Thursday Doors


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.Β 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 midΒ twentieth century kitchen/parlour.



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?


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.


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, Thursday Doors, videos and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to Thursday Doors

  1. I’ll be right back. I have to go pat my stove, washer and dryer…you get the idea. Makes me thankful for modern-day appliances, but the view is timeless. πŸ˜‰


    Liked by 3 people

  2. Joanne Sisco says:

    This was fascinating! It’s such a wonderful structure. How odd to live in a building with the traffic running underneath! Thanks for the great tour … I love visiting places where they have attempted to recreate living conditions from the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. sjhigbee says:

    Once more – a wonderful set of pics, which make me humbly grateful my modern kitchen appliances give me the leisure to spend time at my computer:)). Thank you, Jean!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Back in the ’80’s we moved into an old cottage with two small children and twins on the way. All I cared about was that I had a water supply and an electric socket for the washing machine (I didn’t have hot water for the first few months) We didn’t even have a flushing toilet, had to use a chemical one for a while. But the washing machine was the most important item in the house, especially as I was using cloth nappies, disposables were not that popular at the time and way too expensive. That washing machine was my best friend for years, Sarah. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • sjhigbee says:

        Oh my goodness! No wonder… I spent the first 6 months of married life handwashing everything before we could afford a washing machine, and when my own children were babies, I always said that if the washing machine broke, I’d leave home… Like you, I used terry nappies as the disposables were rubbish – far too leaky and as you say, prohibitively expensive. But I only had two children and they were in nappies at the same time for a short length of time. So I completely understand how much your washing machine must have mattered!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Great history and door! I always have loved the looks of old wood stoves, but wouldn’t want to use one. I’d like one that looks like an old wood stove but work like a new gas range. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dan Antion says:

    Wow, that’s some fun stuff, Jean. I love the crank sewing machine in one of the early photos. My wife has seen these but wonders how on earth you could sew on it (with one hand tied up). She uses a treadle machine, but both hands are free.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful. Goo common sense put everything to good use. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  7. jesh stg says:

    Oil cooker -is it similar to a deep fryer? And the home made slow cooker makes me think of what they call a hay box in Holland (it’s like a slow cooker where the pot is surrounded by hay.
    Actually, living now on the country side makes me think more of how to heat things if the electricity goes off (which has happened the last two weeks already two times!) Interesting post, Jean!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s more like a gas cooker, Jesh. Instead of gas being fed through pipes to the oven and ring it was oil, maybe paraffin (I should have asked). I don’t think a hay box has a source of heat underneath but you put the food in already hot. You should get a camping gas cooker for those power outages. I use a gas cooker and oven and it’s the opposite for me. When my gas cylinder empties and I’m in the middle of cooking I have to switch to my little electric oven to finish off the meal. Thank goodness for modern appliances. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  8. jan says:

    Very interesting – I’m not sure I’d like to live in an old jail but they did have a great view. That slow cooker does look worrisome.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. joey says:

    Charming abode. Love the red cabinet and the old stove, sturdy bench, green wall… just charming.
    Interesting about the slow cooker. Frightening, but interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Jennie says:

    Great post, so interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. slfinnell says:

    I suppose all the heat from the stove on the 4th floor was good in the summer. Personally I’d be sleeping there in the winter lol

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Norm 2.0 says:

    That oven/oil contraption is a bit before my time I think but this is certainly a fascinating place. The washboard, oil lamp, sewing machine and other household items do bring back memories of simpler times.
    Nice post Jean πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Vicky says:

    Fascinating, makes you thankful for modern day gadgets!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Modern day gadgets are great, as long as you have electricity. There’s something quite liberating about being able to manage without them – but only for a limited time, like when you go camping. πŸ™‚


  14. jorgekafkazar says:

    There are those who’d make us all go back to living without electricity. But they’re all barmy in the crumpet and should be ignored.

    I liked the video.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think one of the McGrath son’s went to England for a while to work and when he returned realized the archaic conditions his family were living in, having experienced better quality accommodation. He talked them into moving to what would then have been a modern house, indoor flushing toilet etc. That was probably some time in the late fifties. I don’t blame them for moving.


  15. pattimoed says:

    Hi, Jean. I am marveling that you managed for a while with two small children and twins on the way without modern conveniences! I didn’t have a washer/dryer in our apartment when our son was little, and I thought that was challenging!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. inesephoto says:

    Fantastic tour and the video, Jean.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Ali Isaac says:

    What a fascinating post, Jean! I’d love to visit there. Looked like a doll’s house in those pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. If you are ever down East Cork way, it’s worth a visit, Ali.


I'd love to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s