Thursday, January 22, 2015

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 178

Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland

The remains of the castle shown on the above postcard sent by a friend can be found in Carlingford, County Louth, Ireland.  The castle is known as King John’s Castle, named for King John the brother of Richard the Lionheart, who visited here in 1210.  The western part of the castle was begun by Hugh de Lacy before the year 1186 with the eastern section constructed in the mid 1200s.  Subsequent alterations and additions occurred in the 15th and 16th centuries.  In the 1950s the Office of Public Works began conservation work to stabilize and preserve the remaining portions of the original castle.  There is a public viewing area on the eastern side but the castle itself is closed for safety reasons. 

Carlingford is an eastern coastal town about 7 miles (11 km) south of the border with Northern Ireland and approximately 56 miles (90 km) north of Dublin.  A settlement began here shortly after the Norman knight Hugh de Lacy laid the castle foundation stone on a strategic outcrop.  The strategic position made it a vital trading port resulting in relative prosperity during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.  Trade charters encouraged the rich mercantile class to build as can still be seen in the remains of the Mint and Taffe’s Castle. 

Historical set backs include the town being burnt to the ground in 1388 by a Scots force as retaliation for Irish attacks on Galloway; the 1637 Rising by the Irish of Ulster; the Cromwellian Conquest of 1649; and the Williamite wars of the 1690s.  By 1744 the town was described as in a state of ruin in the journal of Isaac Butler.   Today its mediaeval charm attracts lively tourism that has become the major source of employment in the area.  There is an annual Oyster Festival held in August and passenger ferries operate daily from the nearby town of Omeath during the summer months.

The stamp design looks like an artifact, possibly jewelry.  The 38 pence stamp was issued on 3 April 1991. 

For more information, please see:,_County_Louth

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