Sunday, June 30, 2013

Howard Mausoleum, Kilbride, Co. Wicklow | 'Giza on the Avoca'

County Wicklow Heritage | Places | Howard Mausoleu

Howard Mausoleum, Kilbride, Co. Wicklow

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Howard Mausoleum, Kilbride, Co. Wicklow' page
David Bardon 2012
'Giza on the Avoca'
By Jim Rees
Sitting on a small rise a mile north of Arklow, overlooking the river Avoca, is a monument described by John Betjeman as the largest pyramid tomb ‘beyond the banks of the Nile’. It stands on the highest position in the ancient cemetery of Kilbride, dwarfing the ruins of the adjacent medieval church, and is easily seen from most points within a two-mile radius.
When Ralph Howard of Shelton Abbey was made 1st Viscount Wicklow in 1785, he decided that no longer would a departed Howard be buried in cold clay; their bodies would be housed in an edifice more befitting aristocracy. Philosophical Enlightenment was at its height and to speak of Egyptian, Athenian or Roman architecture was to display not only education but good taste. The new mausoleum, Howard decided, would be a pyramid.
The design is believed to be the work of an English sculptor and stonecutter, Simon Vierpyl (c. 1725–1810). Vierpyl was well acquainted with Enlightenment taste having spent almost a decade in Rome producing souvenir copies of ancient sculpture for the well-heeled on their Grand Tour. He was brought to Ireland by James Caulfield, 4th Viscount Charlemont (1728–99), and soon became known for his designs based on ancient civilisations. He worked closely with architect William Chambers on Castletown House, Charlemont House in Rutland (now Parnell) Square in Dublin, and the Casino at Marino. According to The dictionary of Irish architects ( he appears to ‘have done relatively little purely sculptural work’ in Ireland, being employed chiefly as a stone-carver, mason and clerk of works. The Howard mausoleum does not appear in the list of works accredited to him.
The pyramid’s outer cladding is granite blocks. The base is approximately twenty-seven feet square, the walls are perpendicular to the height of six feet, at which level the slopes begin, meeting at the pinnacle some thirty feet above ground level. A sarcophagus on the north side records that the monument was erected in memory of an earlier Howard and as a place of burial for the family. North of the pyramid is a small Egyptian-style structure with a temple front that is often taken for part of the mausoleum, but this leads to a second chamber that houses a minor branch of the Howard family.
Access to the inside of the pyramid was gained by a small door in the north wall — now sealed — from which a narrow corridor of about eight or nine feet leads to a chamber ten feet square. This has a curved brick roof, about fifteen feet from the floor at its highest point. The wall facing the short corridor and the walls to the right and left each contain nine niches for coffins, three rows of three.
The coffins were inserted lengthwise so that each niche opening is only two feet six inches square, receding about seven feet. A slab, on which the biographical details of the interred were carved as on ordinary headstones, was fitted to seal the niche. The fourth wall has only six niches, three placed vertically either side of the chamber entrance, making a total of thirty-three coffin spaces in all — masonic symbolism or just a handy number? The strange thing is, only eighteen are occupied.
The first interment was of Ralph Howard’s daughter Isabella. She was nineteen when she died in December 1784. As the pyramid was not built until the following year, it is reasonable to assume that Isabella was buried in the graveyard and re-interred in the mausoleum when it was ready. The last interment of which we have a record took place in 1823, but folklore states that there was another. For weeks following the interment of an infant family member, tenants living at Kilbride reported the sound of a child crying at night. The body was, we are told, removed and interred elsewhere after which the crying is said to have stopped. The pyramid was sealed and never used againm, Kilbride, Co. Wicklow | 'Giza on the Avoca'

Friday, June 21, 2013

Giant Dungeons & Dragons D20 Dice Acrylic by InnerGeekOuterBeauty

Giant Dungeons & Dragons D20 Dice, Acrylic

Giant Dungeons & Dragons D20 Dice, AcrylicGiant Dungeons & Dragons D20 Dice, AcrylicGiant Dungeons & Dragons D20 Dice, AcrylicGiant Dungeons & Dragons D20 Dice, AcrylicGiant Dungeons & Dragons D20 Dice, Acrylic
This listing is for a single custom made-to-order 20 sided die.

