el ganeden d'esmareldas

the garden of emeralds

Crossakiel, Co. Meath, Ireland

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Crossakiel, in County Meath, is often considered a part of nearby Kells (Irish: Ceanannas). Kells, is famously known for being the namesake of the illuminated manuscript, The Book of Kells. Though it’s unknown exactly when Crossakiel was established, Kells has been a town since as early as the 12th century. During English invasion in the Middle Ages, Kells was a border town on the English Pale, and later during the Irish Potato Famine around the 1840s, it lost almost 40% of its population.

The Cosy Corner (pictured above) in Crossakiel used to be a pub and a grocery, but is now closed. The Crossakiel Handball Club can also be seen above. Handball is very popular in Crossakiel and has been since as early as the 1920s. The church pictured above is St Shiria’s Church, which was part of the Church of Ireland and is recorded as far back as 1761. The church is no longer in use, as it no longer has a roof or door.

The population of Crossakiel today is unknown, but the town of Kells has a population of nearly 6,000 residents. Kells is known today in media for being the setting of the Oscar-nominated film, The Secret of Kells.


Knaptoft, Leicestershire, England

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It’s not known when Knaptoft was established, but it’s existed as early as the 13th century, when its church was built. Its name is believed to descend from Old Scandinavian, knappr meaning the top of a hill, and toft meaning a home, though it has been recorded under plenty names, one of them being Cnapetot. Most of the residents made fabric for a living or raised livestock. It was deserted in the 17th century for unknown reasons. Its main attraction is the St Nicholas church which is believed to have been destroyed during the English Civil War by Parliamentarians and today lies in ruins. Today, only about 50 residents remain in Knaptoft.

Alderley Edge, Cheshire, England

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The first settlement of Alderley Edge as a village is unknown, though it is estimated the land has been lived since the Bronze Ages. Alderley Edge is first mentioned as a town in the 13th century, called ‘Chorlegh’ and later ‘Chorley’. The name Alderley is thought to come from either the words Aldred and leah, which means ‘Aldred’s clearing’ or Alðrȳðelēah meaning ‘Alðrȳð’s clearing’. In the Middle Ages all the way into the 20th century, Alderley Edge prospered mainly off agriculture, though mining was also present in the area. Alongside this, Alderley Edge was and is still today populous due to its railroad and many landmarks. Alderley Edge has a popular legend called ‘Wizard of the Edge’ in which a farmer sells his horse to a wizard and follows the wizard into a cavern through large gates, seeing many warriors sleeping with their horses. The wizard tells the farmer that, should England come to any danger, the warriors would awake and protect it. The farmer departs, and returns the next day to find the cavern and gates gone. Alderley Edge has around 4,000 residents today.

53.303°N 2.236°W