Thursday Doors – Castle Archdale Part One

Castle Archdale in County Fermanagh features in this week’s Thursday Doors blogpost.

These terraced buildings would have housed the servants’ quarters, the stables, carriage stores and estate offices and have been very well preserved. Let’s have a look around this inner courtyard.

The murals painted on the windows and doors depict some of the servants you would tend to find in places such as this. The little chimney sweep is my favourite, someone who would have gone completely unnoticed in his day. He looks so out of place beside the little girl and the well dressed servants but reminds us of how hard life was for some children back then.

One of the entrances to the courtyard contains a patch of wall that has been left bare, exposing the original stone, which I thought was a nice touch.

Here we came across some drawings of how the estate appeared through the ages. Although the original castle has long since gone, this is an image of how it looked in its day.

The original Castle Archdale was built of limestone for John Archdale of Norfolk, England, in 1612. He had been given lands during the Plantation of Ulster but the castle was destroyed by fire and abandoned in 1689 during the Jacobite-Williamite war. The site of the old castle is about a mile from where the the present buildings and courtyard stand.

Georgian Castle Archdale was built between 1773 and 1777 by Col. Mervyn Archdale, the great great grandson of John Archdale. The next image shows how it looked in the Victorian era when it was in the hands of Edward Archdale, great grandson of Mervyn.

Unfortunately, the grand manor house no longer exists but here it is in an old photograph from the 1920’s.

During WW2 Castle Archdale was requisitioned by the Royal Airforce and housed up to 2,500 people. It was a major base for flying boats protecting Atlantic shipping from German U-boats. There were three floors over a basement and a six-bay entrance front. The manor house was known as RAF Castle Archdale from 1941-1957 but was in ruins by 1959 and finally demolished in 1970.

Thanks for stopping by for this week’s Thursday Doors from Castle Archdale, part two will cover more of the surrounding estate and it’s amenities but in the meantime why not carry on over to Norm’s blog to see his colourful post.

Posted in Blogging, castles and ruins, Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 32 Comments

Thursday Doors – Walls

If you’ve been following my Thursday Doors posts you probably know how much I love old walls. This first one is in my home town of Belturbet, on Castle Lane which leads down to the river bank.

A couple of hundred years ago this area was a quarry. Maybe the stone to build the wall came from this site. Later it became the castle gardens, according to old maps of the town. There is a sealed up door and some windows in this wall but I’m not sure how old they are.

On another bank of the river there are some walls belonging to the old military barracks, which are now part of the park down by the marina.

During the lockdown we were still able to walk around the town, as it was within our two kilometre restriction, and we really appreciated what was on our doorstep. Thankfully the weather was sunny and dry, which made our garden projects very enjoyable. Mine included building a wall from the very old handmade bricks that came from the interior walls of the house we are still renovating.

Thanks to the good weather, it wasn’t long until it looked like this …….

And then this …..

We had a bumper crop from those beautiful beans, some of which are in the freezer now. There are a few late ones still to pick and the bees loved their beautiful red flowers. You can see the pollen stuck all over this one.

Mr. R.’s project was more in keeping with Thursday Doors. Can you guess where the door is?

He built an extension to our shed, using the old slates that came off our roof. Yep, we are known for not throwing stuff away, which is why we needed the extra storage, lol.

Thanks so much for stopping by for this week’s Thursday Doors post, or should I say ‘walls’?

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Thursday Doors – Cabin

A friend of mine spent a month in a beautiful cabin in the woods near where I live, so naturally I had to take some photos for Thursday Doors. It’s set in a small complex of wooden chalets on the banks of the Erne river in county Cavan.

I found it so relaxing, surrounded by all those trees. Just a short stroll from the cabin brought us to an even more tranquil place – the river.

As it was off season not many people were about, except for those who live there all year round. There are lots of great holiday rentals like this in the Belturbet area in Ireland’s Hidden Heartland, if you are planning a getaway or a tour of the midland area.

Posted in Blogging, Cavan, Ireland, nature, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

Thursday Doors – Random

Just a few random photos from Dundalk and Monaghan for this week’s Thursday Doors post.

