Thursday Doors

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Back in Cork city for this week’s Thursday Doors and not a cell in sight. I think I’ve spent enough time photographing prisons over the past few weeks so let’s have a look at an old building of a completely different nature. The barrels stacked outside should give you a clue as to what sort of business takes place inside that old doorway.

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Yes indeed, it’s a pub. By my posts over the last few months it might appear that whenever I’m not incarcerated, I’m intoxicated. The truth is, whenever we go to a pub it’s usually for lunch and it’s always in a place with a bit of character and history attached – not too difficult to find in any Irish town. The Welcome Inn on Parnell Street has been in business for over 170 years, since 1845, and is one of the oldest traditional bars in Cork city. They don’t serve food but have live music sessions four evenings a week and they even let you pull your own pint if you’d like to have a go (after a quick lesson from the bar tender).

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Sometimes what’s above the door is just as interesting or decorative, as you can see from the photograph below.

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The Murphy’s sign depicts Prussian born strongman, Eugene Sandow (1867-1925), raising a fully grown horse overhead with just one hand. It was part of his main act and the brewery used this image in their advertising in the early decades of the 20th century – because ‘Murphy’s Stout Makes You Strong’ of course.

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Here’s a video from one of the music sessions that take place at The Welcome Inn. I thought Manfred Mann’s song ‘The Mighty Quinn’ a good one to end the post with.

I’m delighted you stopped by this week and if you’d like to sample  another ‘doorscursion’ there’s a great selection of Thursday Doors over on Norm’s blog. You can even add some of your own.

Posted in History, Ireland, Music, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel | Tagged , , , , , | 24 Comments

Thursday Doors

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An unusual Thursday Door kicks off this week’s post, one I hadn’t come across before. It’s an oven door that’s part of an oil cooker, one of the exhibits on the fourth floor of the Clock Gate Tower Museum in Youghal. On each of the four levels the story of the tower is told in stages, from when it was first used for storage, then as a garrison, a prison and lastly a home to the McGrath family, who still live in the town today, though not in the Tower.

John McGrath, who was born in the Clock Tower in 1939, and Pat Lynch, curator of Fox’s Lane Museum, joined forces to help recreate the fourth floor of the tower as an early to mid twentieth century kitchen/parlour.

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The family had lovely views of the main street, as you can see from the fourth floor window. Behind the curtain, the steps lead up to the bell but this is not open to the public at present. In the video at the end of the post you can see for yourself the fabulous view afforded to anyone who goes beyond that curtain.

A perspex model of the Clock Tower allows you to see what use the McGrath family made of each floor. If you’re thinking we were very technically advanced in Ireland to have flat screen colour tvs in the 1950’s – we didn’t. We watched a video to finish off the tour, and in it John tells us what it was like living in such a remarkable old building. His family slept in the cells, which had been made into bedrooms and on another floor his mother used a room to dry her laundry. They also preserved fish, which you can just about see strung across the third floor of the model. Did you notice that box underneath the tv screen?

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Believe it or not, it’s a home-made slow cooker, filled with sawdust and heated from underneath. The sawdust needed to be packed tight so it wouldn’t combust. I think I’ll stick with my electric one – it takes up less room and not so likely to burn the house down.

If you would like to hear what it was like to live in what used to be an old jail, John revisits the Clock Tower during its reconstruction in the short video below.

Thank you for stopping by and if you’d like to have a look at a selection of international Thursday Doors posts, hop on over to Norm’s blog – you’ll be spoiled for choice.

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Thursday Doors

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If you thought this week’s Thursday Doors was taking a ‘break’ from jail, you’d be half right. In my local town of Youghal the Clock Gate Tower has recently been refurbished and opened as a museum. It is the newest addition on Ireland’s Ancient East tourist trail. The tour gave me a better understanding of the past 600 years in the history of Youghal and the impact the Clock Gate Tower has had on the lives of so many of its people. With four floors that take you through more than 400 years of history, there is a lot more to this old building than meets the eye. Our tour guide, Dorothy, did a fantastic job of bringing each era of its history to life – believe me, it’s been there a long time. I don’t know how she was able to remember everything and answer any question asked of her, too.
The Clock Gate was built in 1777 on the site of the old Iron Gate also known as Trinity Gate, In 1563, a merchant by the name of Melchior Bluet, leased the building, probably as a residence and storehouse. This was replaced in 1620 with a more modern building which included an imposing and distinctive clock but by the mid to late 18th century, Trinity Gate was in a dilapidated condition, and in 1773 the Corporation decided to knock down the building but held onto the clock and bell. It was replaced with one that had sufficient room for a jail and jailer’s house. The cost of its construction at the time amounted to £2,000, which would be equivalent to £233,100.00 in 2016. Although it was built as a prison it has been put to many uses over its lifetime. From about 1840 it was no longer used as a jail but continued to tell the time to the people of Youghal right up to the present day.