This impressive D20 is a great addition to any geek's collection of dice or decoration in their game room. It is made entirely of transparent acrylic (as seen in the first picture). Please email me your choice of color for the acrylic and the numbers on the die. Other options include transparent acrylic, translucent acrylic, opaque acrylic, or wood. ** Please note that not all colors are available in each type of material. Email me your preference and I will let you know if I have that available.

Pictured Dimensions:
The entire D20 is approximately 10 inches in diameter
Each individual triangle side measures at approximately 6 inches
Acrylic sheet thickness = 0.118 in.

** Also note that because the die is made out of acrylic, it is fragile. **



The dice are made-to-order. Please allow up to 3-4 weeks for the dice to ship out after payment is received.

United States = Up to 10 business days
International = Varies by destination

** Please email me about international shipping costs. The prices vary depending on where I'm shipping to, so I want to be able to get you an accurate shipping cost before you order.

Have any questions? Contact the shop owner.

Ships from United States

Ready to ship in 3-4 weeks

ship tocostwith another item
United States $20.00 USD$20.00 USD
Canada $25.00 USD$25.00 USD

Payment methods

    InnerGeekOuterBeauty accepts credit cards and Etsy Gift Cards.
  • Credit Card

About this item

Handmade by InnerGeekOuterBeauty and made to order


  • Listed on May 3, 2013
  • Listing # 150214818

$100.00 USD
Only 1 available

Giant Dungeons & Dragons D20 Dice Acrylic by InnerGeekOuterBeauty

Friday, June 14, 2013

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars from

Jun 10 2013 10:00am
William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is Exactly What You Need For Your Next Geeky Houseparty
William Shakespeare's Star Wars cover, Ian DoescherIn my experience, geeks are often an incredibly theatrical bunch. It’s hardly any wonder—we love epic stuff. We go for the larger-than-life, we’re prone to dressing up, we enjoy imitating what we find inspiring. As a kid, I found most of my friends in the greenroom of our high school, rehearsing Sondheim musicals and the occasional Martin McDonagh or Nicky Silver play. (Yeah, you read that one right.)
So you know what’s a perfect idea? Star Wars as a Shakespeare play. Because as party tricks go, who wouldn’t be into this?
Considering that there are a multitude of Star Wars plays running across the convention circuit on any given year, from musicals to one-man shows to condensed 30-minute trilogies, it’s amazing that Ian Doescher had to point out this gaping chasm to the world with William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. His treatment of Star Wars as a Shakespeare play covers just the first film (that’s first in our chronology, not in theirs,) and encompasses every scene therein.
In true Shakespearean form, there are hilarious asides that make it clear how each character truly feels and what they’re plotting. Observe—
C-3PO: Anon, anon, R2! Where dost thou go?
O prithee, patience, leave me not alone.
[Aside.] Aye, even though I mock and injure thee,
I’ll surely die if e’er thou leavest me!
Truer words, you guys. (R2’s lines are written as beeps and squeaks, but his asides are in English. It’s kind of genius.)
There are great illustrations to add character, including all your favorite people sporting Elizabethan additions to their costumes. Well, the Jawas look the same, but Tatooine fashion has that friar kind of vibe anyway. (Jabba’s hat, though. Hutt hats. There are hats for Hutts.) There’s a chorus when the plot needs furthering, and soliloquies galore for all the appropriate moments of resonance, even songs that need melodies! In addition, Doescher sprinkles in fun references for longtime fans that are a treat to pick out; there’s a great shout out to whether Han truly does shoot first, for instance.
What shouldn’t be surprising at all is how easily Star Wars seems to break itself down along Shakespeare’s typical structure, with five acts and emotional exclamations over every betrayal and character archetypes that fit the bill without breaking a sweat. Chats between stormtroopers become whole comedic side scenes in their own right, and knowledge of the prequels inform the ways in which characters monologue about each other where they couldn’t in the film proper.
William Shakespeare's Star Wars flash mob
Flash mob in front of Philadelphia's Museum of Art!

The book has already prompted some celebration, as Shelf Awareness reported that a flash mob appeared on May the 4th at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in its honor! But all I could think while reading the play was what a great late-night party game it would make. Assign roles out to your guests (costumed or not) and spend the next few hours indulging your sci-fi and classics-obsessed friends! Pick a favorite word (I recommend “anon” or “forsooth”) and have everyone drink when it comes up! Just don’t say it was my idea....
Unless you have a great time. Then it totally was.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher is available July 2 from Quirk Books.

