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Waterford - Oldest City of Ireland

Waterford City, Ireland (08 February 2024)

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Brief History of Waterford,Ireland

Waterford is derived from the Viking name Vadrarjfordr, situated on the River Suir, the area is the only Irish city to retain its Viking name, Veðrafjǫrðr which previously believed to mean either Fjord of the Castrated Rams or Windy Fjord, neither of which sounded particularly attractive. As a bi-lingual island, the Irish name used for Waterford is Port Láirge which translates in English as ‘Port of a Thigh’ with one origin story attributing the name to the tragic fate of a young prince named Rot. He was attracted to sea by sirens, the winged mythical female creatures, perhaps seeking an intellectual conversation when he is then torn limb from limb with his thigh bone washing ashore at Port Láirge.

Waterford displayed to be the hometown of Luke Wadding, a Franciscan friar in the 17th century, who established St. Patrick’s Day as a feast day to Thomas Francis Meagher, an enigmatic figure in the cause of Irish nationalism in the 19th century who later fought in the American Civil War. The tradition of firsts in the city would continue with Meagher flying the Irish tricolour for the first time in March 1848. The colours of the flag have a symbolic meaning also, the green representing the Catholic community of the island, orange the Protestant and white symbolising peace between the two communities.

Such religious tolerance is a unique characteristic of the city of Waterford with groups such as the Quakers, Jews and French Huguenots, the latter settling in the south-east of Ireland in the late 17th century. A legacy of the Huguenots comes in the form of a bread called the ‘blaa’, a doughy white bread bun being square in shape and covered with white flour. Such culinary innovations are further illustrated by the invention of the bacon rasher by Henry Denny in 1820 to the creation of the cream cracker in 1885 by WR Jacob. At one time, Waterford was the medieval wine capital of Ireland and was the head of the curve in relation to coffee culture, with John Aikenhead being the first to brew and distribute coffee in Ireland in the late 17th century.

Lishmore Castle

Lismore Castle is the Irish home of the Duke of Devonshire, located in County Waterford, Ireland, it has been significantly rebuilt over the years: the current structure dates predominantly to the mid 19th century. Originally built as a sister castle to the nearby Ardfinnan in 1185, it was closely linked to Lismore Abbey, and remained a site with ecclesiastical connotations well into the 13th and 14th centuries. It was also a strategic site, built to guard the river crossing, and was in the possession of the Earls of Desmond for much of the Medieval period. In 1589, Lismore was briefly leased to Sir Walter Raleigh, and then in 1602, it was sold to Richard Boyle, late the 1st Earl of Cork, where he made Lismore his principle seat, transforming the castle into a residence fit for an Earl – adding a gatehouse, castellated outer wall and gabled ranges. The house was damaged in the Cromwellian wars: restoration work was undertaken to make the house habitable again, but the Earls of Cork never lived at Lismore again.

Lismore Castle was part of the dowry of Lady Charlotte Boyle on her marriage to the Marquess of Hartington (and future Duke of Devonshire and Prime Minister) in 1755. The 6th Duke of Devonshire was the one to carry out major works, turning the castle into the building it is today. The style is Gothic Revival, and the noted architect A. W. N. Pugin designed large parts of Lismore, including overseeing the renovation of the old Bishop’s Palace into a banqueting hall. The castle remains in the possession of the Dukes of Devonshire today – while their primary residence remains Chatsworth, Lord Burlington oversees the running of Lismore. In 2005, the deserted west wing was transformed into a contemporary art gallery. The castle itself is available to rent for private groups, but is not open to the public,

Waterford Medieval Museum

The Medieval Museum tells the story of life in Historic Waterford City and incorporates several preserved medieval structures within its walls, not least the beautiful 13th century Chorister’s Hall. Waterford city centre was excavated between 1986 and 1992 and all the unique discoveries were housed in The Museum for everyone to see.  The Museum was opened to the public on Friday 24th August 2012. Among the exhibits on display are the 4m-long Great Charter Roll dating from 1372, which was viewed by Queen Elizabeth II during her historic visit to Ireland, and the 15th century cloth-of-gold vestments one of Ireland’s finest late medieval treasures.