Sometimes the back is as interesting as the front.

Always look through an archway. You never know what you’ll find.

So many things are fake nowadays, so why not windows and doors?

As always, thanks for stopping by and viewing this week’s Thursday Doors.

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Thursday Doors – Boats on the River Erne.

Boats have doors so for this week’s Thursday Doors post we’ll be looking at some of the many types of boats you can see on the River Erne. This first image was snapped at the marina on one of my regular walks around Belturbet, County Cavan. It’s so nice to see all the activity taking place once again on the water, now that the strict lockdown has been lifted.

On a recent quick trip to Enniskillen, County Fermanagh, which also sits on the Erne, I saw this beautiful barge. It looks a bit like the one in the first image but they are very different in design. Some of my family rented a holiday home a few miles outside Belturbet and I managed to get some nice shots there, just before the sun went down.

The River Erne is the second longest river in Ulster. It rises 214 feet above sea level in Lough Gowna on the Cavan/Longford border and flows through Counties Cavan, Fermanagh and Donegal before reaching the coast and the Atlantic. Cavan county reputedly has 365 lakes and the Erne river is said to have an island for each day of the year. It connects with Ireland’s longest river, the Shannon, so you can see why boats are so popular. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my Thursday Doors post this week. I’ll leave you with this short account of some of the history and legends surrounding the many islands of the Erne.

Posted in Blogging, boats, Cavan, Ireland, nature, photography, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 21 Comments

Thursday Doors – Seek Arts Festival Continued

Dorothy Macardle by artist Claire Prouvost

Continuing on Thursday Doors with the Seek Arts Festival in Dundalk, here’s some photos my sister sent me of the progress so far. I’m amazed at how much work these artists managed to get done in such a short time while coping with some very wet days.

Industrial Railway Heritage by artist Chula Mente

The next few images will show some of the artists at work and just how large their murals are compared to their own height.

Tom ‘Sailor’ Sharkey by artist Aches
Bridgid of Faughart by artist Friz
Paul Kavanagh by artist Omin

I’ll finish off with a random piece of street art from around the town as this one contains a door (or two) as well as a lovely stone wall. Once again, a big thank you to my sister Anne for the photos.

I’m delighted you could join me for another week of street art from the Seek Festival in Dundalk and for some amazing Thursday Doors from around the globe, why not carry on over to Norm’s blog.

Posted in Art, Blogging, Ireland, photography, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Thursday Doors – Seek Arts Festival Dundalk

Thursday Doors this week features Seek, a contemporary urban arts festival. It began in 2019 to promote visual art in Dundalk and takes place over a five year period, commissioning established and emerging artists, locally, nationally and from abroad, to help promote the town culturally and artistically. If you can get to it this week, it’s running from August 1st – 8th. I was on a family visit for a few days and my sister booked us on the guided street tour, which runs each day of the festival. This first image is the work of Claire Prouvost (France) one of the five artists whose work we can follow as the days go on. Because of travel restrictions some invited artists could not participate. Hopefully, that will not be the case next year.

We went back next day to have a look at her progress. All the artists have done very well in spite of our wet summer. Claire was given the theme of local writer, Dorothy Macardle (1889–1958). She was a journalist and political activist throughout her life, writing many short stories and plays.

The theme Brigid of Faughart, who is an Irish saint, was given to a Northern Ireland based artist, Friz. Her work largely revolves around the female form and our connection to the natural world around us. Brigid is said to have been born to a Pagan Irish chieftain and his Christian wife in Faughart, near Dundalk in 450 AD. Her father named his daughter after the Celtic goddess of fire, who is also linked to poetry, healing, childbirth, and unity. My sister took a shot of Friz’s work a couple of days later and you can already see how much detail there is in it.

The work of the next artist is Omin (Ireland) who is well established on the national and international street art scene with twenty years of artwork to his credit. He was given the theme of local photographer, Paul Kavanagh (1929-2012), whose work is displayed in the Dundalk Museum. Some of his best known photographs depict the poverty of 1960s Ireland.

