Tuesday, April 27, 2010



Saturday, 24th April, 2010

Ballysaggartmore was the beginning of a packed itinerary with a visit to ‘The Towers’ just outside Lismore. The dull and grey sky yielded to bright blue just as we reached the gate lodges on our circuit. We enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the forest peppered with snippets of information on the dry bridge, the castellated bridge and a pair of identical gate-lodges which have survived to this day to amaze us all. Mr. Kiely was reviled as a landlord but his creations have outlived his appalling treatment of his tenants and the local community is to be commended for revealing such treasures where the norm would have seen them demolished and the stone-work used for road building.

A sharp right turn on the road brought us into the secret world of ‘Ballyin Gardens’ and we were educated as to the origin of the gardens and the treasures within by the owner of the gardens Mr. Peter Raven. This was an extra attraction on our programme and it certainly did not disappoint. With wonderful views over the river Blackwater and planting to match the wonderful scenery our brief visit was brought to a conclusion by the needs of the clock and our timetable. Another visit beckons sometime in the future when time is not at a premium.

St. Carthage’s Cathedral was brought to life with a wonderful historical description by Dermot Edwards who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the cathedral from its founding to its present incarnation. We learned that many of Ireland’s famous architects worked here including Sir William Robinson (who designed the Royal Hospital Kilmainham); Sir Richard Morrison rebuilt the cathedral and James & George Richard Pain designed the tower and spire. We also visited the little known library with its fine collection of volumes amassed over the years. We are very grateful to the Very Revd. Paul Draper, Dean of Lismore for the warm welcome and the refreshments that were much appreciated.

We had to be torn away from the cathedral for our lunch appointment but it was well worth it. Having enjoyed a restorative lunch and dessert at O’Brien Chop House we set off for our final destination with the grey clouds beginning to appear.

We journeyed down to Salterbridge House past the newly restored gate-lodge that has been resurrected from dereliction by the Irish Landmark Trust and available to anyone who wishes to stay in such an unusual and attractive lodge. Venturing up the avenue we were welcomed by Philip and Susie Wingfield who gave us a short history of the house and its evolution over the years. We toured the out-buildings, the gardens before arriving indoors for a tour of the ground floor reception rooms and the bedroom corridor upstairs including ‘the coldest room in Ireland’ as Philip explained. Having toured the house and grounds we were treated to a welcome cup of tea accompanied by home made scones with jam. All too soon it was time to leave Salterbridge, thank our hosts and thus brought our very enjoyable and varied day to a close. Thanks to our committee for helping out on the day and to Kevin Hurley for organising the event.

No comments:

Post a Comment