The Dalmatic vestment is one of the most important pieces from the set of Waterford vestments on display at the new Medieval Museum, Cathedral Square. The amazing Chorister’s Hall survives from the medieval period and is one of the centrepieces of the new Medieval Museum. A wonderful depiction of King Edward III of England fully armoured and on horseback, can be seen at the museum. From preserved vestments to art, the collection is extensive. One of the more remarkable finds in the Museum is a hat belonging to King Henry VIII which was a gift to the Mayor of Waterford William Wyse in 1536.

 

House of Waterford

The House of Waterford crafted since 1783, Waterford continues to be at the forefront of exquisitely designed and expertly crafted crystal creations. House of Waterford stands proudly as Waterford’s flagship store and showcases Waterford’s key values of craftsmanship, allowing visitors to experience the beauty of Waterford from initial concept to final product. The Waterford Crystals of today can be traced back the time of Bernard Fitzpatrick visited Charles Bacik shortly after World War II ended, in January 1946, and secured special permits to visit again in May. This time Bacik, his family home taken over by the USSR Armed Forces and his factories nationalised, accepted Fitzpatrick's proposal to restart glassmaking in Waterford, and they agreed on the organisation of the factory, with Bacik to secure key staff, and Fitzpatrick a site and permissions. Fitzpatrick agreed a location at Ballytruckle, by Waterford's greyhound track and a soccer ground with the City Manager, and shared the plans with the Department of Industry and Commerce.

Its founders were brothers George and William Penrose, important developers and principal exporters in the city. Their vision was to "create the finest quality crystal for drinking vessels and objects of beauty for the home." More than two hundred years later, the reputation they established for creating luxury crystal of unsurpassed beauty and quality has transcended the intervening centuries.

Reginald's Tower

Reginald’s Tower is Waterford’s landmark monument and Ireland’s oldest civic building. It has been in continuous use for over 800 years.  The first tower on the site was built by Vikings after 914 and formed the apex of the triangular settlement, an area known to this day as the Viking Triangle.  Re-built by the Anglo Normans in the 12th century the top two floors were added in the 15th century.  Until about 1700 the tower was the strongpoint of the medieval defensive walls that enclosed the city. When the Anglo-Normans attacked Waterford in 1170, the tower was of strategic importance and its capture heralded the fall of the city. This impressive structure which derives its name from the Hiberno-Norse, ruler of the city, Ragnall MacGillemaire, who was held prisoner by the Anglo-Normans in the tower.

The tower now houses an exhibition on Viking Waterford and is managed by the Office of Public Works. Some of the greatest Viking treasures in Ireland are on display in Reginald’s Tower, including the stunning Kite Brooch, the Viking Warrior’s sword, dog collar and the decorated face weight. It’s also possible to see a cannon ball stuck in the external wall. The cannon ball dates from the siege of Waterford by the army of Oliver Cromwell in 1650 when ships on the River Suir bombarded the city with cannon fire. A similar cannonball is on display on the top floor of the tower. Reginald’s Tower is the first in the chronological series of Waterford Treasures Museums and one of the key visitor attractions in Ireland’s Ancient East.

Ballysaggartmore Towers

Ballysaggartmore Towers are imposing gothic style buildings situated near Lismore in pleasant woodland walking and picnic areas. The magical towers provide a fairy tale setting which does not reflect the sad period in Irish History where extravagance and starvation lived side by side.They were constructed for an Anglo Irish Landlord, Arthur Keily-Ussher no later than 1834. He held an estate of approximately 8000 acres, the majority of which was rented to tenant farmers but he retained approximately 1000 acres as a personal demesne. Arthur Keily-Ussher inherited more than eight thousand acres of land in County Waterford. He left Ireland for a time to fight in the Napoleonic Wars, and on his return he built a relatively modest house in the grounds of his Ballysaggartmore estate. However, at some point in the 1830s, he decided that the house was not grand enough for his needs or reputation, certainly not when compared with Strancally Castle. Strancally Castle is a country house in County Waterford, Ireland. It is located on the River Blackwater, close to the town of Youghal in County Cork.

