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.
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.