Continuing my summer visits to towns with which I or my congregation have had connections. Today it was New Ross
. I must have passed through New Ross hundreds of times yet have never spent time rambling around this historic town until today.
And a very historic town it is. It would take me ages to recount its history. A few items will have to suffice.
New Ross on the river Barrow dates from pre-medieval time but came to prominence as a town when the Anglo-Normans under William Marshall and Isabella (only daughter of Strongbow and Aoife McMurrough) arrived during the early part of the 13th century. It couild really be called Isabella's town she influenced it so much. She had a huge important church built (1210) over-looking the town.
The Ross Tapestry
traces the history of the medieval New Ross. It is a series of 15 wonderful modern tapestries, each taking 4 years to complete, sewn by 150 volunteers. Two remain to be finished. Today I was allowed the privilege of adding a few stitches to the last one myself! http://www.rostapestry.com/about_us.htm
As is known, John F. Kennedy's
ancesters left New Ross for the USA on a famine ship called the Dunbrody
. A facimile of the ship is anchored at the quayside near an "Emigrant Flame
" which was taken from the "Eternal Flame"
at his grave in Arlington. More than 35 million people in the USA claim Irish/American ancestry today!
Another interesting thing to see is the Tholsel
(Toll-sell), built in 1749 as a place where taxes of all sorts were payable. The prison was next door where summary justice was meeted out to those not paying their taxes - including a ducking-stool, a pillory and a gallows! It is now the seat of the town council. In it are kept the mace of King Edward III (1374), the mace of King Charles II (1699), a Charter of King James II (1688), and the minutes of the town corporation dating back to 1650.
There is also a beautiful town park where I sat while listening to Mozart on my disc-player.
All in all a wonderful day.
John F. Kennedy