It was at this point that the Kiely-Ussher’s ambitious plans started to unravel. quickly ran out of money, and it rapidly became clear that their dream of living in the grandest house in all Waterford was just that – a dream. Thwarted in their ambition, the couple were forced to live in the existing dwelling. We can only imagine how despairing and humiliated they must have felt at the realization that the impressive carriageway and gate house they had built would never lead to the mansion that they dreamt of. This monetary crisis coincided with the onset of the Great Hunger. This terrible Famine was without doubt one of the most devastating events in Irish history. Like so much of the country, the population in Waterford dropped by more than fifty percent between the years 1841-51. Looked at in the context of these terrible times, the profligate plans of the Keilly-Usshers seem almost unbelievably crass and divisive.

Kilmacthomas Viaduct

The Kilmacthomas Viaduct dates back to 1878. In the past, it was used for the transit of goods by rail. Closed in 1982, it is now a visitors’ attraction. It’s a fine example of 19th-century construction. The viaduct takes the form of 7 rubble stone arches. Constructed from limestone blocks, it combines arches, voussoirs and parapets, giving it a massive, solid and timeless appearance. Seven-arch rubble stone railway viaduct over road, opened 1878, with single-span section to centre. Closed, 1982. Squared rubble limestone walls with batter to north-west, cut-stone stringcourse, and cut-stone coping to parapets. Series of seven round arches on squared rubble stone piers having rusticated cut-stone stringcourses to springs of arches, dressed rubble limestone voussoirs, and squared rubble limestone soffits having traces of lime render over. Single cast-iron span to centre on cast-iron girders having lattice supports with sections of replacement tubular iron railings, c.1950, over. Freestanding railway signal, c.1950, to north-west.

An elegantly-composed railway viaduct, built to designs prepared by James Otway (1843 - 1906) by Smith Finlaysaon and Company, Glasgow, which forms an imposing landmark in the centre of Kilmacthomas. The civil engineering heritage significance of the composition is identified by the form and construction of the arches, which have retained their original profile, together with the central span incorporating early cast-iron work. The construction in squared rubble limestone attests to high quality stone masonry, and produces an appealing textured visual effect in the landscape. The viaduct, one of a pair in the immediate locality (with 22805035/WD-15-05-35), is of particular significance as a reminder of the development of the Great Southern and Western Railway line by the Waterford, Dungarvan, and Lismore Railway Company in the late nineteenth century, which promoted the economy of smaller urban areas, such as Kilmacthomas.

Dunmore East

Dunmore East is a treat for everyone and a must to visit. The fishing village which is on the mouth of the Waterford Harbour is in the barony of Gaultier which translated from Irish means ” Land of the Foreigner”.  Dunmore or Dún Mór, which means “Great Fort”, got it’s name because of a peninsula fort that was built there in ancient times.

The village was always a fishing port not only on the estuary but also out at sea and the coves offered protection from any storm that would hit.  In 1812 it was decided to build a protective harbour but this was not for the fishermen but for the steam packet ships of the Royal Mail.  The harbour was designed by Alaxander Nimmo but by 1937 the harbour began to silt up and the steam packet was transferred from Dunmore East to Waterford city.  But it was the building of the harbour that meant that fishing could flourish and flourish it did. Today Dunmore East is not just a fishing village but a massive attraction for water sports enthusiasts, boating and sailing, fishing, walking, food and adventure.

Ardmore Cathedral Ruins

Ardmore Cathedral is located on the site of St. Declans Monastery and was formally recognised as a Cathedral in 1170. A Recorded Monument it was first constructed by Meolettrim O Duibh-rathra sometime before his death in 1203. It has undergone several phases of construction over the centuries and the present building is of various periods and styles. The chancel is the oldest part of the cathedral dating from the 9th century, with the nave being late 12th-century work. Further works on the south side-wall and the east gable are of the 14th century. The most unusual feature is the arcade – a series of sculptures on the outside of the west wall telling stories from the bible. Many of the upper panels are worn, but you can just make out the Archangel Michael weighing the souls.

