Not much gaming in recent weeks, though I have been out on the road a bit, so here’s some (relevant…no really) pics from recent visits.
Carrickfergus Castle is one of the last remaining (if not pre-eminent) Norman castles in the UK and Northern Ireland. It has a long history from the days of Norman expansion, and was originally constructed (well the keep and a bit more after a motte & bailey concept) by John de Coucry in 1177, as a base when he conquered the rest of Ulster. He built it on a rocky 'crag' - and the area became 'crag-fergus' or 'castle of crag', now Carrickfergus.
It sits on a strategic position on the northern arm of Belfast Lough, and has been besieged in turn by the Scots, Irish, English and French over the years.
It was besieged by Schomberg in 1689 when held by Jacobites, is the landing point of William III in Ireland in 1690, and was attacked by Thurot’s French in 1760 in a little known seven years war escapade.
Oh yes…and in 1778, John Paul Jones of AWI fame lured a RN ship from its moorings nearby on Belfast Lough, before winning an hour long sea battle.
Later, the castle was used as a garrison in WWI and a magazine/armoury in WWII (the secret tunnels and stores areas still exist - stretching out well into the lough).
There is also a Churchill tank and a 25 pounder not far from the castle (see pics below). The Churchill (an earlier version - perhaps named after Churchill himself or his 17th century ancestor Marlborough-John Churchill, in line with the historical designation of the Cromwell etc.?) was originally conceived and prototyped by Harland & Wolff in Belfast (which still exists...just, after decades of shipbuilding, to provide heavy fabrication & wind farm structures), and there was some local manufacture afterwards.
My father actually remembers an area of H&W called the 'tank shop' right into the 1960s - yet he could never work out why, so I'm surmising that the prototypes were built there before being transferred to Vauxhall.
Bronze statue of William III, who landed near the castle in 1690.
It's a trap!
And the Churchill. It really is in very good condition, and as with many WWII tanks I've seen, contains hatches which most blokes of today would find increasingly hard to get out of. (ah, the perils of chocolate and fast food).