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is Exactly What You Need For Your Next Geeky Houseparty |

Sunday, June 9, 2013

pfalzgrafenstein castle ( Ship of Stone) Part one.

Pfalzgrafenstein Castle

Der Mäuseturm
  pfalzgrafenstein castleThe early ears
Kaub, Gutenfels und die Pfalz

Google Satellite view 

Dock and wooded area
Castle with breakwater 

Burg Pfalzgrafenstein with Burg Gutenfels in the background, about 1900
Pfalzgrafenstein Castle (German: Burg Pfalzgrafenstein) is a toll castle on the Falkenau island, otherwise known as Pfalz Island in the Rhine river near Kaub, Germany. Known as "the Pfalz," this former stronghold is famous for its picturesque and unique setting.
The keep of this island castle, a pentagonal tower with its point upstream, was erected 1326 to 1327 by King Ludwig the Bavarian. Around the tower, a defensive hexagonal wall was built between 1338 to 1340. In 1477 Pfalzgrafenstein was passed as deposit to the Count of Katzenelnbogen.[1] Later additions were made in 1607 and 1755, consisting of corner turrets, the gun bastion pointing upstream, and the characteristic baroque tower cap.
The castle functioned as a toll-collecting station that was not to be ignored, as it worked in concert with Gutenfels Castle and the fortified town of Kaub on the right side of the river. A chain across the river forced ships to submit, and uncooperative traders could be kept in the dungeon until a ransom was delivered. The dungeon was a wooden float in the well.
Unlike the vast majority of Rhine castles, "the Pfalz" was never conquered or destroyed, withstanding not only wars, but also the natural onslaughts of ice and floods by the river. Its Spartan quarters held about twenty men.
The island of the castle was used for the Rhine crossing by 60,000 Prussian troops under Blücher in the winter of 1814 in his pursuit of Napoleon.
"A ship of stone..."
The castle was acquired by Prussia in 1866, and toll collections ceased in 1867. It continued to be used as a signal station for the river boat traffic for about another century. In 1946, the castle became property of the State of Rheinland–Pfalz.
The State eventually turned "the Pfalz" into a museum and restored the color scheme of the baroque period. The museum reflects the conditions of the 14th century, and the visitor will not find modern amenities such as electricity or a lavatory. It is accessible to the public via a ferry service from nearby Kaub as long as river conditions permit.
The area is part of the Rhine Gorge, a World Heritage site
Castle description

Burg Pfalzgrafenstein
The Castle forms an elongated scalene Hexagon in plan view, the three-storey Bering on the basic form reminds a downstream vessel of 47 m long and 21 m maximum width, which rises about 13 m above the Rhine, with five round, above such th. polygon Eckthürmchen of Lord 2.2, partly 2.8 m clear span, which does not advance outside holds in its top, triangular with large sandstone blocks and cross braces at the end-the Castle House.
In the open galleries surrounded (25.1 m long, wide up to 12.4 m) inner court rises the exterior symmetrical five sided, inside the rectangular keep with its approximately 37 m above the Rhine Ronan hood, his sharpest corner, which is a spiral staircase connecting the 6 floors, the Burghause turning on the top floor with a, fitted with round-arched barrel vault in the previous two.
Castle Pfalzgrafenstein House
The Castle House contains a bottom 3 pressed round Lancet arcades with squares open columns against the Court Hall with three rectangular rippenlosen vaulted ceilings and a trowel Council a trapezoidal space with barrel vault that is accessible and illuminated by 2 slots only by the Hall. An in the wall thickness, driven down into the rock well shaft is located at one end of the Hall.

