On a sunny day I jumped the electric fence in a large field in Ireland.  Before me stood a boggy plain of grass leading to a river, and a sea of sheep.  Sitting in the middle was a block like structure, looming some 50 feet in the air.  This abandoned Irish castle was built in the 1200s, and was once one of the most important in Kilkenny county. Ruled by a powerful knight named Thomas Fitz Anthony, who controlled much of the island for three English kings, the family later fell out of grace in the 1300s,  and in a strange legend the owner’s head was served on a platter to King Richard II. In later years it was besieged by Cromwell, and fell into decay in the 1800s after its rulers went into exile in Connaught in the 1600s. Looming over the local town that was founded around it, today it is a forgotten structure, stripped of ornament and importance and a home only to cattle and sheep.

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