Norman invasion in 1169 when it was commanded as a castle to be built as a fortification for the city. It was under the Lordship of Ireland from 1171-1541 C.E., the Kingdom of Ireland from 1541-1800 C.E., the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1800-1922 C.E. and now the Irish Free State from 1922 to the present. Up until 1922 it was the fortified seat of British rule in Ireland. It is now a governmental complex for Ireland. Most of the architecture and rooms of the Dublin Castle date to the 18th century, although it is the site of continuous castles since the first constructed by the first Lord of Ireland, King John. The Castle served as the nerve center of the British effort against Irish separatism. On Bloody Sundy in 1920, two IRA officers and a friend, Conor Clune, were killed while trying to escape from the Castle.

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Castle Horneck, Penzance, Cornwall, England

Castle Horneck
* Alverton * Penzance * Cornwall, England * TR20 8TF * 0845 371 9653 * Fax no: (+44) 1736 362663 * penzance@yha.org.uk * http://www.yha.org.uk/find-accommodation/south-west-england/hostels/Penzance/index.aspx *
It was a definitely an enchanting treat to make my way up to the remote location of this castle on the outskirts of Penzance. The remote-factor gave it a charm even though it wasn’t very convenient for running in and out of Penzance. As a bonus, I was quite looking forward to perhaps some supernatural occurences for my two night stay in this reputedly haunted castle. However, outside of waking up in the middle of the night and thinking I felt something – there was no paranormal experiences during my stay. As I tromped up the path to the Castle, and after about a mile hike from the nearest bus stop – exhausted – i was a bit disappointed upon my 1:30 pm arrival that registration didn’t open until 4 pm. Luckily I was able to run into a staff member who allowed me to put my heavy bags under lock n’ key as I wandered back down into Penzance in search of a bank to convert some money. Castle Horneck is also known as Castle Hornocke or the “Iron Castle”. There is some debate if this is the actual ancient castle that is referred to in Penzance’s historic records (most likely the Iron Age Lesigney Round nearby) … but it is the actual Castle built by the Tyes family in the 12th century adapted and re-used as a Hostelling International Youth Hostel. While there are no remains existing on site that can prove this is the actual site of the medieval fortification or palace, it is presumed as such. The Castle is currently located approximately a 1/4 mile outside of Penzance’s boundary. The reputed medieval fortification was well noted in historic lore to be a stronghold that was built by the Tyess famil who were the lords of the distric early in the times of the Plantagenets and whose title as Baron Tyes became extinct in 1322. Writers describe ‘Castle Horneck’ to be a “auntient ruyned castle standinge on a mounte nere Pensans, and as it seemeth in former times of some accompte.” (Spreadbury) Some historians claim the original name for the Lesigney Round was Castle Horneck. In 1696 the field name for Lesigney was ‘Castle Close’ and ‘Castle Horneck’ was the name given for the farm and house 400 meters east of the Round that is location of the Hostelling International hostel. The Castle is reputedly haunted according to ghosthunting.org.uk – who sometimes does special haunting trips to the hostel. The castle is now managed by Hostelling International. As a hostel, it is a beautiful Georgian house with large gardens and woodlands to explore, hiking trails to experience, and camping space outside of the hostel. It is located next door to a local winery. It is open all year. The hostel has 103 beds available plus an unstated number of tent camping spots. Family/private rooms are available as well. The hostel has a community lounge, tv room, library, and garden. There is also laundry, self-catering kitchen, food-for-purchase bar and cafe, meal plans, bbq areas, a dining room, table licence, liquor license, internet access with some internet stations, luggage storage behind the desk, showers, toilets, and they accept credit cards. The hostelling staff is extremely friendly and helpful, warm and welcoming, and a wealth of local lore knowledge when asked. the hostel was clean, safe, and quiet – even with the hordes of summer camp kids staying the same weekend I was. Rating: 5 stars out of 5. I will definitely be back to this one again! Kudos’ and thank you! Especially for the hiking map so I could hike from coast to coast!