The interior of the Clock Tower is just as interesting as the exterior and on the first floor we learned about the history of the town as a busy seaport, exporting goods such as wool, barley and corn, with olives and wine being some of the items that were imported.

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 In the early 1600’s Youghal was elevated to the rank of staple town. In historical terms, this meant that it was an elite market for major exports from Ireland and received the exclusive rights to carry on a wool trade with important commercial towns in England, such as Bristol and Liverpool. During the 17th century Youghal was one of Ireland’s main ports, far more important than Cork Harbour, which was described at the time as, ‘a port near Youghal.’
When we climbed to the second floor the story became much more sombre, as the history of the Clock Gate as a jail and public gallows unfolded. I know you can see a modern form of heating in the above photograph but I can assure you there was no such heat in the two cells that were originally on this floor – one for Protestants and the other for Catholics. Women were incarcerated in the same cell with men and baskets were lowered to the street below so that food could be placed inside and hoisted back up to the windows, which were barred but not glazed. It’s pretty high up there, so I can only imagine how drafty and cold it must have been.
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This would have been a typical bed but there would only have been room for about five or six at most in each of the two cells. Sometimes up to twenty people were incarcerated in a cell with only a bucket for a toilet and no privacy.

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During the Irish rebellion of 1798, three sympathizers were hanged from the tower, their bodies dangling as a warning to others. Thomas Gallagher was one of those hanged for an attempt at influencing a soldier to betray his allegiance to his regiment. Over two hundred years ago, inspired by the ideals and successes of the French and American Revolutions, the Irish rose up in revolt but were poorly equipped with only pitchforks, pikes, and a handful of firearms (seen in the image above). With these meagre weapons they confronted the well-organised might of the British Empire in an epic struggle which ultimately failed, but left a lasting impression on later generations.
The third floor of the tower is all about the clock. You can see from the photograph of the diagram how it has been incorporated into the structure of the building. It was fascinating to learn that time has been told from the same site since the 1600’s. There are only three clock faces on the cupola on top because a fourth one would have been facing the rear of the town, which at the time was a sparsely inhabited steep incline.
The ceiling in this room is decorated with a selection of cogs and the bell displayed in the poster on the wall is the original, still in use today. Unfortunately, we were not allowed outside to have a closer look but that may be an option in the future. As it is located above the fourth floor, I was happy enough to see an image of it (I’m not great with heights).
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The fourth floor was my favourite and I took lots of photographs of all the interesting items on display there, but I’ll leave that one till next week’s post. In the meantime, here’s something to test your powers of observation. Do you see anything odd about the clock face above? I’m sure someone will spot it, although none of us on the tour did, when asked. If not, I’ll explain it all in next week’s post. Until then, here’s a short video that will give you a great bird’s eye view of the Clock Tower and the surrounding beach and countryside. Youghal is a friendly seaside town that is steeped in history and if you get a chance to visit you will have plenty to keep you occupied, whatever the weather.

Thanks for joining me on the Clock Gate tour and if you’d like to sample some Thursday Doors from around the globe, check out Norm’s blog.

Posted in Historical buildings, History, Ireland, Thursday Doors, Travel, videos | Tagged , , , , , , | 48 Comments

Thursday Doors

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This week sees the last of my Thursday Doors tour of Cork City Gaol. I don’t think the above doorway, set in the high walls surrounding the prison, would be too easy to get through, a bit like my post this week. By the time you get to the end of it, you will have read about an inventive Italian with an Irish side to his family that were dab hands at distilling whiskey and viewed a video about a young man whose life was most likely saved because of alcohol.

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So to begin with, there is a very interesting exhibition on the top floor of Cork City Gaol that includes a radio museum. We have a couple of old radios in our family that we inherited from grandparents, so it was very nice to see such a varied collection in one place. Do any of them look familiar to you?

