This week’s Thursday Doors post continues on from last week’s tour of the Slieve Russell Hotel gardens. The grounds also contain a golf course and a looped walk through the surrounding woodland. Even though the hotel was built in 1990, with modern doors and windows, I think it captures the look of an old estate house pretty well, especially with the ivy adorning it’s white exterior.
The grounds are tastefully landscaped using some of my favourite plants; agapanthus, hostas, hydrangea (particularly the white variety) and what looked like a purple baby’s breath. If you are wondering who designed these beautiful gardens, we found the answer on a plaque at the beginning of one of the covered walkways. You also get a selfie of the photographer thrown in for a bonus – or a penalty.
When I came across this little bridge I was pleasantly surprised.
It wasn’t the bridge that caused me to stop in my tracks, it was what I could see while standing on it. What looked like an old ruin stood nestled in the shrubbery.
I had to have a closer look, purely in the interests of Thursday Doors, of course.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any information online about this ‘ruin’ but I think it may have been constructed as part of the landscaping. However, there is another very old structure located in the hotel grounds that has a lot of history attached to it, both ancient and modern. It’s a 4,000 year old megalithic structure known as The Aughrim Wedge Tomb, named after the townland it originally stood on. To locals, it’s known as Giant’s Grave. Megaliths in Europe are generally structures erected during the Neolithic or late stone age and Chalcolithic or Copper Age (4500–1500 BC)
The Aughrim Wedge Tomb
The owner of the hotel in the 1990’s was one of Ireland’s wealthiest men in his day. He also owned a nearby quarry and cement works, which he wanted to expand. However, the wedge tomb was in the way, so he obtained permission from the Office of Public Works to relocate it, stone by stone, to the grounds of his hotel, the Slieve Russell, in 1992. Prior to the removal of the tomb, a full excavation of the site took place and some bones were found, many of them burnt, along with Early Bronze Age pottery.
Some people felt it was wrong to move the tomb and that it would bring bad luck to the person responsible. With the banking fiasco and recession here in Ireland, this man suffered great financial losses and eventually became bankrupt. He lost a number of hotels, one of which was the Slieve Russell, the cement works and a host of other businesses, including his multi-billion euro fortune. Bad luck or bad decisions?
It was a wonderful feeling to touch stones that were carved by people 4,000 years ago, although it would have been even nicer to do so in their original setting. At least the tomb has been preserved and will hopefully still be there 4,000 years from now.
Thanks for coming along with me on this week’s Thursday Doors trail. If you’d like to see what Norm and some other door enthusiasts have to offer, carry on over to his blog and click the blue froggy link at the end of his post.