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Truro, Cornwall, England

Truro, Cornwall, United Kingdom
In the heart of Cornwall, lies the city and civil parish of Truro. It is Cornwall’s center for administration, leisure, and retail. Truro hosts approximately 17,431+ residents unless you count its surrounding parishes then it breaches over 21,000. It is Great Britain’s most southern city. Its inhabitants call themselves Truronians. Truro became popular as a center for trade from its port, as a beacon for the mining industry, and for its cathedral, cobbled streets, open spaces, Georgian architecture, Royal Cornwall Museum, Hall for Cornwall, Courts of Justice, and the Cornwall Council. Much of Cornwall early history is unknown. Truro’s name origin is debated but believed to be from the Cornish “three rivers” even though disputed by the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names. Earliest archaeological record show findings of a permanent settlement from Norman times. The castle was built in 12th century by Richard de Luci, Chief Justice of England. He placed the town what is now Truro in the shadow of the castle (no longer remaining). 14th century Truro became an important port because it was distanced from invaders and was prosperous for the fishing industry, tin mining, and copper mining. Truro was affected greatly by the Black Death which was followed by a trade recession reducing populations alot over the years. Trade picked up by help from the English government and during the Tudor period got back its prosperity. It was awarded self-governance in 1589 from a new charter by Elizabeth I also granted control over the port of Falmouth. 17th century Civil War – Truro troops became involved fighting for the king and a royalist mint was established in the area. With defeat in 1646, Truro lost the mint to Exeter. Falmouth was awarded its own charter and harbour creating rivalry between the two towns. 1709 saw settlement to the disputes. 18th/19th centuries saw prosperity again with mining industry flourishing – bringing in elegant Georgian and Victorian townhouses – nicknaming the area “The London of Cornwall”. Things changed with Truro’s Gothic-Revival Cathedral being constructed in 1910 granting it city status. One of Truro’s noteworthy residents, the great adventurer Richard Lander, who discovered the source of the Niger River in Africa was awarded the first gold medal from the Royal Geographical Society. Other famous residents were Humphyr Davis and Samuel Foote. Industrialization from mining, smelting its own iron works, potteries, tanneries, and the inclusion of the Great Western Railway placed Truro further on the map. 1997 saw development of the Skinner’s brewery producing cask ales and bottled beers shipped throughout Europe. Truro has an abundance of commerce attractions, shops, chain stores, specialty shops, markets, and has booming businesses. It is also quite popular for its eateries, cafes, and bistros. Truro hosts the Royal Cornwall Museum displaying Cornish history and culture with collections from archaeology, history, art, and geology. The museum also hosts King Arthur’s inscribed stone.

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Lichtenau, Germany

Lichtenau, Germany

Lichtenau, Bavaria, Germany
A small village/town of roughly 3,780 population just off the infamous “Castle Road” theme route of Southern Germany. Its a small market town in the district of Ansbach, Mittelfranken, Bavaria, Germany. 390 meters above Sea Level with an Area of 41.39 km² (16 sq mi). Very traditional little town, it is also home to the “Veste Lichtenau” (castle) which now houses the Nuremberg Archives.
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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 11, Part B (4/5) – ‘Palmbosch’n’, Lichtenau and Castles

Part B

Sunday, 5 April 2009
Nürnberg, Germany

The adventurers had a chance to sleep in a little bit … up and out by 11:00 am. The crew met with the gamer group out on the back patio and it was decided that before parting ways, breakfast at a local cafe waa in order. Packing up their luggage and a short drive into town, hanging out at a cafe for chocolate croissants and breakfast goodies. After social calls, the parties went their separate ways … Sir Thomas Leaf, Sir Christian, Lady Vanessa of the Rhine, and Princess Brea headed off to Christian’s hometown of Ansbach. It was a few hour drive … but allowed for a quick road stop at a Castle along the way. Sir Thomas Leaf and Lady Vanessa took a walk around the castle to bask in its glory. No signs of keys, though. Home of the Nuremberg Archives.

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 11, Part B (4/5) – ‘Palmbosch’n’, Lichtenau and Castles


Lady of the Rhine, Part 2: Chapter 8 – Dusseldorf, Gothic clubbing at Pulp

Thursday, 2 April 2009
Dusseldorf – Duisburg, Germany

The adventurers slept in past noon, as they were up late and didn’t get to sleep but until the wee hours of the morning. Sir Thomas Leaf was up to 4:30 am alone. Around noon, the party did laundry and a late breakfast. Lady Vanessa off on an interview, and Sir Thomas Leaf headed to the old town part of Dusseldorf for some sights, exploring, and hanging out in a cafe. Hittsville, one of Sir Thomas Leaf’s favorite little CD/vinyl/music shoppes caught his attention for a bit as well as the K12. Both great music and clothes shops in Dusseldorf. Around evening they rested and headed off for a journey to Duisburg after a great chocolate sponge cake with custard.

Lady Vanessa and Princess Brea ready to go off clubbing

On to Duisburg to meet up with Lord Sven to discuss strategy in the castle club known as “Pulp”. A banquet feast for only a few Euros with fire roasted meats and vegetables in a large buffet fit for a king. Feasting and merriment ensued between Lord Sven, Lady Vanessa, Sir Thomas Leaf, and Princess Breanna. Two club rooms of dancing; one 80’s / new wave; the other called “the Cave” was medieval, goth, industrial, electro. Much of the dancing style in the cave was very rhythmic “chopping” line dance style that Lady Vanessa described as “too martial arts style taking up too much room on the dance floor per individual”. The 80’s room which most of us preferred as there was offered more space to dance. Sir Thomas Leaf danced up a storm. Dancing, drinking, flirting, and merriment continued. Sir Thomas Leaf being from a higher elevation so higher tolerance for alcohol at sea levels; and two trips to the buffet, ran through his 26 Euro drink card and over to a new card eating up 9 Euro on it. The adventurers stayed only until about 2 am, as they had a long trip to Worms tomorrow. Nonetheless, Sir Thomas Leaf had to be pulled away from the dance floor.

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Part 2: Chapter 8 – Dusseldorf, Gothic clubbing at Pulp