Around Ardmore and its venerated founder centered one of the much-vexed questions of Irish ecclesiastical history, viz. – the date of St. Declan’s mission. The question is now, thanks to the scholarly labours of Dr. Todd, practically set at rest. Instead of a predecessor of the National Apostle, as Dr. Lanigan and his school would make St. Declan, the latter is now more generally regarded as the 6th century contemporary of St. David of Wales. But this is merely by the way. The immediate concern is not with disputed questions of’ ‘chronology but with the remains still existing at Ardmore. The latter comprise the Cathedral and its Round Tower, the primitive oratory known as “Relig Deglain,” or St. Declan’s Grave, and the church by the cliff, commonly called Dysert Church. To the foregoing-list of monuments ought to be added the Holy Well near the ruin last mentioned and St. Declan’s Stone on the beach beneath the village.

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Sources:

Waterford City and County Council website.

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Luttrellstown Castle

Castleknock, Dublin, Ireland

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Luttrellstown Castle, an early 15th century (c. 1420) castle, situated in Clonsilla, West  of Dublin has had different owners over the years including the infamous Luttrell family, the first of whom – Sir Geoffrey de Luterel – had been granted the estate by King John around 1210. The original castle was built here some two centuries later and descended from one generation to the next until the late 17th century when it passed out of the ownership of Simon Luttrell, a Roman Catholic supporter of James II who, having supported the King, then emigrated to France and was killed while commanding an Irish regiment at the Battle of Lindon in 1693. His younger brother Colonel Henry Luttrell appeared likewise to support the Jacobite cause but during the Siege of Limerick was discovered to be intriguing with the Williamite forces. The new regime permitted him to keep the family estates but his treachery was not forgotten and in 1717 he was shot dead in Dublin while being carried in his sedan chair from a coffee house: despite a reward of £1,000 being offered, his assassin was never discovered. During the 1798 Rising, his grave was broken open and the skull smashed. Thereafter the Luttrells failed to enjoy public esteem, although Henry’s younger son Simon Luttrell eventually became first Earl of Carhampton. Simon’s son, Henry, the second Earl of Carhampton, was a infamous hunt who, as Commander-in-Chief of British forces in Ireland made so many enemies that a plot to assassinate him was discovered in 1797. In May 1811 the Dublin Post erroneously reported his death and Lord Carhampton demanded a retraction, which was published until the headline ‘Public Disappointment.’ Entirely despised, the Luttrells sold the estate in 1800 and left the country. 

The castle’s next owner was Luke White of whom Lady Hardwicke, wife of the Viceroy, wrote in 1803, ‘He was the servant of an auctioneer of books. As he rose in his finances, he sold a few pamphlets on his own account. His talent for figures soon made him his master’s clerk, and he afterwards was taken into a lottery office, where his calculations soon landed him a partnership. Good luck attended him in every speculation, and he knew how to profit by it, but with the fairest fame. He continued his trade in books on the great scale, and was equally successful in all money transaction’ So successful indeed that he could afford to lend the government £1 million during the 1798 Rebellion and then two years later buy Luttrellstown, ‘to the great offence of all the aristocrats in Ireland,’ according to Lady Hardwicke. In an effort to dismiss memories of the previous owners, White renamed the

estate ‘Woodlands’ but his great-grandson on inheriting the place in 1888 returned to the original name, Luttrellstown Castle, although the name Woodlands is recorded on many old maps. The White family had by then joined the ranks of the aristocracy, Luke White’s son having been created first Lord Annaly in 1863. Famously Queen Victoria twice visited Luttrellstown, passing through in 1849 while heading to the Duke of Leinster at Carton in County Kildare and then drinking tea by a waterfall in the grounds in 1900. In honour, the third Lord Annaly constructed an obelisk made from Wicklow granite in the grounds. Following his death in 1922 the next generation decided to live in England and so the Luttrellstown estate was sold.

