As we approached the village we could see the ruined castle on the hilltop. It looked like Dracula’s castle, but the real story was even more interesting.
At the time of the Crusades King Richard the Lionheart had a quarrel with the King of Austria and ended up imprisoned in this very castle. His minstrel wandered Europe singng ouside castles until he was heard by the Kng who recognised his song and sang back to him. I remember reading the story in the Childrens Encyclopedia more than 70 years ago and here was the very castle.
The story may be apochryphal but it is a fact that the King was imprisoned here and an enormous ransom paid. According to Ivanhoe the ransom money was raised by British Jews who suffered under bad King John and wanted the more tolerant Richard back!
The castle is situated in Durnsein which was our next stop. We had a short walk into the village.
Of course there wa the obligatory visit to the church and then we were entertained to a wine tasting.
An interesting fact in the local churches is that they all seem to have glass boxes containing holy relics. The relics are supposed to be the bodies of Saints but in fact are simply bodies sent from The catacombs in Rome. No one knows to whom they belong but they do raise funds for the church.
The very enthusiastic winemaker turned out to be a former brewer from Burton on Trent. A big jollyguy, very keen for us to enjoy his wine which was plied with great enthusiasm to a not unwilling group.
We are now sailing again to a village called Ybbs where those so inclined will attend Midnight Mass, this being Christmas Eve. The rest of us will also dine early but that is to enable the dining room staff an early finish.