Whispering Stones

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  • 8. The Legacy of Thoor Ballylee: From Fortress to Literary Haven

    "Thoor Ballylee: Yeats' Tower of Timeless Tales"Synopsis: In this captivating episode of "Whispering Stones," we journey to Thoor Ballylee, a 15th-century Anglo Norman Tower House located near Gort in County Galway. Known as Yeats' Tower, this historic site was the summer home of the renowned poet William Butler Yeats from 1921 to 1929. Discover the fascinating history of Thoor Ballylee, from its origins in the 13th century as part of the de Burgo family estate to its restoration as a cultural and educational center.Explore the intricate restoration efforts led by the local community and the impact of natural events like flooding that have shaped the tower's story. Learn about Yeats' deep connection to the tower, the literary treasures housed within, and the role of figures like Lady Augusta Gregory and Mary Hanley in preserving this historical gem.Join us as we unravel the layers of history, literature, and resilience that define Thoor Ballylee, making it a symbol of Ireland's rich cultural heritage. Whether you're a history buff, a literature enthusiast, or simply curious about Ireland's past, this episode offers a compelling narrative that brings the walls of Yeats' Tower to life.

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  • 7. Echoes of Ballinasloe: Unveiling the Heart of East Galway

    Discover the rich history of Ballinasloe, County Galway, in this episode of Whispering Stones. Host Bernice Cooke Artist explores the origins of this historic market town, its architectural marvels like Garbally House, and the influential Le Poer Trench family. Learn about Ballinasloe's significant landmarks, including its limestone buildings and the impact of the Great Famine. The episode also delves into modern developments such as Portiuncula University Hospital. Perfect for history enthusiasts and those interested in Ireland's cultural heritage, this episode offers a deep dive into the heart of East Galway. Listen now to uncover the hidden gems of Ballinasloe.
  • 6. Echoes of Power: The Saga of Kiltartan Castle

    Echoes of Power: The Saga of Kiltartan CastleIn this captivating episode of Whispering Stones, we journey to Kiltartan Castle, also known as Ballinamantain and Castletown Castle, located in County Galway, Ireland.Discover the rich history of this 13th-century fortress, built during the reign of Edward I, and its significance as a stronghold for the powerful de Burgo family. Uncover the castle's involvement in pivotal events like the Bruce invasion, the Gaelic resurgence, the Nine Years' War, and Cromwell's siege that led to its dramatic destruction in 1652. Explore the remains of this national monument, from its imposing corner towers to the remnants of its spiral staircase, and imagine the lives and battles that once filled its storied walls. Join us as we bring the medieval past of Kiltartan Castle to life, offering listeners an immersive experience into Ireland's turbulent history.
  • 5. Athenry: Echoes and Stone – Unveiling the Medieval Heart of Ireland

    In this episode of "Whispering Stones," we explore Athenry, a historic town in County Galway, Ireland, renowned for its well-preserved medieval architecture and deep historical significance. Known as "Baile Átha an Rí" or "Town of the Ford of the King," Athenry is a treasure trove of Irish history, featuring ancient battles, sacred sites, and some of the most intact medieval town walls in Ireland.Dive into Athenry’s past, starting from its strategic position at the ford crossing the river Clarin, to its establishment under the Anglo-Norman leadership of Meiler de Bermingham. We uncover the dramatic tales of 1249 and 1316, when Athenry was a battleground that shaped its status as a fortified town. Learn about the unique medieval market cross at the heart of Athenry and the historical significance of the 13th-century Dominican Priory as a pivotal center for learning and religion.We also explore the resilience of Athenry during the tumultuous Cromwellian invasions and its decline in the 16th century. Despite numerous sieges and conflicts, the remnants of its historical structures, including the extensive town walls and the ruins of St. Mary's Church, offer a window into the town's prosperous medieval era. Tune in as we peel back the layers of time to reveal the enduring legacy and rich heritage of Athenry, making it a must-visit destination for history enthusiasts and a compelling subject for cultural heritage tourism.
  • 4. Castles in Time: The Echoes of Ashford Castle

    Title: Castles in Time: The Echoes of Ashford CastleSynopsis:Dive into the storied walls of Ashford Castle in this captivating episode of "Whispering Stones." Located in the picturesque County Galway, Ireland, Ashford Castle boasts a rich tapestry of history, from its origins in 1228 as a medieval fortress to its current grandeur as a five-star luxury hotel. Explore the architectural evolution and the notable figures who shaped its destiny, including the Guinness family and various Hollywood connections. Discover how this iconic Irish castle has weathered wars, ownership changes, and economic downturns to emerge as one of Europe's most enchanting hotels. Perfect for history buffs and travel enthusiasts alike, this episode blends historical facts, intriguing narratives, and engaging audio experiences to transport listeners across centuries of Irish heritage.
  • 3. Echoes of Ardamullivan: A Castle's Tale of Intrigue and Restoration

    Dive into the enthralling history of Ardamullivan Castle on this episode of "Whispering Stones." Located in the picturesque County Galway, just miles from Lough Cutra, this 16th-century castle has witnessed centuries of drama, intrigue, and eventual restoration. Discover the tales of the O’Shaughnessy clan, who ruled this region before falling to tragedy and betrayal in the 1500s. Learn about the intense family feuds, with stories like that of Dermot “the Swarthy” O’Shaughnessy, whose alliances and betrayals left a mark on local history. Experience the artistic heritage of Ireland through the castle’s rare medieval wall paintings, from religious depictions to secular scenes, meticulously restored to their former glory. Explore the architectural wonders of this tower house, from its defensive bartizans and murder holes to the detailed vine leaf decorations that adorn its robust structure. As a national monument, Ardamullivan Castle offers a free journey back in time, inviting visitors to uncover the layers of history within its restored walls. Join us on "Whispering Stones" as we unravel the secrets of Ardamullivan Castle, bringing the whispers of the past into the present. Whether you are a history enthusiast, a lover of Irish castles, or someone fascinated by restoration stories, this episode promises a rich blend of historical insights and captivating narratives. Check out my website shop with a full gallery of Original Paintings depicting beautiful buildings from Ireland and the World 👉
  • 2. Echoes of the Aran Islands: A Journey Through Stone and Sea,

    Explore the rich history and vibrant culture of the Aran Islands in this captivating episode of "Whispering Stones." Travel with us to the rugged landscapes of Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer, where ancient stone forts and traditional Irish crafts weave a tapestry of stories from Ireland's past. In "Echoes of the Aran Islands: A Journey Through Stone and Sea," you'll discover Inishmore, the largest of the islands, famed for its formidable Dun Aengus fort perched on a dramatic cliff edge. Learn about the island's strategic importance, its cultural treasures, and the daily lives of its Gaelic-speaking inhabitants. Next, the episode takes you to the serene and less-traveled Inishmaan. Here, traditional Aran jumpers tell tales of family and identity, crafted to protect fishermen from the Atlantic's embrace. The island's connection to playwright J.M. Synge brings a literary richness, deepening our understanding of its profound influence on Irish culture. Our journey concludes on the picturesque Inisheer, where the simplicity of island life is underscored by historical shipwrecks and ancient church ruins. This small island offers a glimpse into a way of life that has persevered through centuries. Accompanied by evocative soundscapes that bring the sea, wind, and stories to life, "Echoes of the Aran Islands" is more than a podcast episode—it's a sensory journey into the heart of Gaelic tradition and history. Join us for a memorable voyage to these enchanting islands, where every stone, wave, and stitch holds a whisper of Ireland's past. Check out my latest gallery of Original Paintings, showcasing some of the most beautiful iconic buildings of Ireland 👉