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Paranormal Investigation 70
The twenty four acres star shaped fort, otherwise known as, ‘Irelands Alcatraz’ in Cork Harbour is on the site of a monastic colony. Inis Píc, as known in Irish is an island made up of a hundred and three acres. The Galwey and Roche dynasty’s held claim to the island until the Irish Rebellion of 1641. Arnold Joost van Keppal, 1st Earl of Albermarle (right hand man of William III) had ownership of the island in 1698. In this year William Smith of Ballymore succeeded custody, Nicolas Filton followed around 1779. He leased a section of the island to the British government. Cork Harbour was a busy port, as it served as an ideal location to send supplies to the British forces in the West Indies and North America due to the American Revolution of 1775. Work was accepted to be done by the Irish Board of Ordnance to construct a permanent fort (Fort West Moreland), which was finally accomplished in 1802, with superior artillery. Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany put forward to make Spike Island into a fortress, capable of holding at least three thousand soldiers. In the years to come with the Great Famine (1845 – 1852) the number of inmates increased up to 2,300. During the Irish War of Independence the fort remained as a platoon and a prison with IRA prisoners being detained there.Spike Island persisted under British authority until 11th July 1938. The island was granted to Ireland. The Irish Army, FCA (Irish Army Reserve) and the Irish Navy would be based at Spike Island in later decades. It continued being a prison until finally closing in 2004. The Punishment Block was built in 1860 after a prison warden, William Reddy, was murdered. Its job was to belittle the most dangerous inmates, the ‘Penal Class’. Prisoners were chained to the walls for up to twenty three and a half hours a day. Described as, “Hell on Earth”, there were several attempts of self – destruction, with at least one succeeding, a twenty six year old burglar named, Thomas Morris. The Children’s Prison used to hold about 100 juveniles in its time, as young as twelve. They would sleep in hammocks. Some children would never leave the island alive due to the harsh conditions endured at such a vulnerable age.
Paranormal Investigation 71
Rothe House occupies 15-16 Parliament Street, Kilkenny. The property is owned by the Kilkenny Archaeological Society. Three houses, three flanked courtyards and a garden were built on burgage plot (narrow street front and land behind) by John Rothe Fitz Piers (Sovereign of Kilkenny 1605 and Mayor of Kilkenny 1613 and 1616). Cistercian Monks of Graiguenamanagh had previously held the land the house was built on. The first house, a terraced three storey house was completed in 1594. John Rothe resided with his wife, Rose Archer and their family in the upstairs part of the building (Rose family lived at Archer House, which part of its complex is now known as, ‘The Hole in the Wall’ Tavern). The ground floor is where John Rothe sold fabric and other stock imported from Europe. The second building, an attached three storey house was originally built in 1604 to help accommodate for the growing number of children, which they had twelve in total. When John Rothe dies in 1620, he left the majority of his estate to his eldest son, Peter Rothe. The house would be taken from the family in 1653 after their involvement with the Irish Catholic Confederation, in their support of King Charles I. Consequently, Oliver Cromwell had Peter and his family banished to Connacht. Peter dies a year later. In later centuries Rothe House was used as a school around mid-eighteenth century.The Gaelic League (an organisation promoting the Irish Language) was present in the building from 1899, up until 1962 when Kilkenny Archaeological Society/Brennan family jointly purchased the house. In 1980, Kilkenny Archaeological Society became sole proprietor of the house.
Paranormal Investigation 72
Set a few kilometers from the village of Lorrha in County Tipperary inside a fortified enclosure, the tower house of Lackeen is claimed have been built on the site of a former castle in the 12th century. The tower house we see today was constructed in the 16th century for Chieftain of Ormond, Brain Ua Cinneide Fionn. The Ua Cinneides were the first clan in Ireland to go into battle against the Vikings wearing helmets. Cinneide expressed in English means, ‘Helmeted head’, and Fionn translates to, ‘Fair’ or ‘White’. The name, Ua Cinneide was later anglicised to, O’Kennedy. The castle was surrendered to English Parliamentarian forces under the rule of Oliver Cromwell in 1653. Although battered by Cromwell’s artillery, the tower house would later be back in the possession of the O’Kennedys. The Lorrha Missal, a manuscript written in Latin and Gaelic, dating from the late eighth/early ninth century was found in the walls of the castle when restoration work was being carried out by John O’Kennedy in 1735. The four storey tower house, the third floor being vaulted has stairs that lead straight up to the first floor. A spiral staircase in the northeast corner of the castle steers to the second floor. A secret chamber can be found on the third floor. It is unknown whether this area was used as an escape from attackers, smuggle goods, to detain or even murder people.It is recorded in the, ‘Annals of the Four Masters’ that a Prior, John O’Hogan was killed by the O’Kennedys on Gurtcroo Hill (hill of the slaughter, a short distance away from Lackeen Castle) in the year 1599. It is to find the provocation behind the murder, but either a family dispute or a disagreement over loyalty in the Nine Years War (1594-1603).
