Thursday Doors – Blackrock Family History

If you read my Thursday Doors post last week you’ll recognise the sundial with the sea as a backdrop. Yes, we are still in the beautiful village of Blackrock, County Louth.

My great grandfather, son of a local fisherman, was a shoeshine boy in the Blackrock Hotel when he was twelve. It’s now called The Brake Tavern.

After emigrating to Liverpool, where he made his fortune, he returned with his wife (a Blackrock woman and daughter of another local fisherman) and their three remaining children. Their baby girl had sadly passed away and my grandmother was three at the time. A son was born a couple of years after their return home. This family photo was taken in Liverpool before their youngest child died.

From this old photograph of the village you can see that the Blackrock Hotel is the largest property in the main street. It was built by one of the local gentry in 1845 to accommodate the growing number of visitors to the village.*

In 1894 a schooner ran aground in the bay. She was carrying a large cargo of roof slates, which was on its way to a builders’ merchant in Dundalk. In a supposed effort to lighten the load, some Blackrock fishermen removed much of the cargo and some of the old thatched homes in the village received new slate roofs, at no charge, of course.

This last shot is of the Clermont Arms Hotel, built around the same time as the Blackrock Hotel. The smaller section was originally a separate building, The Swan Hotel. If you would like to learn more about the history of Blackrock, I have a link at the end of this post.

As always, I appreciate you stopping by. Next week I’ll be posting the last of my doors from Blackrock. In the meantime, have a look at what Norm’s Thursday Doors has to offer.

Blackrock History *


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, nature, The Good Things in Life, Thursday Doors, Travel and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to Thursday Doors – Blackrock Family History

  1. TCast says:

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JT Twissel says:

    I love that sculpture – there’s a sculpture outside of Grandcamps Maisy in Normandy that looks like it may have been by the same artist. Great family pic!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dan Antion says:

    I love the sundial and that building is marvelous, Jean.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice, plus I loved your family history. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ally Bean says:

    Family history and beautiful photos. Such nice contribution to Thursday Doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I like the Clermont Arms and I love the stories. Funny thing about those new roofs. 🙂 That sort of thing happened rather often in those days from what I’ve read.


    Liked by 1 person

    • It did, Janet. On a trip to the west of Ireland many years ago we saw the same bright blue cottages dotted all over the coastline. When we asked a local about it we were told it was ships funnel paint from barrels that had been washed up on shore. I love stories like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Joanne Sisco says:

    I love that gorgeous sundial. Is there something significant about using a diver or was that just artistic license?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The statue was named Aisling by the community after a poll was taken. It’s a female name meaning ‘dream’ or ‘vision’ and I think a diver was used because they needed a certain shape to cast a shadow on the sundial. Also, there used to be a sea water swimming pool nearby where diving and swimming lessons were given, could have something to do with it.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Norm 2.0 says:

    Hey, free roof…woohoo!
    The look of that sundial is so original.
    I also think it’s great to have such a connection to the family history.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. slfinnell says:

    Up on the Missouri River they had riverboats run aground and it was common to try and save cargo for the nearest town rather than let it go to waste. I’ll bet the slate was a welcome donation for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. sydspix says:

    Enjoyed your blog. I love the way all the people looked so serious in the old-time images. Looks like an interesting place to visit!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. joey says:

    Love the clean, timeless facade of the tavern. Really, my heart stopped at the sculpture. That’s a stunning one!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Junieper2 says:

    was here on Thursday, and today I couldn’t find my comment – I guess I wrote it in my mind, thinking it would materialize on paper, lol! Bad if you (I mean, I!) get so forgetful! Can imagine it must be a very special feeling, maybe an at-home-ness when you see a building where your forefathers have worked. Am curious (since I have not even stayed in my birth country, or even that one of my childhood, I have nothing to compare it with) – what you feel when you see Brake Tavern?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I checked in spam but didn’t find your comment, Jesh. I totally understand the forgetfulness, I have the same problem, lol. I don’t really feel much looking at the building from the outside, as it has changed both in appearance and name but inside is pretty much the same as it was in the past. I definitely feel a connection when I walk through the door. I should take some interior shots next visit for a Thursday Doors post.


      • Junieper2 says:

        Since you are a writer, I wondered if you are going through this door if a story (or more than one( would start to spin in your mind….

        Liked by 1 person

        • It did indeed, Jesh. I’ve set a few scenes in my books in the Blackrock Hotel. The ladies toilets are upstairs and the window still has the old painted shutters set into the recesses. There is even a beautiful cream coloured lace curtain draped across the window. I took a photograph of it and used it for the cover of one of my books because it has that Victorian look about it.


  13. Val says:

    I love your family photo, and was particularly taken by the baby – then realised it was probably that little mite that died. That’s so sad. People had such large families in those days and there were frequently deaths of infants (a few lost in my own family’s history, too).

    That sculpture is stunning – very graceful. And I like the idea of all the free roofs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right about the baby, she was called Christina and the little girl in the front is my grandmother. It’s possible they moved back to Ireland because of losing their baby. Maybe they wanted to be among family, I think I would feel the same way, too.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Pingback: Thursday Doors | homethoughtsfromabroad626

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