Irish history

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!

Noble Knights and Spirit of Ancestors

mirko cuneoImage courtesy of  Mirko Cuneo

There is no doubt that people can live their dreams. It doesn’t usually happen overnight though. Every worthy dream comes true after hard work is involved, and also discipline, dedication and perseverance. If you want to become a knight, any of the above applies.

In the Middle ages knight training started at the age of 7, and those who made it through the difficult and expensive training program were knighted around the age of 21. The culture of honor, courage, battle and courtesy to Ladies associated with the medieval institution of knighthood continues to this day among the modern knights.

I am not a specialist on the knighthood. I only want to tell you about some aspects of their activities and share some photographs too.

There are some images courtesy of a modern Knight Mirko Cuneo, from Milan, Italy. He has a private Facebook page, so I can link only two images, but those of you who have Facebook account might be able to see more of his images and learn a thing or two about the knighthood in Italy. mirko cuneo

Mirko Cuneo

mirko cuneo

Mirko Cuneo

Mirko Cuneo

Viking training. Image courtesy of Mirko Cuneo Mirko Cuneo

Mirko Cuneo Two images ( above) courtesy of Mirko Cuneo . Film set Richard the Lion Heart: Rebellion, directed by Stefano Milla Mirko Cuneo Carnasciale Jousting:  Mirko Cuneo and His Lady Mirko CuneoCasei Medievale  –  Medieval festival Mirko organized

To those who are wondering about the outfits and accessories. There is an amazingly talented artist and photographer from the beautiful city of Arona, Marco Ferrari,  who has done splendid job for Celtica Festivals over the years. I think he makes a great William Wallace in these images. marco ferrari Image courtesy of Marco Ferrari marco ferrariImage courtesy of Marco Ferrari

Here is a link to the Facebook page of Lady Malina who is based in Poland.  All the information is in English. Her garments and accessories look quite authentic and charming.

Here is also a link to the page of Celtica Festival in Courmayeur Mont Blanc, Italy and a  link to the Frederick Celtic Festival in Maryland, USA. I would say that there are hundreds of such festivals and you can google for one closer to your hometown and book your tickets for 2015.

There is everything at these festivals to keep the Celtic Spirit alive: the bards telling legends of heroes and singing romantic ballads; Celtic dancing, sweet  harps, bodhráns, mandolins and bagpipes. It is much more than a musical event. Usually the festival’s program of activities includes lectures and talks, numerous workshops, ceremonies and rituals, falconry, acrobatic performances, re-enactments and many more fascinating activities. Your children can participate in almost everything and learn a lot about history.

Now I want to share with you my own photographs from Cahir Castle Medieval Festival, Ireland. Check out this page: these guys are amazing, and no wonder they are booked out for all the 2014. medieval festival Cahir Castle hosting the festival. medieval festival Black Knight arrived… medieval festival White Knight followed… medieval festival The mean and cunning Black Knight is trying to kill the White Knight’s pet rabbit with a poisoned carrot… medieval festival This is too much! The White Knight is getting ready for the battle… medieval festival The Black Knight is ready to fight too… medieval festival The Knights crossed lances… medieval festival The battle continues with the swords… medieval festival When all the weapons are broken, a watermelon does the job… medieval festival Everybody is laughing at the Black Knight… medieval festival He has to apologize for all his mischiefs… medieval festival The Narrator looks very focused… In fact he is as good a warrior as the others, but today he has to stay off the battle… medieval festival Yet he got a chance to talk with a lady… medieval festival

Wait, something isn’t right… Norman Invasion! Everyone get ready to defend the Castle!

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival The Monk and his young warriors are getting ready for their first battle! medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

 

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival Oh! medieval festival Ah! medieval festival Hope my warrior comes home unharmed… medieval festival The Narrator’s name is Michael Moylan. He loves and knows  Irish History, and makes weapons and other stuff of any era and culture. medieval festival The battle is over! medieval festival

medieval festival

medieval festival Cahir Castle is safe! medieval festival

Thank you for reading,  and hope someone clicks on the links and falls in love with the Celtic Spirit and the Knighthood. You can enlarge the images, I made them low resolution for your convenience:)

Photography tip of the day: If you are attending an event, take pictures of different objects too: they will come in handy when making a collage.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great weekend!