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Why am I including a photograph of a former American President in my post? In front of this life-sized image in one of the rooms at the radio museum stands the very microphone that John F. Kennedy used when he gave a speech on his visit to Cork in 1963 and nobody has spoken into it since.

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After its closure in 1924, Cork city gaol became home to a radio station from 1927 until the 1950’s. In the museum you can learn about the history of communication, from the Pony Express to Marconi’s conquest of the airwaves.

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Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937)

Marconi was a pioneer of radio communication and he invented the first practical system of wireless telegraphy. He was born in Bologna on 25th April 1874 to Giuseppe Marconi and his Irish wife Annie Jameson. Does her maiden name ring a bell? Her grandfather was John Jameson, founder of the whiskey distillery, Jameson & Sons, in Dublin in the 1780s. Andrew, Annie’s father was also capable of whipping up a batch or two of uisce beatha, the Irish word for whiskey, which translates as water of life. Following in his father’s footsteps, he founded a distillery in Ennicorthy, Co. Wexford, and settled there with his wife Margaret Millar. They lived in Daphne Castle, just outside the town of Wexford.

Guglielmo Marconi also married an Irish woman, the Hon. Beatrice O’Brien daughter of the 14th Baron Inchiquin and High Sheriff of county Clare. She lived to the ripe old age of 94 (it must have been all that water of life). She grew up in Clare but moved to London and it was there that she met Marconi who immediately broke off his engagement to an American woman to pursue her. Beatrice wasn’t too happy with the publicity he drew as a celebrity and initially declined his proposal of marriage but he eventually won her over. Unfortunately, the marriage was annulled and they both eventually married other people – but that’s another story.

Ballycastle in Co. Antrim was the site of the world’s first commercial wireless telegraph transmission on 6th July 1898. In the early 1900’s Marconi’s company began a regular transatlantic radio-telegraph service between Clifden, County Galway and Glace Bay in Nova Scotia, Canada. Marconi was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909 and died in 1937 aged 63 following a series of heart attacks. His grandfather’s whiskey is still as popular as ever today and is produced in Midleton, County Cork as well as in Dublin.

Speaking of whiskey, I’ll leave you with a great little video that tells the story of that young man I mentioned at the start of my post. Uisce Beatha is a multi award-winning short film, based on a true story, Directed by Shaun O’Connor.

Thank you for stopping by and if you would like to see more Thursday Doors, pay a visit to Norm’s blog, where you’ll find a selection of doors from all parts of the globe.

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Thursday Doors

This week’s Thursday Doors tour of Cork City Gaol features some interesting characters, such as these two warders playing cards while they are off-duty. In those days a warder, along with his wife and children, would have all lived in this one room. It might have been okay as a bedsit but it was certainly a tight squeeze for a family.

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I bumped into the prison doctor as I left the West Wing but he didn’t have time to stop for a chat. He was on his way to attend a sick prisoner. One of the warders was escorting him.

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Doctor Beamish spent many years tending sick prisoners in the city gaol. By all accounts, he was underpaid and overworked, treating everything from minor infections and fevers to small pox, typhus and even malaria at one time. An outbreak involving almost 1,000 cases occurred in Cork in the mid 1800’s. It was believed that infected soldiers brought it back when they returned from the Crimean War and it was transmitted by local mosquito populations.

One famous person to have been incarcerated in Cork Gaol was Countess Constance Markievicz, known as the ‘Rebel Countess’ here in Ireland.

 

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She was passionate about equality and women’s rights and was dismayed at the great disparity between rich and poor in Irish society. This was in spite of her being born into a family of landed gentry and having lived a privileged life on their extensive estate, ‘Lissadell’ in Sligo. The Countess set up food kitchens for the poor, assisted in their education and rescued children from the slums in which so many lived. She went to great lengths to ensure those children had clean clothes and food on their plates every day.

Constance also supported Jim Larkin in the Labour movement against the exploitation of workers. When James Connolly founded the Irish Citizens Army to defend workers against police brutality Constance was among the first of his supporters. She later became an officer in the Irish Citizens Army.

During the Easter Rising of 1916, the Countess was second in command under Michael Mallin and proved fearless under fire, fighting alongside the men. After their defeat, Constance Markievicz marched at the head of her company. She was tried for treason to the Crown and sentenced to death. However, this was commuted because she was a woman and she resented being discriminated against because of her sex. All of the other male leaders of the rising were executed, except for Eamon deValera, who was spared because he was an American citizen. Over the next seven years the Countess was incarcerated for various lengths of time in quite a few prisons in the UK and Ireland, one of which was Cork City Gaol.

