De la Poer Beresford

The Stag and the Dragon I

Curraghmore House

After having seen Mother Brown we are going to walk straight to the place she is looking at – the Curraghmore House.

This July I visited Curraghmore House hoping to see a portrait of Lady Florence. Unfortunately the only portrait they have is upstairs in the private quarters. Otherwise, it was an amazing visit. If you go to Ireland, make sure you contact the tour guides and book yourself a €15 tour of the main reception rooms, Shell House and the garden. I promise you, it will be the highlight of your visit.

I do my best to remember everything that our guide is telling. Photography is not allowed in the House, and for the same reason I can not give you a detailed account on what I have seen, but I still can share some stories. Like the story about the Stag and the Dragon.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House was built by the la Poer family after their arrival in Ireland with the Norman invasion in the 12th century. It was a tower house with thick walls, and its facade was adorned with the family crest they brought from Normandy – a sculpture of a St Hubert Stag with genuine antlers, and the crucifix. Later a new house was built around the original tower, and a new stag sculpture carved by Sir Richard Boehm.

In 1701 a girl was born, Catherine, the only child of James Power, 3rd Earl of Tyrone and his wife Anne Rickard. The Earl soon died and left her all the family lands. The Earldom discontinued and her father’s cousin was supposed to move in the house and inherit the Barony, but it came out that he was a Jacobite, and Catherine and her mother were allowed to stay for a while to deal with them later. They stayed in the house until Catherine was fifteen and then the marriage was arranged with her cousin Sir Marcus Beresford, a Protestant, Freemason and politician. He became the man of the house. They got married exactly 300 years ago, on July 16 1717.

Lady Catherine gave birth to 15 children 9 of whom reached adulthood. Their firstborn, George, was made the first Marques of  Waterford.

Curraghmore House

Sir Marcus wanted a bigger house and Catherine knew that he would eventually remove the la Poer family crest and replace it with the Beresford family crest, a Dragon head pierced through the neck with a broken spear. She convinced her husband to rebuild the house so that the front faced Comeragh Mountains, and it was where the Dragon was placed. Until these days, the guests arrive to the front of the house, which is in the back, and both the Dragon and the Stag are still here, standing back to back. But it is not the whole story.

In 1922, during the Civil War, the order was given for this house to be burned. Some men came in the middle of the night, put the straw and left to return before the sunrise and finish the job. When they came back with the torches, the clouds suddenly parted, a full moon came out and the crucifix had cast a shadow on the ground. The men were terrified that they almost burned a Catholic house. They hurried away, and burned the Woodstock House shortly after.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

View of the Comeragh Mountains from the front porch.

Curraghmore House

Statues in the courtyard.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

In these apartments there used to be a doctor’s surgery and a teacher’s quarters.

Curraghmore House

Retired butler is still living here.

Curraghmore House

The Stables.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Tea Rooms.

Curraghmore House

Next weekend we resume our walk around the Curraghmore House.

inesemjphotography Have a wonderful week!

The Tower

Curraghmore Tower

This 65 ft round tower was “erected in the year 1785 by George, Earl of Tyrone, to his beloved son, his niece and friend”.

Marcus, the eldest son of 1st Marquess of Waterford was killed while jumping his horse over courtyard paling. He was only twelve. It is difficult to tell who was the niece, since George De La Poer Beresford was the eldest of fifteen children. The friend was Marcus’ French tutor Charles Polier de Bottens who died shortly after the tragic accident.

Over the years, there were people who came to this tower at their darkest moments. It is a mile long walk from the main road. Wish they had turned back.

I pass the entrance to the Curraghmore estate and drive up the hill. Gorgeous pheasant steps out of the grass and walks right in front of my car. I am trying to match the speed of the bird to take pictures.

Curraghmore Tower   Curraghmore Tower

I park and start walking through the conifer forest. The path is quite muddy – timber felling is in progress and the trucks have damaged the road. I turn around the corner. Here used to be Clonegam school, but it was burned down during the Civil War.

The Tower is inspired by the medieval Irish round tower. They say that the walls are about seven feet thick which I cannot confirm. I would rather say that the distance between the walls is about 10 feet. It was intended to build it 120 feet high, but it was left unfinished at the height of 70 feet.

Curraghmore Tower

Hanging around the tower I have a chat with a young man who used to climb to the roof and read books in solitude. Armed with some tips I start climbing the 92 step spiral stairway.

Curraghmore Tower

The door offers some light but further up there is a dark stretch until I reach the first window.

Curraghmore Tower

Curraghmore Tower  Curraghmore Tower

It is how I climb – from window to window.

Curraghmore Tower

Finally I see the sky. On the top there is a flat roof with a hole in the middle and a low parapet with some stones missing. I don’t dare to climb to the roof. The day is very windy so I just stay on the steps and look around.

Curraghmore Tower Curraghmore Tower

I have found a fantastic drone shot by Jamie Malone. It is what the roof looks like.

The view from the Tower is stunning. I see the Curraghmore House and River Suir.

Curraghmore Tower    Curraghmore Tower

This is Croughaun Hill and Comeragh Mountains.

Curraghmore Tower

It is the time to climb down when I realise that it is possible that someone is making their way up right now, oblivious to me being there. I don’t like the thought, but I cannot stay here forever. I start my descent and finally reach the door and quickly get out.

Curraghmore Tower   Curraghmore Tower

There is a loop walk, but I take the same road because I have spotted some photogenic timber. Next time I will visit Curraghmore House and a special historical object that I want to share with you.

Curraghmore Tower Curraghmore Tower Curraghmore Tower

Here are three links to my previous blogs about Clonegam and the De la Poer family that I wrote last year.

https://inesemjphotography.com/2016/10/09/abbeys-and-churches/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2016/10/22/lady-florence-and-clonegam-church/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2016/10/27/circumstance-observes-no-preference/

 

wwww.inesemjphotography.com Have a wonderful weekend!

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Last autumn I wrote about the Clonegam Church – resting place for the De la Poer Beresford family. Later in June I am going to visit their ancestral home – Curraghmore House – but meanwhile I will share the photographs I took in the beautiful park surrounding the house. The owners are so very kind allowing the visitors to walk there free of charge.

Clonegam Church is somewhere behind the trees.

The ancient oak tree in its winter beauty.

Single story gate lodge with round windows known as Ivy Cottage was built in 1880 and renovated in the 1930’s. It is currently unused.

Curraghmore House

St John’s Bridge that was built in 1205 spans over River Clodiagh. River Clodiagh rises in Lough Coumduala in the Comeragh Mountains.

Curraghmore House

The seat in the middle of the bridge is quite rough looking. They say that King John commissioned the bridge, which gives us an idea about being royalty in the beginning of the 13th century 🙂

Curraghmore House

St John’s Bridge through the tree branches.

Curraghmore House

River Clodiagh running through Curraghmore demesne.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

Beautiful man-made waterfall.

Curraghmore House

Water strider – my first lesson on physics 🙂

Remnants of the Japanese Garden.

Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House

The Giant Rhubarb in its baby stage –  the pictures were taken in March.

Fortified stone wall covered with moss has endured for a half millennia, or  longer.

Curraghmore House

I have another few photographs to share in the next two weeks. At the moment I am with my family, getting back to my life, and hope to start answering comments and visiting blogs. Thank you so much for your understanding, and your tweets and emails ❤

 Have a wonderful weekend!