It came into the possession of the Guinness family, when Lord Iveagh bought it in the 1930s as a gift for his daughter, the Honourable Aileen Sibell Mary Guinness, on her marriage to the Honourable Brinsley Sheridan Bushe Plunket. The couple were related – his grandmother, Anne Guinness, was a sister of her grandfather, the first Earl of Iveagh. Basil Sheridan Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, heir to the third Marquess of Dufferin and Ava, who would marry the next Guinness sister Maureen in 1930 was thus not only related to his wife but also a cousin of his brother-in-law Brinsley Plunket since the latter’s mother had been a sister of the first Marquess. The groom was always known as Brinny while his older brother Terence Conyngham Plunket, sixth Lord Plunket, was known as ‘Teddy.’ Teddy was a talented artist who recorded his social life through fascinating cartoons. In 1922, Teddy married Dorothé Mabel Lewis, illegitimate daughter of another Irish peer, the 7th Marquess of Londonderry and American actress mother, Fannie Ward, who appeared in Cecil B. DeMille’s racy 1915 silent film ‘The Cheat.‘ The couple were intimate friends of the Duke of York (later George VI) and his wife Elizabeth (later Queen Mother) but lost their lives in a plane crash in California in February 1938.  As a younger son, Brinny had no estate and little money but his wife’s father was able to provide both. In the early years of their marriage, Aileen and Brinny Plunket hosted many house parties at Luttrellstown. Their regular visitors included Teddy and Dorothé Plunket, Aileen’s cousin Arthur Guinness, Viscount Elveden, heir to the second Earl of Iveagh, commonly known as ‘Lump’ – he was later killed in action in 1945 aged thirty-two), Viscount Elveden’s sister Honor, who married Henry ‘Chips’ Channon in 1933, the Honourable Hamish St Clair-Erskine (briefly Nancy Mitford’s fiance), racing driver Sir Tim Birkin and Major Edward ‘Fruity’ Metcalfe, Equerry to the Duke of Windsor and best man at his wedding to Wallis Simpson in 1937.

During the war years, the Luttrellstown estate was  virtually abandoned so locals were inclined to treat it as a public park, hopping over the wall at any time to shoot and fish. When WW2 ended, the chatelaine arrived back to the Castle and ‘no trespassing’ signs were instituted by her new steward.  In the 1970s, when the contents of the Castle went up for auction, the catalogue cost IR £25, an outrageous sum, probably so-priced to attract only serious bidders, rather than the aristocracies. The newspapers were full of descriptions of the lots, which included linen that had never been removed from its wrappers, some of it moth-eaten. 


Athboy, County Meath

County Meath, Ireland

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The town of Athboy began sometime during the sixth century A.D. as a settlement at the river crossing known as the Yellow Ford. Long before this however, the inhabitants of Athboy were Druids, who had settlements at the nearby Hill of Ward. The Hill of Ward, also known as Tlachtga, is the site where the feast of Samhain was celebrated. Samhain is credited with being the forerunner of Halloween.

Take about 30 minutes to travel the Athboy heritage trail and experience some of the history and rich tradition which make the people at the Yellow Ford proud of their past and present, and confident in their future.

In medieval times it was a walled stronghold of the Pale. Eoin Roe O'Neill took it in 1643, and six years later Oliver Cromwell camped his army on the Hill of Ward nearby. Also known as Tlachtga, the Hill of Ward was the location for the pagan feast of Samhain, the precursor of modern-day Halloween.

The tower of St James, Church of Ireland, is a remnant of a 14th-century Carmelite priory. Behind the church are the remains of the town walls. The church boasts an interesting medieval tabletop

Athboy Heritage Trail

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Glimpses of Athboy


Cong, County Mayo

County Mayo, Ireland

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In County Mayo, a town village Cong in Irish Gaelic term Cúnga Fheichin, meaning Saint Feichin’s narrows, reveals much about the geography of the area. The village is built on a narrow strip of cavernous limestone between Lough Mask and Lough Corrib. There is no trace today the remains of the monastery that Feichin founded in the 7th century. Cong Abbey, the ruins of which are in the centre of the village, was first built in the 12th century, burned in the early 13th and rebuilt between the 13th and 16th centuries. From the abbey grounds, a footbridge spans the river, passing the monk’s fishing house probably built in the 15th or 16th century, fish would have been an important part of the monks’ diet. This small house is built on a platform of stones over a small arch that creates a passage for water to flow under the floor. A trapdoor in the floor may have been used to allow a net to be cast into the river, and a fireplace kept the monks warm while they waited for their catch. It is said that a line was threaded from the fishing house to the abbey kitchen, to alert the cooks when there were fish to be cooked.