It was during her stay in Holloway that Constance Markievicz became a Sinn Féin candidate and the first woman ever to be elected to British parliament. She refused to take her seat, as was the party policy at the time. After her release in 1919 she became a member of the first Dáil Éireann as minister for Labour.

The Rebel Countess died at the age of 59 on 15th July 1927, of complications related to appendicitis. She had given away the last of her wealth and died among the poor in a public ward of a Dublin hospital.

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Last week I posted this photo of a prisoner’s clothes outside his cell door. The reason they were there was because he had been caught trying to escape. When a prisoner did this, all of his clothes were taken from him at night to prevent any more attempts at absconding. The thinking was that he would not be so quick to do so if he was stark naked. Pretty chilly punishment at any time of year in an Irish prison.

I’ll be posting the last of the photos from Cork City Gaol in next week’s Thursday Doors. Thanks for stopping by and if you take a trip over to Norm’s blog you’ll find a great selection of international doors waiting for you.

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Comeragh Mountains

Enjoy a hike in the beautiful Comeragh Mountains with Inese.

Making memories

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Today we will do a bit of hill walking as most of us have consumed those extra calories between the Christmas and New Year day 😉 Comeragh Mountains is a good place to start since you have already seen them from the top of beautiful Slievenamon. Here she is, my favorite mountain, as seen from the ascent to the Long Hill of the Comeraghs. First of all we will find the source of peculiar clouds that look so nice in the photographs, so let’s walk towards Slievenamon and have a closer look.

slievenamonBulmers! Or Magners, as the product is called outside of Ireland. Famous Irish Cider brewery is situated right next to Slievenamon. It also produces clouds 😦 Just look at the next image.

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It is not always that bad though, but some days are worse than the others.

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Dramatic clouds enhance your photographs, but is this steam emission harmless? I don’t know.

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The…

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Thursday Doors

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Governor John Barry Murphy

Continuing the tour of inside Cork City Gaol this week makes for a very sombre Thursday Doors post. However, the first room we ventured into wasn’t too daunting – it even had the warm glow of a fire and a kindly looking governor seated at his desk. Queen Victoria herself kept a watchful eye over him from her position over the mantelpiece.

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John Barry Murphy was governor between 1856 and 1873 and was considered to be a humane and just man, liked by all the prisoners. He abolished the silence laws when it was found that many prisoners were going insane because of it and ending up in the city asylum. He was the first Catholic governor to get the job at a time when the British government appointed Irish Catholics to important positions as an act of appeasement. The governor’s salary in those days was £250 a year (equivalent to £27,000 today) plus house and fuel.

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On arrival, all prisoners were deloused and then brought to the governor’s office. The first inmate we encountered was Mary Sullivan. She was a seamstress by trade but had a habit of stealing the cloth she worked on. In 1865 she received a seven year sentence for her eighth conviction of theft.

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In one of the cells we found Mary McDonnell fast asleep. She was lying on a canvass mattress which had replaced the less healthy straw ones used before 1860. This woman had been imprisoned for neglecting her children, beating one of them and being drunk and accosting a gentleman. Her unfortunate children were taken to the workhouse in Cork while their mother served her sentence of one month with hard labour.

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If you think the person being flogged is a young man you’d be wrong. It’s a nine year old boy, who had seven previous convictions for petty theft.

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This was the saddest story for me. Edward O’Brien was a child prisoner and a well known pickpocket. On this occasion he had been sentenced to three weeks in prison with whippings twice weekly. After serving his time in Cork City Gaol, Edward was sent to a reformatory school for five years.

Some of those incarcerated were extremely young, like Mary-Ann Twohig’s infant son.

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Sixteen year old Mary-Ann was heavily pregnant and stole a cloth cap and kitchen utensils, intent on pawning them for some badly needed cash. She was arrested but sentenced to only two months imprisonment, without hard labour, because of her advanced pregnancy. Her baby was born in the prison hospital and Mary-Ann, along with her son, was returned to her cell just two days later. Speaking of babies, what is one of the main concerns with a newborn? Their weight gain – which reminds me of last week’s question about the strange looking chair.

