Monkstown Castle

Another tour I took part in during the Summer of Heritage was one of Monkstown Castle. I was very familiar with this building, so I was curious as to learn about the history of the ruins. The first castle built here was built by the Cistercian Monks of St Mary’s Abbey at the centre of a large farm between the 14th and 15th centuries. When King Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1539 Monkstown had a number of owners, including some high profile people in Irish history.  The Cheevers family (a French Norman family who also owned both Dalkey Castle and Bullock Harbour Castle), General Edmund Ludlow (Cromwell’s Master of the Horse in Ireland) and Michael Boyle, Primate, and Lord Chancellor of Ireland. This castle evolved from being a functional building to being a more grandiose residence. The Cheevers had the castle taken off them by Henry VIII, they had it returned to them later on, they moved back in for a while, but finally left it permanently. Today however, all that remains is the gatehouse and the 3 story tower, which once formed one side of a large hall. The tree you see in the bottom image was shown on a map of the area in the 1700’s.




My friend and I tried to go to Burtown House and Gardens in Kildare, but, it was closed to the public, as they were hosting a Wedding. We had some fun with Google maps before we got to Burtown, as Google kept trying to get us to drive down a small anonymous laneway, which did not look at all right, however, it ended up that Google was sending us down the back lane to the house and gardens. We will try again on another day. We had spotted a field with some poppies in it on our way to Burtown, so we decided to stop there and take some photos of the flowers in the wheat. I will have to go back, as I still have some photos I wish I had taken. The wheat made a lovely background for the flowers.


National Gallery of Ireland

The National Gallery of Ireland recently re-opened, so I had to visit it, as it has been a very long time since I was there last. The massive refurbishment that has taken place in the Gallery is fantastic. The place looks great. It was just a short visit, so I need to go back to explore further. I did get to see some pieces that I have always liked. I missed the Caravaggio Exhibition that was held in the Gallery a couple of months ago. At the moment there is a Vermeer Exhibition on display.

Emo Court

Another day, another place to visit, this time it was Emo Court in Laois. I have been to Emo Court a few times in the past and it is always worth a visit. Today, we took the house tour, stopped for tea and Lemon Cake and then walked around the lake. The water levels in the lake was very low, die to the good weather and lack of rain that we have had for the last number of months. We watched the swans, ducks and moorhens swimming around on the lake and eating the bread they were been fed by the visitors to the Estate. The house has an interesting history and presently is hosting an Exhibition of Fr Frank Browne’s Photography, which is fascinating on it’s own merits. I have attached photos from the interior and exterior of the House, as well images of Fr Browne’s camera and a chest full of his negatives.


Irish Light Photo Competition

I thought that some of the Irish Photographers who read my blogs, may like to know about the Irish Light Competition.

IrishLight aims to draw the best professional Irish based landscape photographers together, bring international photographers to Ireland while also mobilising the amazing enthusiast talent that exists both here and abroad. The festival provides a platform for inspiring exhibitions and education. The Irish landscape provides the perfect backdrop.


1. Big Day event – conference style day with international & Irish speakers. Charlie Waite / Sandra Bartocha / Norman McCloskey / Peter Gordon / Nikon / Lee Filters. Early Bird tickets for the event are priced 60 Euro until 15th August … 75 after 15th Aug

2. Competition – 4000 Euro worth of prizes to be won for best amateur photography – 3 amazing prizes – Nikon d750 / Scotland Winter Workshop with ExploreLight / Lee Filters Big stopper

3. 7 simultaneous photography workshops – we have only 4 places left .

4. Amateur Exhibiton + Professional Exhibition running for 4 weeks of the festival

5. Free Talks – TBC in the coming weeks

Carrickbrennan Graveyard

As part of the Summer of Heritage, Dun Laoghaire Rathdown have opened up Carrickbrennan Graveyard for tours every Tuesday and Thursday. I joined one of the tours last week, and it was fascinating. I have passed the gate that leads to this location many, many times in the past without realising what it led to. I am glad that the mystery is solved. This is a small graveyard started by the Cistercian Monks in the 6th Century, that is packed with history and amazing stories. The line of Irish Yews leads you down through the centre of the graveyard. This site includes the ruins of a church and has a building that was used as a guardhouse for the security men that were hired by families of the descendants to watch for bodysnatchers for a few days after the deceased had been buried. I know, yuck! Grave robbing was a very profitable business at the time, and the proximity of Monkstown to the port of Dun Laoghaire meant that bodies could be easily and quickly shipped to England. There is a number of people buried here who died in maritime disasters, which include many of the 267 souls lost in the sinking of the ‘Rochdale’ and the 120 Soldiers that were lost on the ‘Prince of Wales’, both sinking occurred on the 19th of November 1807, as well as the crew of five from the ‘Ajax’, who were all swept out to sea with their Captain (John McNeil Boyd, buried in St. Patricks Cathedral, Dublin) on the 9th of February 1861. Roger Casement’s sister is also resting here, she died at the age of four, a few months before Roger was born. Another character who is located in this graveyard is Joseph Holt, who was a leader of the United Irishmen, he took part in the 1798 Rebellion in Wicklow. I am constantly fascinated by the history we pass by on a daily basis without realising it. The Cistercian Monks were also involved in Monkstown Castle, which will be the subject of a separate post.\

Thank you for reading my post.