On the second floor, the space above the Hall at 2.9 m wide 4 rippenlose cross vaults, against the Court in the Middle has a fireplace between coupled Windows, separated by a rectangular pillar opposite 2 Arcaden convey a connection with trapetzförmigen space lit by two narrow Windows and covered with a vault of stitch Cap.
The third floor is updated. The spiral staircase contained within an Eckthurm connects the floors of the Castle House and the Court be ring.Wall Pfalzgrafenstein
The wall contained deep stitch sheet panels, which are smaller aperture with slanted side walls for the shooting holes in 2 floors.
On the ground floor a pillar carved from a single piece is set up later (such as in the 16th century) each diaphragm pillar opposite rothem sandstone, which in the middle of octagonal, top and bottom is being placed under an outline in the square formed by platelets and ogee and has a cube-shaped bottom off nestled head. These pillars carry the wooden galleries of the second floor, which lie with their shelters on the ramparts on high Stichbogen of slate. These are above both reinforced after the Court and externally and by raw projected arched frieze to take the Battlement parapet forming the third floor.
Thürme Pfalzgrafenstein
The related to the galleries in connection Eckthürme with monastery vaults rise above the roofs of the Wehrganges and wear pyramid roofs. The located at the bottom of the Castle Tower, in which the left above contains a fourth Holy cross vaults. Wood be fabric Bay window are the Eckthürmen in the 17th century above been submitted. A wooden Bay window protects the downstream the needle Lancet entrance to the Burghofe, which, accessible, can be kept only by a ladder through a Portcullis, which was lowered by a winch mounted in the Bay window.
The keep was accessible by a train and Schiebebrücke and, as Merian's view shows still 1645 with Wehrgange vorgekragtem fries arch and 5 Eckthürmchen provided, which gave to the curved roof.

L. of [cracks and description of architect of Peter in Wetzlar in the Palat. Yearbooks 46, op. cit., pp. 50-54 and table 6-9. Views by Simrock, the picturesque Rhineland P237 (West side); Albert, Rhine album; Sachs & Rossel, no.3 (North side).]
Illostration of  medeval ship of stone
Floor plan
                                              Interior Hallway showing narrow access stairs
                                                         Interior Courtyard from level 2

                                                        Panarama view of  bow room
High waters on The Rhine

                                Unknown  dateed photo of city walls and ferry garrison tower
 Interior room view with person for scale
 View from upper castle to ferry
 Hilltop Castle that protects the vally. (Now a Hotel)

More detailed photos


Next blog to be a system neutral fantasy setting based around the Ship of  Stone.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Wrecks of Homebush Bay

The Wrecks of Homebush Bay
SS Ayrfield
Ayrfield (originally launched as SS Corrimal) was a steel-hulled, single screw, steam collier of 1140 tonnes and 79.1m in length. It was built in the UK in 1911 and registered at Sydney in 1912. It was purchased by the Commonwealth Government and used to transport supplies to American troops stationed in the Pacific region during WWII.
In 1950, it was sold to Bitumen and Oil Refineries Australia Pty Ltd and in 1951 sold to the Miller Steamship Company Ltd and renamed
Ayrfield. Under the Miller flag, it operated as a collier between Newcastle and Miller’s terminal in Blackwattle Bay. Here is a description of the collier entering Blackwattle Bay:
As a teenager I went to sea on the
Ayrfield, one of R. W. Miller’s colliers. It took great skill by the helmsman to steer the ship through the opening of the Glebe Island swing bridge in the darkness of night.
The ship had to have a reasonable speed to negotiate the opening as there was only a few metres clearance on either side. As we swung to port to berth in Blackwattle Bay, the vessel would slow ready to berth, and if the tide was low with a full cargo on board, the hull would scrape the muddy bottom. Skipper Ron Archer would carry out this manoeuvre effortlessly.”
The registration of
Ayrfield was cancelled on 6 October 1972 and the old collier sent to Homebush Bay for breaking-up. The hull is located near the mouth of Haslams Creek with the bow pointing towards the shore.


Meroe Pyramids

Meroe Pyramids

These Nubian pyramids are strange and unique, even by pyramid standards

Slowly being reclaimed by the sands of time (literally), the pyramids of Meroë hold the fragile footprints a mysterious and long-forgotten civilization.
Meroë was an ancient city in the Kushite Kingdom, and the sheer number of its still-standing pyramids indicate that it was a massive city, once bustling with traders and everyday inhabitants. (And, most obviously, a booming tradition of masonry.)
Archaeologists have identified that the numerous pyramid structures are very clearly in the Nubian style. The structures' sharp angles and relatively narrow footprints carry all the hallmarks the former Kushite Kingdom, meaning Meroë was a pinnacle location in one of history's greatest and least well-understood civilizations.
The kingdom stretched throughout this region in ancient times. But now, little more than the dusty pyramids that stand solemnly in the desert remains of the city, and by proxy of the Kushites it belonged to. But with more than 200 of them to mark the location, they are quite enough to astound visitors and historians alike.

D&D Beginnings - SDS at Capricon 2011 (playlist)