Portlaw

Famous Beresford Ghost Story (with introduction)

Since my previous blog post was about Curraghmore, I thought I would share with you a very popular Beresford Ghost Story for upcoming Halloween. It came out, however, that I have no spooky ghastly photos of Curraghmore House.  I decided to write an illustrated introduction about another place just behind the wall from the Curraghmore estate – the Mayfield House, Portlaw, of which I have plenty of spooky looking pictures, and the most important, a spooky true story.

                                                                         Introduction

Since the ancient Rhododendron tree fell down during the hurricane Ophelia in autumn 2016, the only way to get to the Mayfield house is to crawl through under the tree trunk…

… which I did the following December ( when I was sure the trunk wouldn’t flatten me). Winter is the best time to see the house free of weeds and brambles.

Mayfield House was built in the 1840s by William Tinsley for the brilliant entrepreneurs and philanthropists Malcolmsons who absolutely deserve a separate blog post.

The house also has a basement, and the tower was added in 1857. The house served as offices for the Tannery that opened in 1935, but as the Malcolmsons’ factory failed in the 1870s, so did the Tannery that was closed in 1985. Since then the house has been stripped of anything of worth, and now is a dangerous ruin.

Mayfield House

It is still beautiful though.

Mayfield House

Mayfield House

I walked around the house to take pictures of the Tannery’s chimney.

Mayfield House

Suddenly I noticed a strange movement in the upper floor window.

I quickly realised that it was just an old curtain swinging in the wind. Still, I thought it was a time to pack and leave.

Unfortunately, I can’t just leave, even when warned.

I made my way around a big pile of gravel to take a look at the back yard and a shed.

The shed has no doors, just two big holes in the wall. This is what I saw through the first hole. I didn’t like the chair, but well, there was no one sitting in that chair, right?

I walked to the other hole, and this is what I saw there. Nothing amusing. I was considering stepping inside the shed to check out bats when all of a sudden I felt a strong blow to my chest that stopped my heart and my breath. A physical blow.

The next moment I felt choking pressure on my throat. If it were from behind, I wouldn’t have any doubt I was being attacked ( and I would have a heart attack because of the scare) but here I saw no one. There was no one. The sensation lasted for just a couple of seconds and went away as suddenly as it came. ‘OK, OK’ I breathed out as soon as I composed myself and moved away from the shed. ‘I got it, I got it’.

When it was time to crawl under the tree trunk again, the ivy vines started to look like something from a horror movie… at least in my imagination 😉

I have never disturbed the ghost again, but I still go to the Mayfield House when the gate is open ( when the drifting takes place). No paranormal activity has ever been reported in this area. A nomadic ghost? May be. But read the Ghost Story – may be there is a clue 🙂

 

                                                     The Beresford Ghost story

John Power and Nicola Sophia Hamilton were raised by the same guardians and formed a friendship that extended beyond the grave. While in the guardians care, the teenagers learned about different religions and started to have doubts about the afterlife. The two made a promise that whichever should die first, would try to return to the other and reveal the truth about the life after death.

When John was only seven, his father, Sir Richard, 1st Earl of Tyrone, engineered his formal marriage to the twelve years old heiress Catherine Fitzgerald who eloped when she was seventeen. Nicola married Sir Tristram Beresford, 3rd Baronet when she was 21. John never married again. He and the Beresfords continued their friendship. John’s father was imprisoned and died in the Tower of London on 14th October 1690. John inherited the title of 2nd Earl of Tyrone. Three years later, Lady Nicola woke up and discovered Lord Tyrone sitting by her bedside. In response to her confusion he asked : ‘Have you forgotten our promise? I died Tuesday at four o’clock.’ That Tuesday was October 14, the day of his father’s death.

They had quite a long conversation, and to prove that he was not a figment of her imagination, John drew a curtain with mere waving his hand and wrote a note in her calendar, but it seemed not enough for Nicola to believe her eyes. Reluctantly, he touched her wrist with his cold and heavy fingers, and in a moment the sinews shrunk up. He then told her to cover the wrist so that no mortal eye would ever see it.

