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Resource - Castles of Ireland

Even if you're not planning a trip to Ireland, this travel website is a wonderful resource.

Specifically, take a look at these historic castles:

http://www.discoverireland.com/us/ireland-things-to-see-and-do/culture-and-sights/history-and-heritage/castles/



There's also a convenient clickable map to find more resources.



Looking for ancient monuments for your Druids or Celts? Take a look at these fascinating pieces of history:

http://www.discoverireland.com/us/ireland-things-to-see-and-do/culture-and-sights/history-and-heritage/ancient-monuments/



Also check out:

http://www.europeupclose.com/irelands-historic-castles/

Resource - Historic Castles of Europe

Wonderful website listing thousands of castles throughout Europe.

Search for a specific castle or browse by region/country.

Checkout the "Useful Links" for interesting side pages to visit.



http://www.historiccastles.com/

Resource - Castles of Belgium Website

This website is a wonderful resource for castles built in Belgium. View pictures and details by location or family.

http://www.chateauxdebelgique.eu/Home.aspx?gclid=CKLk8fHKl50CFSTFsgodqlEd3g

Research - Materials Used in Castle Building

Castles were originally built of dirt and timber which did not withstand heavy-duty fighting or fire. There are several resources that point to early stone castles, especially in the Arab world. Stone was costly because it took a long time to quarry and it had to be hauled/lifted into place at the site. Skilled stone masons were highly paid and often travelled whereever their skill was required. Cutting stone was very laborous work - they used chisels, hand-picks, stone axes. A few castles had facades of bricks.



This is a nice site that lists some of the different stones that were used:http://www.castles-of-britain.com/castlesq.htm



Wonderful site showing the different materials:http://www.timetravel-britain.com/articles/castles/kenilworth.shtml

Research - Medieval Castles

Early medieval castles were very basic - usually built on a hillside (or even a man-made hill) in a motte and bailey format (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motte-and-bailey for examples).Castles were first built of wood then slowly were built of stone (which took longer to build and were more expensive).The advent of gunpowder and cannons at the end of the Middle Ages rendered stone walls useless; thus, castles evolved into elaborate palaces for the wealthy to live as opposed to being used as defensive units.



For interesting info, visit http://www.castlewales.com/life.html

Research - The Feudal System

The feudal system, as we know it, began to take shape with the decline of the Roman Empire. Land was considered very valuable and was often given as reward for loyal service or honor in military situations. Land was divided up and given to feudal lords who oversaw them and the resources. Sometimes these were divided further into smaller parcels. Each land owner was responsible for yielding crops and taxes to their lord (who in turn gave to his lord, etc). The vassal also owed his lord military service. It became common for manor lords to hire professional knights to go to war in their place.

For more interesting information about feudalism, check out http://honolulu.hawaii.edu/distance/hist151/feudal.htm