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This is a replica of the weighing scales that was used to record the inmates’ weight, which was checked periodically to ensure that they were receiving their full ration of food. A prisoner would sit in the chair while weights were added to the back. Once the two sides were level, the weight would be recorded.

Part three of this tour will be continued next week but in the meantime, I’ll leave you with another photograph to ponder over.

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Why do you think this prisoner’s clothes have been left outside his cell door?

If you head on over to Norm’s blog you’ll find some interesting Thursday Doors.

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Thursday Doors

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On a dull, grey January afternoon where better to find some inspiration for Thursday Doors than from a prison? Cork City Gaol, to be exact. These shots are of the outside of what is now a museum and heritage centre. Next week I’ll post the ones I took of the inside. There were so many interesting exhibits (the building also houses a radio museum) that it will take three posts to cover everything.

Cork City Gaol opened in 1824, replacing the old prison at Northgate Bridge,  which was overcrowded and unhygienic. Sir Thomas Deane won the contract to design and build the castle-like structure. He was also involved in the design of the original buildings for University College Cork. The reason the site at Sunday’s Well at the edge of the City was chosen for the new prison was because it’s on a hill and would allow plenty of fresh air to circulate, in the hopes of lessening, or at least containing, the bouts of ‘gaol fever’ that was the bane of the old prison.

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Model of Cork City Gaol

This model of the prison gives you a good idea of the layout. The smaller building standing apart represents the Debtor’s Gaol, where the wealthy who had fallen on hard times were incarcerated when unable to pay their debts. There was definitely a big difference between the living conditions in the two prisons. Those in Debtor’s Gaol wore their own clothes, used their own furniture and had their food delivered to them – none of that prison gruel for them. If they could talk a family member into swapping places with them, they could even arrange to have a day off. I presume they didn’t head into the city for a bit of retail therapy, them being short of cash at the time, but there would have been some lovely walks in nearby parks to give them a change of scenery.

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Before I go, I’ll leave you with this unusual piece of furniture that stands just inside the entrance to the main prison. Can you guess what it was for? All will be revealed next week. In the meantime, have a look at Norm’s blog to see a selection of Thursday Doors from various parts of the globe and thanks for stopping by – I hope I didn’t detain you for too long. 😉

 

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Thursday Doors

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On a recent trip to see my parents I paid a visit to the old graveyard in Haggardstown, County Louth, where many of my ancestors were laid to rest. The ruins of an old church stand in the center of the cemetery, along with seven yew trees. Although seldom used now for burials, the graves and grounds are kept in very good condition and it has won many prizes because of this.

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This is a great place to get some nice atmospheric shots.

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I’ll be busy catching up with family over the next week so this is my last Thursday Doors for this year. In case you’re wondering if there’s going to be an actual door in this post, here’s one I made earlier. No prizes for guessing my favourite door colour. I hope you all have a good end to 2016 and I wish you the very best for next year. Stay safe and warm (or cool, if you’re in a hot climate). See you in 2017. 🙂

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Thanks for stopping by. More Thursday Door posts can be found on Norm’s blog. Enjoy.

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Thursday Doors

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Thursday Doors hails from Scotland this week. These photographs are from a trip I made to Edinburgh a few years ago, to visit family who live there. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to explore Edinburgh Castle but it’s the first place on my list next time and I’ll be sure to take lots of photos. I love the architecture of Edinburgh, both historical and modern.

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Although there is plenty to see in the city, it’s well worth taking the time to explore the surrounding countryside. The town of Linlithgow is twenty minutes by train from Edinburgh city and situated close by the ruins of a royal palace, set in its own park beside Linlithgow Loch. A royal manor existed on the site in the 12th century but this was replaced with a fortification in the 14th century by England’s King Edward l.

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The palace was a favourite residence of the Stewart kings and queens from James I (1406-37) onward. Both James V (1512) and Mary Queen of Scots (1542) were born there. Although maintained after Scotland’s monarchs left for England in 1603, it wasn’t used very much and was destroyed by fire in 1746, by the Duke of Cumberland’s army. Thankfully, what’s left of the palace has been kept in a good state of preservation since the early 19th century.

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There’s lots of fun to be had in the grounds of the palace, both in and out of the water.

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That goes for the wildlife, too.

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There are lots more Thursday Doors and interesting places to visit over at Norm’s blog.

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