The ghost of Lord Tyrone informed her that she was pregnant with a son. All of his prophecies came true: Sir Marcus Beresford was born on July 16 the following year; Nicola’s husband, Sir Tristram Beresford, died unexpectedly eight years later; she married again, but because of her young husband’s misconduct had to obtain a separation; her son Marcus married Catherine Power, the niece of Lord Tyron, the only daughter of his younger brother James (you can read about them in my The Stag and The Dragon blog posts). Lady Nicola thought she escaped the last prophecy about the year of her death, but alas, her birth record was wrong. When she invited her friends to celebrate her 48th birthday, it came out that this was actually her 47th! She died the same night, on 23rd February 1713, her 47th birthday, shortly after the birth of her daughter Dorothea (1712), future Lady Desart.

Hope you have a fun and eerie Halloween.


PS Here are three links for you to explore: Teagan Riordain Geneviene new book Atonement In Bloom. This is not a hair-raising paranormal suspense thriller, but rather a relaxing and charming sort of magic that makes you think of packing and moving to the town of Atonement for good.

Exquisite poetry blog Poet Rummager by amazingly talented Rose Perez who shares her fiercely intelligent, dark, bittersweet and heart piercing poetry.

If you are looking for pure horror, visit FlyTrapMan blog 🙂

 Happy haunting!

The last butler of Curraghmore house

Last weekend I went for a walk along the river Clodiagh in the Curraghmore estate to take pictures for this blog dedicated to the last butler of Curraghmore and his lovely wife who finally retired and left for Portugal this summer.

Who says you cannot change your career and your whole life at the age of 50+? “Born and raised” in Transvaal, South Africa”, Basil Croeser moved to Ireland in 1998 and got a job as butler to 8th Marquess of Waterford. Good old times when the notorious “work experience” was not required: there were no butlers in South Africa, not at that time anyway.

Curraghmore

Basil served as butler for 12 years. Some of his duties included “seeing to His Lordship’s general well being; preparing and serving light meals; maintaining stock and equipment; maintaining and winding 17 antique clocks”. When His Lordship’s health started to deteriorate, Basil retired from his butler’s duties, and a new, younger butler was hired. Basil was offered the role of a tour guide in the Curraghmore estate.

Old Lord Waterford passed away in 2015, and is remembered as a good and kindly neighbor. Current Lord Waterford doesn’t have a butler. That era is gone.

I have been in the House before, and I know the script, but that was a special day, and sadness was in the air as the last butler took us on his farewell tour.

Curraghmore

Basil’s tours and his unique knowledge will be missed.

The bags were already packed, as well as twenty years of memories. I wish them both a long and happy retirement!


These photographs I took for Basil and Colleen with a huge thank you for all they have done! 🙂 I came there early, less than an hour after the sunrise last Sunday, and parked outside the gate. The air was crisp and the sun just showed up from behind the forest.

Curraghmore

Suddenly the mist started to rise, first from the river, then from just about everything!

Curraghmore

In front of my eyes, the rippling steam rose from the grass. It was so thick that the sun rays couldn’t get through it.

The tree branches covered with moss started steaming too!

The sun rose higher and lit the tree tops.

What a magnificent morning!

Curraghmore

I crossed the bridge and walked along the river. A strange object caught my eye. It’s a tail! I quickly checked my settings.

squirrel

Red squirrel run too far and too high from me, but I noticed a big sweet chestnut in his mouth. I only know one such tree nearby, but it is on the other side of the river. What a brave little fella.

squirrel

Young pheasants are having a double date. There are hundreds of them in the woods.

pheasants

This one started to walk towards me – for a treat or for a fight?

pheasant

He stood just a few steps away, looking at me with one eye then the other before slowly walking away across the road.

pheasant

I walked across the bridge again to see the sweet chestnut tree ( and may be another squirrel) and visit the House. The other side of the river looked warm and welcoming.

Curraghmore

The pale yellow Ferns seem so fragile.

ferns

ferns

The sweet chestnut tree provided me with a lot of entertainment and some fifty pictures of its cute fruits. No squirrels though.

Sweet chestnut

sweet chestnut

The House is closed for public tours until the Easter 2019, but you can try to make an appointment.