You would be mistaken if you think the foundation of this piece doesn’t make any sense. It does to the artist using this system. When you see the next image, taken a couple of days later, you’ll be amazed. There are elephants, people and of course, a camera in the hands of Paul Kavanagh.

The next artist is Chula Mente (Spain). Her theme was Industrial Railway Heritage. The original station in Dundalk opened on 15th February 1849 as Dundalk Junction (being located at the Junction of the Dublin-Belfast line and the Dundalk and Enniskillen line). The current Dundalk Station opened in June 1894. It was given the name Clarke Station in 1966 in commemoration of Tom Clarke, one of the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising. My grandfather was involved in building and repairing the railway carriages back in the early nineteen hundreds.

They only have a week to complete their projects and the weather has not always been kind to them.

I’ve saved this last one to end my post on as the subject is connected to my family tree.

The artist Aches (Ireland) has been commissioned to portray Dundalk born Hall of Fame boxer, Thomas “Sailor Tom” Sharkey (1871-1953). He fought two fights with heavyweight champion James J. Jeffries in a ring career which spanned from 1893 to 1904. He is credited with having won 40 fights (with 37 knockouts), 7 losses, and 5 draws. From what my family has researched, Tom Sharkey appears to be a distant cousin of our great-grandfather, Patrick Sharkey. My sister and I went back next day to see the progress made by Aches.

As this is a Thursday Doors post I can’t end it without including a door, can I? Here’s last years contribution by Aches to the Seek arts festival in Dundalk, which includes a door.

Check out the Seek website for more photos and info. Many thanks to Martin McElligott, Photographer and Dundalk Town Centre Commercial Manager, for a hugely informative and interesting guided tour and to my sister Anne for booking the tickets and bringing me along. There are lots more Thursday Doors to see over on Norm’s blog.

Posted in Art, Blogging, History, Ireland, photography, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel, writers | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Thursday Doors – Rosepark Farm

Welcome to another Thursday Doors post, this time from Rosepark Farm in Antrim. From the first few photos you’ll see where such a beautiful name came from.

I walked that rose lined path at a snail’s pace, taking in the wonderful scent around me. It was possibly the slowest walk I’ve ever done and I enjoyed every second of it. But it wasn’t all a bed of roses. The giant’s chair we came to was so high, I had to be helped up onto it.

But where did the owner of the chair go? The footsteps left behind gave me a clue and I just had to follow them.

I really liked where they led me. After all, I was on a seventy acre farm and knew there would be animals somewhere but I wasn’t prepared for the variety I would come across.

This lovely red deer came right up to the fence and let me scratch his forehead. I have never been this close to any kind of deer before.

The llama was a bit more stand-offish while watching me out of the corner of his/her eye. I wasn’t too disappointed that I didn’t get close enough to give this fine creature a scratch. They spit, don’t they? However, in the mothers and babies section there were some friendly little attention seekers looking for a good scratch.

Some of the residents were happy to ignore us, like the swans, geese and eagle owls.

We went from giant sized footprints to tiny houses and doors. There is certainly a lot to see and do at Rosepark Farm between animals, plants, bouncy castles, ziplines and even a lagoon with a beach.*

The Enchanted Wood was planted in the year 2000 with various hardwood trees such as oak, silver birch, ash, maple, beech, mountain ash, wild cherry and birch. I was surprised to come across a tiny boat that looked as if its crew had abandoned it.

But when I peeked through one of the portholes a scary pirate was looking back at me.

Unfortunately, Bobo was in the same position when we passed by his house on the way back to the car so we never got to give him that belly rub. Maybe next time. Thanks so much for joining me on this week’s Thursday Doors at Rosepark Farm, Norm has lots to see over on his blog, too.

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Thursday Doors – Castle Saunderson Again

This week’s Thursday Doors finds me back at Castle Saunderson again. It’s a great place for foraging and I wanted to get some meadowsweet to make a cordial. I couldn’t resist photographing the castle from a couple of new angles while I was there.

Let’s have a closer look at some windows. I can see shutters in one and the remains of an old ceiling in the other.

