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.
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.
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.
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.