Curraghmore

I turn to the road that would take me to the King John’s bridge. I still don’t give up hope to get a picture of Kingfisher, but apparently not today as a young couple with an off-leash dog turns into the same road. I let them pass, and dive into the dark side path that takes me in the opposite direction. A natural arrangement of sun-lit leaves in the puddle draws my attention. When I look at the picture, I am very pleased to see a hovering tiny bonus Syrphid fly and its shadow.

The path is quite dark, and I am not surprised that the only sunny spot is occupied. Young pheasant female doesn’t consider me a threat and makes herself cozy in the sun.

pheasant hen

No Kingfisher in sight, but a plump Dipper with a bright white bib looks over his shoulder at me with disapproval. Sorry, pal, my camera does make loud noises.

Dipper

The next stretch is a bamboo ‘forest’. After I finally emerge from the greenery, I step on my favorite ‘fairy path’ 🙂 It is all for today.

Curraghmore

Hope you all enjoyed the morning in Curraghmore as much as I did.

Here are more links to the Curraghmore stories : The Stag and the Dragon I ; The Stag and the Dragon II  ; The Tower  ;  Lady Florence ; Clonegam  There are many other related stories in this blog.

 Have a wonderful weekend!

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

This is drifting and that is the Tannery. All in Portlaw, Co Waterford. Visit their Facebook page and save the date of their next drift day in your calendar.

Tannery Drifting

I will write more about the Tannery some other day.  This post is all about drifting.

A fan of Fast And FuriousI am happy that just a half an hour drive from Waterford there is a place where I feel so wonderful. I am truly grateful to those who run the local ‘drifting rink’ in the old parking lot of the derelict tannery. So many young lads stay out of trouble because they are busy doing something good. Something they enjoy doing.  This short amateur YouTube video gives you an idea about the atmosphere on the site. The drivers come to the Tannery from as far as Donegal.

To take these pictures I pan my camera along with the moving cars. I use a low shutter speed – not faster than 1/30 sec- and usually focus either on the driver or on the surface of the car that is close to the driver. You can guess that using this technique only a tiny fraction of the shots can be called a keeper, 10% may be, but I love giving the shot a feeling of motion rather than freezing the action. If the environment doesn’t add to the shot, it is better to leave it blurred. It would be a different story if I took pictures of a swimmer or surfer: the waves look gorgeous around a surfer 🙂

You can tell that car is moving if the wheels are spinning. The cars are not necessarily moving straight in these pictures even if they look so.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Some drivers like to impress the spectators with a cloud of smoke.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

I make myself comfortable on the concrete barrier. From here I can see everything quite close, and if I turn around I can see the cars on their way to the ‘drifting rink’ and back.

The last advice before the start?

Tannery Drifting

Age doesn’t matter, we all love drifting.

Tannery Drifting

I think I have picture of these people in the same place but in their winter clothes 🙂 The tires are gone though. Somebody put them on fire.

Tannery Drifting

Auto Chem, one of my favorite teams. I move my rug so that the weeds wouldn’t get into my next picture.

Tannery Drifting

All kinds of minor accidents happen during the drifting. Tire blowouts are the most common. I have seen a deflated tire hula-hoop, roll away, make a circle and return back to the car.

This car was doing just great, and then there was a loud boom.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

This car is loosing its rear bumper but the driver never bothers to stop. After a few seconds the bumper frees itself from the car and flies away.

Tannery Drifting

This car hit the tires during the drift and got its bumper damaged.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Old tires can be quite agile when pushed.

Tannery Drifting

“Sorry, give us a second!”

Tannery Drifting

Sometimes a car has to be pushed using manpower.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

After the drift.

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Tannery Drifting

Some lads make alterations to their cars. I am not an expert to understand the purpose of this one. Improved aerodynamics or an emergency exit? Looks cute anyway.

Tannery Drifting

I take a peek inside the car.

Tannery Drifting

The cars are so clean that it makes me ashamed of mine…

Tannery Drifting

They use a motorcycle engine in this car. Doesn’t it look like a heart?

Tannery Drifting

I hope you love cars as I do. Enjoy your January, and if you are drifting stay focused like the driver in the picture.

Tannery Drifting

www.inesemjphotography.com  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!