Thursday Doors

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A red Thursday Door this week and a very unusual one, at that. It looks a bit like a stone Juliet balcony to me. This old building is part of a lovely traditional Irish bar and restaurant that has a sad history attached to it. It’s situated in the Gaeltacht area of County Waterford, where the Irish language is widely spoken in everyday conversation.

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An Seanachaí, which is the Irish word for a storyteller/historian, obtained its first licence in 1845, the first year of the Great Irish Famine. It was issued to John Ketts and the public house was originally established to provide food and drink for those digging  graves in a nearby field, which had been enclosed by a stone wall partly built by workhouse inmates. The Kett family were caretakers of the graveyard in the aftermath of the famine.dsc_0874.jpg

It’s thought there could be as many as three mass graves in the field. The corpses were brought by pony and trap from the town. At the height of the famine, a Mr Fitzgerald made this journey with his cart up to three times a day. Currently, it is not known how many were buried there but it is certainly in the hundreds, if not up to a thousand. The inmates of the workhouse were thought so little of by officialdom at the time, they only had a number and no names were recorded. Many unfortunate souls dug their own graves just days before they themselves were interred, buried without coffins or shrouds. A local story tells of a young baby who let out a loud cry just as she was about to be buried with a number of other famine victims. That child emigrated to America and lived into her 90’s.

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 This life-sized sculpture of a woman in mourning stands just inside the gated entrance.  It was created by Seán Creagh but unfortunately he passed away before it was completed. The decision was made to go ahead and erect the fiberglass structure that would have been used to create the mold for the final piece. Sadly, it’s beginning to show signs of damage as it’s not very weather-proof.

Thank you for stopping by and if you would like to view some more Thursday Doors, have a look at Norm’s blog and scroll down to the blue link at the end of his post.

 

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About Jean Reinhardt

Author of 'A Pocket Full of Shells' an Amazon International best seller, Jean writes young adult and historical fiction. She has been known to shed a tear over Little House on the Prairie.
This entry was posted in Historical buildings, History, Ireland, photo challenges, social issues, Thursday Doors, victorian ireland and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

50 Responses to Thursday Doors

  1. Dan Antion says:

    That is such a sad story Jean. Like others, I guess it is important to remember it and pass it on.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Jim says:

    what a sad place. nice post.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mrs. Muir says:

    There are so many books to read about the mass genocide known as “An Gorta Mor”. It is a shameful piece of British history. We need to know what was done, how they created the perfect storm that enabled the loss of one crop to cause the death of millions of human beings. As an Irish American, it was important to learn our history. I have cried many tears and for a while became bitter towards the British. But that is in the past, and we may forgive, as it will never be repeated. ♡

    Liked by 1 person

    • I understand how you feel, it’s very upsetting when one country is ruled by another to it’s detriment. It’s still happening today and will probably always be with us in some part of the world or another, at any given time. There has been a lot of hurt and injury done to the people of Britain and Ireland as a consequence of one country’s desire, in the past, to dominate another and it’s often those who just want to live their lives in peace, that pay the price. As you said, we can’t change the past, but we can change the way its legacy affects our future and forgiveness is a large part of that process.

      Like

  4. Prior-2001 says:

    I think we take for granted many things today – and realizing that there were famines is something that stirs up appreciation….
    and excellent red door –

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Prior-2001 says:

    and the sculpture is really nice too and I hope they weather proof it

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jesh stg says:

    The story of the famine and the mass graves really got to me. Incredibly sad. Do they know what the cause was of the famine? Failed crops, or war? Hope that this bar-restaurant has some kind of reminder of those who have died. At least they tried to install the statue:) Nice red door!.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are many who prefer to call it an Irish Genocide rather than an Irish Famine, because of the way it was handled by those in power at the time, resulting in a the great loss of life and mass emigration. When Ireland was a British colony things were different and the country had more control over its own affairs. In 1801 the Irish Parliament was abolished in the wake of a rebellion and Ireland became an integral part of a new United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Most of the land was owned by absentee landlords who hardly ever lived there and left the affairs of their estates in the hands of agents, many of whom were heartless and evicted starving families. It became more profitable to use the land to breed sheep and cattle than to grow crops, which meant less need for tenants and their labour. The Irish tenant had become dependent on potatoes as their main source of nutrition so the blight that struck the crops for about five consecutive years had a very tragic impact. The barley and other cereals they grew went towards payment of rent. These crops were mostly exported to Britain to feed the large population employed in industry there and even at the height of the famine, Irish crops and animals were still being sent across the water. Sometimes rents were even raised because of crop failure and once a family was evicted it was either the workhouse or emigration. It’s a sad history and Ireland’s population is a fraction of what it should be had there not been so many deaths and so much emigration.

      Like

      • jesh stg says:

        What a sad story and a black page in the history of Ireland as well as Britain. A good thing in the present time is that there are more opportunities to have atrocities addressed or at least publicized.
        Many thanks Jean for explaining this so well! Ever thought of teaching?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lol! I would shrivel up and die in front of a class full of students. Public speaking is something I avoid like the plague. 😮

          Liked by 1 person

          • jesh stg says:

            Hope I can be short, because I actually need to go to bed, since we’re gone by 8:15 am tomorrow (Sat).
            I wouldn’t categorize teaching as public speaking. Since you would choose or be chosen, you just talk to the students about your expertise. also, the most effective teaching is interactive, so they can ask questions, going on field trips, etc. Your words speak to me as passion – students don’t just want information – they remember when it “speaks” to them – Okay, I’ll go off my soapbox now:):) In short, your comment about the Irish famine have all the trappings of a history teacher:):

            Liked by 1 person

            • Hope you got that early start this morning. I can see what you mean about being passionate on a subject, and I do ‘light up’ when discussing certain topics. I guess I don’t like to be the center of attention when a larger group of people are involved. It’s why I get so stressed over book launches and have only done two. I know this is something I need to get to grips with and you’ve certainly given me food for thought. Have a lovely Saturday. 🙂

              Like

  7. What an unusual door. The background information you give is overwhelmingly sad. Those must have been terrible times. An eerie place to visit, I suppose, and to think that famine still exists in the world…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. joey says:

    Interesting door, lovely gate, beautiful, sad sculpture — Perhaps they should build her a surround.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. facetfully says:

    Nice photos and sad story! Good that you posted. We must never forget!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. dimlamp says:

    Sounds like it was divine providence at work for those who discovered the child who went on to immigrate and live into her 90s.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. pommepal says:

    Such a sad and tragic part of Irish history Jean and one you have given us an insight too. Of course Australia did benefit from the many Irish people that came over here for a new life. I love the vibrant red door.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Interesting little red door and amazing history lesson. The Irish have survived a lot. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  13. jlfatgcs says:

    Wonderful post. I love how you begin the story with the red door. -Jennie-

    Like

  14. Lovely door, tragic story.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  15. agenda19892010 says:

    jean : great post ! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

    ciao
    ~R.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Norm 2.0 says:

    A lovely red door and such a sad piece of history. I hope they find a way to preserve that statue. Wonderful post Jean.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. restlessjo says:

    The sculptures steal the show in this post, Jean. Aren’t they powerful? 🙂 Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Ali Isaac says:

    Terrible sad times for Ireland.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. joannesisco says:

    The mourning woman is an appropriate statue for the field and it’s very sad history.

    Liked by 1 person

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