The arches in the center of this old wall seem to be on top of each other. Maybe a large one was made smaller for some reason. There’s a lot going on in this section of the boundary wall, between the bricks and stones. The walk back to the car was lovely, as always.

Hopefully I’ll find some edible mushrooms later in the year on one of my walks here. Thanks for stopping by and if you’d like to see some Thursday Doors from around the globe, have a look at Norm’s blog.

Posted in Blogging, castles and ruins, Cavan, Historical buildings, nature, photography, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , | 23 Comments

Thursday Doors – Cottage, Cows and Cromwell

Just one little cottage for this week’s Thursday Doors, neglected but still standing. It’s on a laneway leading down to the river in Belturbet, County Cavan.

Although the red door caught my eye at first, I soon realized there was a lot more going on with this little building. There is a huge difference in size between the two front windows which is very unusual in a traditional Irish cottage. However, the larger window looks like it might have been extended at some point in time.

Those bars in the narrower window make me think it was used for storage.

There’s a pile of bricks and rocks behind those bars and what looks like a wooden shutter or piece of furniture on the inside of that window. Definitely well secured. I’ve looked on the historic maps of the town and there is what might be a shed on the one dated 1829-1841 on what is now called Castle Lane. It’s directly across from the Methodist Meeting House. At the end of that lane on the river bank is a quarry. Fast forward to the 1897-1913 map and the quarry has become the castle gardens. The Methodist Meeting House, a simple structure on the older map, has become a Methodist church and the cottage has been extended. Today, the church is a private residence but still retains its original outward appearance and is a lovely, well maintained old building that deserves a blogpost of its own.

I stopped for a chat with a couple of cows on my walk through the town. When I told them I was going to include some local history on my blog post this week they suggested I look up Cromwell. Clever cows, I took their advice and it made for some interesting reading. Belturbet was part of the Plantation of Ulster in the early seventeenth century, under the rule of King James 1. It was an organized colonization in which lands were given to people mostly from southern Scotland (Presbytarian) and northern England (Church of England). Ulster was the most resistant of Ireland’s provinces to English rule so it felt the full force of the Plantation. This eventually led to conflict between the native Irish (Catholic) and the colonists.

 There were different groups involved in the Ulster plantation.

  1. Undertakers: their estates were usually 1,000 acres. Their annual rent rates were very low, about £5.33. All the undertakers’ estates were close to each other. For protection, undertakers promised to build a strong court or stone house, depending on the size of their holdings, with a strong court or bawn (stone wall) around it. They undertook to have only English or Scottish tenants all within three years.
  2. Servitors: they were called servitors as they had given service to the crown as officials or soldiers in the Nine Years’ War. These were the largest group of planters. They were allowed to have some Irish tenants if they maintained strict control over them. Servitors had to pay an annual rent of £8.
  3. Native Irish: This group of settlers were the native Irish themselves who had remained loyal during the Nine Years’ War. They were located near servitors who pledged to keep an eye on them.*

The land around Belturbet was given to undertaker Stephen Butler, an Englishman. Belturbet soon became a thriving commercial centre, its prosperity mainly due to its location on the River Erne. On the 24th Oct 1641 Myles O’Reilly seized Belturbet for the Irish Confederation. The town remained under native control throughout the Irish Confederate Wars until 1652. Owen Roe O’Neill used it as a base for his northern Army. In 1649 he held a provisional council of the Northern Irish there. Soon after his death a council of the nobility and officers of the Ulster Irish was held in Belturbet. In 1652 the town surrendered to Cromwell’s army. Belturbet then reverted to the sons of Sir Stephen Butler, who had died in 1639.**

Cromwell had been in Ireland a mere nine months but his brutality left a lasting impression on the native Irish and “The curse of Cromwell on you” became an Irish oath. If you’d like to know about his exploits in those nine months you can read about them here.

Thanks so much for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed the bit of history this week. If you’d like to see more Thursday Doors, carry on over to Norm’s blog.

Source *

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Posted in Blogging, Cavan, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors | Tagged , , , , , | 22 Comments