Cong is also popularly known for its location in the John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara movie, The Quiet Man, but real standout is the 12th century Augustinian monastery, a place of worship and learning until King Henry VIII disbanded all monasteries.  One can easily imagine a procession of psalm-chanting monks winding past the ornate stone carvings of the Market Cross with their beautiful Cross of Cong, a gold, bronze and crystal ceremonial crucifix now held in the National Museum.  Across the river is the Cong Forest Nature Trail in the monks’ woodland, which was enhanced with redwoods, giant sequoia and Monterey pine by Arthur Guinness (Lord Ardilaun) in the mid-19th century when he owned nearby Ashford Castle.

Cong is the home of Ashford Castle, a luxury hotel, which was converted from a Victorian unreal lakeside castle, built by the Guinness family. Ashford Castle is a tourist attraction in its own right. Cong also features a ruined medieval abbey, Cong Abbey, where Rory O'Connor, the last High King of Ireland, spent his last years. It also is the origin of a piece of Celtic art in the form of a metal cross shrine called the Cross of Cong.

As you walk along the dry canal revives memories of the great Irish famine of 1845-1848. The canal was a famine relief scheme that never quite fulfilled its promise in any sense of the word. At completion of the project, because of the limestone terrain, the water disappeared immediately into the ground like water gushing down the plug hole of a bath. The Market Cross on Cong’s main street is the first historical feature you encounter in the centre of the village. The decorated limestone cross is said to mark the completion of the Royal Abbey of Cong in the 12th century.

The Cong Canal, built over five years by the Commissioners of Public Works between 1848 and 1854 as a combined scheme to provide navigation, drainage and mill-power. In 1854 the Commissioners abandoned the navigation aspect of the scheme and instructed Samuel Roberts, their engineer, "to suspend the execution of all navigation works in this division of the district, and complete only such as were necessary for the regulation of the waters of Lough Mask, for drainage purposes." Now it is commonly known as the "Dry Canal", the water level can vary between zero and 3.5 metres depending on the time of year (summer dry, winter full) and is 5 km in length and built heritage features of the canal remain.


The Newbridge House and Farm

Donabate, Dublin

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The Newbridge House is an 18th century hidden treasure thought to be an excellent sample of early Irish Georgian mansion. Built in 1736 for Archbishop Charles Cobb designed by the famous Irish architect George Semple (1700-1782) and the Scottish architect James Gibbs (1682-1754). Located in a 350 acres farmland in Donabate, North of County Dublin with finest white marble Italian and Portland stone fireplaces, Rococo plasterwork, and a museum of marvels. The Cobbe family  hold the estate until 1985 when sold to the Fingal County Council with distinctive agreement that the family can remain there partly in time. The house can be toured to see the Cobbe family’s period furniture, artwork, a 29-acre vast farm, a diary, and a courtyard that includes a working carpenter and a forge.

The house interiors, from Red Drawing Room to the Cabinet of Curiosities, are amazingly complete and midst of the best preserved in Ireland and provide understanding to three centuries of Irish history. The up--stairs part of the house where the Cobbe family lived while lower level you can explore the servants room. The visitors will be elated back in time to the real engine room of the building. It also highlight personal stories about the actual servants that lived and worked in the house,  where guest gets a true sense of what daily lives during their times.

The farm has Shetland and Connemara ponies, pigs, goats, chicks and  many more. Newbridge Farm also assists to protect many traditional and rare breeds. Outside the farm there are walled gardens, orchards, cobbled courtyards and historic walking patios.

For more information follow this link to Newbridge House & Farm


The Tintern Abbey

Newross, Wexford, Ireland

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"This Cistercian monastery was founded c. 1200 by William, Earl Marshal on lands held through his marriage to the Irish heiress, Isabella de Clare. This abbey, founded as a daughter-house of Tintern Major in Wales is often referred to as Tintern de Voto.

The nave, chancel, tower, chapel and cloister still stand. In the 16th century the old abbey was granted to the Colclough family and soon after the church was partly converted into living quarters and further adapted over the centuries. The Colcloughs occupied the abbey from the sixteenth century until the mid-twentieth.(*)

Source: *Heritage Ireland

Source: Content Ireland Pool


The City of Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is the capital of Ireland  and in Irish term “Dubh Linn”, Norse Dyfflin or “Black Pool”, and also called Baile Átha Cliath or“Town of the Ford of the Hurdle”. Dublin is located on the east coast in the province of Leinster, set at the head of Dublin Bay of the Irish Sea.  Dublin is the country’s paramount port, centre of financial and commercial dominion, and centre of culture. It is also a city of differences, maintaining an anxious relationship between reminders of earlier political and economic conditions and symbols of present-day life and prosperity.

