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Yesterday saw the great Cork run!

It is something that we have been meaning to do for years now.  In fact every time my friend Tony comes over from the UK we promise ourselves that we will go and then something (usually my health) gets in the way and we never make it there.

Well yesterday we did! And I cannot begin to tell you how delighted I am.

I had several (including one very specific) reasons for wanting to make this run (and more about that specific reason in my post ‘Drive Thru Movies’ which is coming soon) not least of all being that I really wanted to take some pictures to share with you and my kids.

It seems that many of you really enjoy the photographs that I am taking along the way and so I love sharing them with you. One type of photograph that seems very popular seems to be the ones of old building – whether it be a; Church, Cathedral, Priory, Friary, Abbey or Castle – and yesterday saw the opportunity for us to visit a friary in Timoleague, County Cork so I snapped lots of shots for you.

I hope that you enjoy them.  But first a little about the place itself…

Timoleague (Irish: Tigh Molaige, meaning “house of Molaga”) is a village on the coast of Cork and is beautiful. St. Molaga is said to have brought beekeeping and honey to Ireland and in fact Honey production is still very evident in the area.

According to historic stories Saint Molaga was but a local boy who in fact went to study the rule of St. Columba in Iona (Scotland) and then went on to Wales where he became good friends with St. David.

Apparently he then returned to Ireland and founded several monastic communities with Timoleague being the greatest and actually the last one he would be involved in as he died there as a result (it is believed) of the plague.

But in his life he and those who followed him dedicated their lives to helping those suffering from the disease when the plague hit Ireland in the late 7th century.

According to more historic stories (possibly myths) St. Molaga originally wanted to build his monastery further up the estuary. But this was not to be as whatever they built by day was destroyed by night. St. Molaga (or so the story goes) took this as a sign that the Lord did not approve of the location. What happened next is reported as this…

St Molaga “blessed a candle, lodged it in a rolled up sheath, set it alight and released it on the bay praying that God would help him find the perfect location for his new religious community. The candle floated until it stopped at the where the Timoleague ruin now stands. St. Molaga built his monastery on the sea and six hundred years later the Franciscans built an abbey on the foundations of St. Molaga’s monastery.1

It is these ruins which visitors (including Tony and I yesterday) see today and as I hope you can see from the following photographs I took the ruins are wonderful…

Some refer to it as a Friary and yet others as an Abbey – I have chosen Friary as that is the name on the signs 🙂

(Above) Timoleague Abbey and coastline vista. I took this picture before we entered the Friary in order to show you how beautiful it’s location is. To get the true beauty click on the image and once you have seen it just hit your browser’s back button.

(Below)  Pictures of the Abbey…

(Below)  Plan of the Friary taken from sign outside.

(Below)  Approach to Friary.

(Below)  Historic Timeline – Picture taken from sign outside.

(Below)  View from Front Gate – Lots of areas now used as a burial site.

(Below)  Brief history – Picture taken of sign inside.

(Below)  Picture of middle elevation showing rear tower through cloister windows (I liked the way it framed it.)

(Below)  From inside – showing rear tower.

(Below)  I just had to take this shot as I loved the framing and texture of the scene as well as the view through the windows.

(Below)  From inside showing rear tower again

(Below) Side of building – I loved the arches

(Below)  This shot was taken from the wall on the right of the above picture and showed the external burial site and the estuary.

(Below)  Ever wondered what happened to Laurel and Hardy? lol – Tony and I sat in one of the arched seats within the Abbey/Friary.

(Below)  One of the internal doorways and man was it small!

(Below)  The sense of peace was amazing and the lack of roof just added to the atmosphere of the place.

(Below)  Tony stood in one of the internal doorways – the arched window behind him fascinated me.

(Below)  View of the estuary from one of the old windows.

(Below)  The bars on this ground level windows are a sign of the times and are to stop folk accessing the Friary at night.

(Below)  That arched window which fascinated me.  It was so low and obviously once so grand and yet seemed oddly out of place.

(Below)  Next to this window (to the left of it and the right) there were wide gaps which seemed to serve no purpose.

(Below) As can be seen from this grave stone the practice of using this internal parts as a burial site dates as far back as at least 1795.  Not surprising since we know from the timeline above that Cromwell’s soldiers burned the Friary down in 1642.

(Below) View through tower doorways.

(Below)  Remember the gaps I mentioned by the main window?  This is one of them.

(Below)  I just loved the perspective offered through these internal doorways.

(Below)  View showing the internal side and area of the seaward wall

(Below)  Internal side of seaward wall.

(Below)  Another view of the sae wall

(Below)  Larger internal area – at some point much of the space had been used as a hospital to treat those who were suffering from diseases etc.

(Below)  As I went around I couldn’t help but think of what it must have been to have a monastic life and live there serving the community and dealing with so much disease and illness.

(Below)  Tucked within the more modern graves such as those shown below are smaller lesser marked graves.

(Below)  And then there are large spaces were no burials seem present.  I wondered why?

(Below) Some of the smaller, more humble, lesser marked graves.  I couldn’t help but be deeply touched and somewhat humbled by these as I thought how much they went through.

(Below)  The stark comparison between some of these graves impacted me deeply and I wondered if some of the friars were buried there?  Where those the lesser-marked, smaller, humbler graves?

(Below)  When we put what we face today up against what some of these folks have faced it makes you think.  Hardship, much like illness, should never be a competition in my opinion.  But that does not mean that we can’t look at the lives of others and use their examples to motivate or encourage us.

(Below)  In death the modern day and the ancient find no alienation.

(Below)  I loved the symmetry of this view so just had to capture it.  God bless Aspergers lol

(Below)  Yet more of the architecture

(Below)  And again it is about framing and texture, composition and symmetry for me.

(Below)  And again

(Below)  Leaving the Friary but taking one or two final looks back.

(Below) Mankind destroys so much in life and yet death seeks to balance the books it seems.

(Below)  And yet even in death is there not life?  Is there not those still living left behind to continue?  And is death truly the final resting place? As I stood at the gate looking back over the burial sites within this Friary I could not just see the death but also the life and the love and the sacrifice.

These Friars had served and loved and this once beautiful and complete Friary which had been so brutally destroyed still stood beautiful and complete in it’s peaceful witness.

So there you have it – Timoleague Abbey/Friary. I hope you enjoyed the pictures.