Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Branding Iron

Below is a link to a picture of a branding iron used in North East Galway. Some of the farmers still used the symbol of the landlord, decades after the Big House had vanished. This particular one bears the letter R, signifying the farmer Ruane.  


Sunday, May 19, 2019

St Patrick's Church, Duleek County Meath

The original church in Duleek was founded by St Cianán in the 5th century. The village name Duleek itself is believed to come from the Irish for stone church. The ruin we see today dates from around the 13th century. Unfortunately, when I visited there was a group of teenagers up to no good in the graveyard. The local community should provide alternatives for them. The adjacent Church of Ireland church is now a restaurant.

Malahide Abbey

Malahide Abbey, North County Dublin. Inside the abbey is a late medieval tomb, the 15th century resting place of Maud Plunkett. Access to the abbey is frowned upon. Access to the grounds is free of charge.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Why I don't like Josepha Madigan

When this is the viewpoint of our Minister for heritage, Ireland's heritage has much to fear.


The letter below is apt.

Sir, – We have a housing crisis. It has become a national imperative to build homes for people. Good. But it cannot be at any cost. The system has to allow for circumstances where permission to build is denied or delayed and where we do not squeeze as many dwellings as are physically squeezable into every square inch on every plot of ground on every green field, brown field, nook or cranny in the country.
The system has to have balances. We have a Cabinet Minister responsible for securing housing. Good. And we have a Cabinet Minister with responsibility for protecting this State’s heritage. Good. This is the balance.
How worrying, therefore, and how depressing to read that the Minister, Josepha Madigan TD, whose role it is to safeguard Ireland’s historical and archaeological inheritance should describe the discovery of a site of around 60 burials, possibly from the Bronze Age, plus evidence of Iron Age occupation, and of an early medieval ring-fort, as “not a unique or unusual site but instead is quite common” (“Medieval settlement on Cosgrave lands ‘not unique’, Madigan says”, News, April 20th).
Such a site is anything but common. And it is not a renewable resource. When it is destroyed to make way for apartment blocks, it is gone forever. And destroyed it will be, since this State’s policy is not preservation in situ, but (something Orwell might have nightmared up) the absurdly named “preservation by record”, that is, destroy it, but claim you preserved it because an archaeologist filed a report.
The site itself, Beechpark, on Scholarstown Road in Knocklyon, Co Dublin, is in an area extraordinarily rich in historical and archaeological terms and it is heart-breaking to hear the Minister – our Minister for Heritage – speak of it as she did. How poignant to note that it was the former home of the late Liam Cosgrave TD, former taoiseach and leader of Fine Gael, Ms Madigan’s own party, a man who did care about this country’s history and this country’s heritage. – Yours, etc,TCD
Seán Duffy
Friends of Medieval
c/o Department of History,
Trinity College Dublin,
Dublin 2.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Bell Book and Candle

A shout out to Paul Deacy, owner of The Bell Book and Candle, a quirky little bookshop in the West End of Galway City with a great selection of Irish Interest books, including three of my titles.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Well House at St Bridget's Well, County Clare

The above picture was taken at the Well House at St Bridget's Well, County Clare, nor far from the Cliffs of Moher. Not seen in the picture is a stream running into the well outside. The statues are votive offering and the prayers for intersession left behind are quite touching. The site in general is quite moving.