Dublin is a very warm and friendly city,  and noted for hospitality of its people and well-known for its craic or “crack”— that blends wordplay, humour, cleverness and sharp and devaluing insight that has enticed writers, intellectuals, and visitors for centuries. About one-quarter of the residents of the Republic of Ireland live in the Metro Dublin urban area, providing a good deal of hustle and bustle. The main city is divided into north-south by the River Liffey, with O’Connell’s Bridge connecting the two sections. The pubs or bars, where much of the city’s social life is led, coffee shops and restaurants brimming, and Irish tunes and music hardly allows quietness ambiance. The north section, close to the General Post Office (GPO), where most of the Georgian houses left remaining, built in the 18th century, now standing beside with the modern offices and residential apartments. The Ireland’s national theatre, the Abbey, is just east of O’Connell Street, noticeably since 2002 by the iconic Spire of Dublin, a 394-foot (120-metre) stainless steel landmark that declared the street’s changes with a pedestrian square and tree-lined thoroughfare. Even though Dublin has gone through many transformations, and in some areas—such as the narrow streets of the Temple Bar area west of Trinity College—regularly hold to wild and loud pub-goers, a strong sense of history and of a centuries-old capital diffuses.

The geographic location of Dublin is marvelous, positioned at the head of a beautiful bay, and the city links the River Liffey where it splits eastward through a hill ring-shaped plain to the shores of the Irish Sea, and the dark marsh water draining into the river made the “black pool” that gave the city its name.  Almost undoubtedly, this opening from the sea—leading through the mountains to the fertile central plains of Ireland—originally attracted Viking raiders and Norse settlement. Each year the suburbs just beyond into the countryside, into the south, a natural limit posed by the Dublin and Wicklow mountains, which echo the city and provide some of its most beautiful panoramas.

Dublin acted a foremost role in the cultural renaissance that began in 1884 with the establishment of the Gaelic Athletic Association (Cumann Lúthchleas Gael) for the restoration of historical Irish games. It was expanded in 1893 with the foundation of the Gaelic League (Conradh na Gaeilge), which promotes the Irish language and Irish folklore. The National Gallery, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Project Arts and City Arts centres, and many privately owned galleries exhibit the liveliness of the visual arts in Dublin. Temple Bar has been developed with a mix of boutiques, galleries, and studios. At the centre of Ireland’s rich Anglo-Irish literary, philosophical, and political history, Metro Dublin was the birthplace of three winners of the Nobel Prize for Literature: playwrights Samuel Beckett and George Bernard Shaw and poet William Butler Yeats. Other prominent figures associated with the city include the satirists Jonathan Swift and Brendan Behan, the poet and dramatist Oscar Wilde, the playwright Sean O’Casey, the political theorist Edmund Burke, and the novelist James Joyce, author of the well-known short-story collection Dubliners (1914) and of the groundbreaking novel Ulysses (1922), which presents a day in the life of Dublin in 1904 through three characters whose stories analogous events in Homer’s Odyssey and in recent times, Dublin has provided the background for the fiction of Maeve Binchy and Roddy Doyle.

In the beginning of prehistoric times people have inhabited in the area around Dublin Bay, and four of Ireland’s five great roads joined near the point called Baile Átha Cliath, the name stamped by Dublin’s postmark. The city’s noteworthy resurgence began at the end of the 17th century, when thousands of refugee Huguenot weavers from France settled in Dublin after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1685, limited their rights. Flemish weavers came in their wake, and soon the cloth trades were thriving. It was not long before Dublin’s competition with English cloth interests driven the British Parliament to impose export restrictions. In the road of the 18th century, economic prosperity led to the development of Georgian Dublin. Growth extended beyond the old medieval walls; more bridges were built over the Liffey; and superbly the new suburbs arose to the north and east. The city that emerged was fundamentally the Dublin of today.

Source: The Britannica, March 2023 Updates

               Discovering Ireland.com

June, 2023(NJ)