On a beautiful Sunday morning, Laois PPN held a “Ramble at the Rock” event in partnership with Laois Heritage Office as part of Heritage Week 2022. The event was a guided heritage tour of one of the most iconic heritage sites in Laois – The Rock of Dunamase.
The tour was led by local tour guide, Trudy Carmody of Experiencing Ireland. Trudy informed the group of the rich history of the Rock of Dunamase. The first known settlement on the rock was Dun Masc, an early Christian settlement that was pillaged in 842 by the Vikings. Trudy explained how through the centuries the Rock of Dunamase has been a key defensive 12th century Anglo-Norman fortification, a strong hold for the O’Moore’s of Laois, a dowry gift to Strongbow by the King of Leinster and the location where the first cannonballs were fired in all of Ireland when the Rock of Dunamase was attacked by Cromwellian forces. The Rock of Dunamase has a lot of stories to tell over the centuries.
Trudy led the group up the path pointing out all the many defensive features including curtain walls, barbican gate, murder hole and a moate. The group could imagine how difficult it was to successfully attack the castle. At the top, there are spectacular views of the surrounding countryside where seven counties in Ireland can be seen.
Trudy Carmody of Experiencing Ireland said “The Rock of Dunamase is the most iconic historic site in Laois with history stretching over 1,000 years. It has seen Vikings, Normans, native tribes and even Cromwell. Why not spend an afternoon with friends and family having a picnic and soaking in the rich heritage?”
Dan Bergin, Resource Worker with Laois PPN, said “The Rock of Dunamase is one of the most iconic historic places in Laois and has a key role in the history of our county. A special thanks to the Laois Heritage Office who we worked in collaboration with and Trudy Carmody for sharing the rich history of Rock of Dunamase with our member groups during heritage week.”
The day finished with tea/coffee and sweet treats for the group provided by local business “Cuddy’s Brew”.