Paranormal Investigation 73
Lough Gur, a horse shoe shaped lake is located in the Ballyhoura region of County Limerick. The Visitor Center built in 1980, the center was designed to resemble two Stone Age houses excavated nearby. Artifacts from the Stone Age and Bronze Age are on display along with an impressive replica of a bronze shield, the original dating from around 700BC was found in the local bog, in 1872. Lough Gur had a maximum depth of 3.80m. In 1847 the water level was lowered due to drainage work leaving hundreds of ancient artifacts uncovered. An artificial circular shaped island named Bolin island was built in the early Middle Ages, otherwise known as a Crannog (from “crann” and “og”, both Irish words for tree and young respectively), The Giants Grave Wedge Tomb was excavated in 1938. The skeletal remains of at least eight adults and four children were found. “Beaker pottery” was discovered inside the tomb which might have held the remains of the dead person, or food and drink to take into the next world. The bones of an Ox were found outside the main chamber, the animal may have been used as an offering to a deity. The tomb was once a home to an elderly lady for many years, stated in a report in the early nineteenth century. Grange Stone Circle is the largest in Ireland built around 2200BC during the Bronze Age. The largest stone, Rannach Crom Dubh (Dark crooked division) weighs over forty tons, stands at a height of 2.50m from the ground (extending roughly underneath a further 1.50m) and was transported from 8km away. Crowds of people might have gathered on a bank to witness special ceremonies inside the circle. On the longest day of the year, summer solstice the sun shines directly into the centre of the circle.
Paranormal Investigation 74
The property was assembled around the early 1700s, previously at the center of a 12,000 acre estate. It is presumed Ducketts Grove was built for Thomas Duckett who acquired the townland of Kneestown back in 1695. A succession of marriages into wealthy inheritors led to John Dawson Duckett being able to make alterations to the old house in 1818, appointing architect Thomas Alfred Cobden. The building was castellated in a Gothic revival style with a number of towers, turrets, oriel windows that extended out from the walls and recesses displaying statues and ornaments. Sculptures on plinths embellished the grounds and its peak the house had eleven men solely in charge of maintaining the landholding. John Dawson Ducketts son, William Duckett (1822-1908) inherited Duckett Grove on his father’s death. William had no children, and when he died the estate was left to his second wife, Maria Georgina Duckett. Maria moved to Dublin in 1916. Ducketts Grove was left in the care of an agent until in 1921; local farmers took up the running of the house, yet with failure to repay bank loans Ducketts Grove and the left over disputed land was forfeited to the Land Commission. When the building was vacant it was used by the IRA as a training base to mobilize a flying column. A fire occurred in 1933 but it is unknown what caused it. Maria Duckett died in 1937. Olive, Marias daughter from her first marriage had been dispossessed from holding Ducketts in Marias will in 1939, the pair had a difficult relationship. Olive was left with what was known as, ‘the angry shilling’. Carlow County Council obtained Ducketts Grove in September 2005, restoring two bordering walled gardens and was opened in September 2007
Paranormal Investigation 75
The Old Barracks on Bridge Street in Cahersiveen, County Kerry was built between 1870 and 1875 as headquarters for the Royal Irish Constabulary. It was designed by English architect Enoch Trevor Owen (circa 1833-1881) in a style of a Bavarian palace. It boosts two turrets and there is a suspicion that the plans designed for the building got mixed up with those for a structure in India. The Fenian Rising of 1867, organised by the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) caused pressure on the British government. The barracks served to safeguard the telegraphic cable link between Europe and America which had been earlier laid out in 1866. The outbreak of the Irish Civil War (1922-1923) saw a country divided. The Old Barracks was of strategic importance. With Cahersiveen being a haven for Republicans and the opposing Free State Army impinging on their territories, the decision was made by Republicans to halt any campaign on their town. On the 24th August 1922 (two days after Michael Collins death, Military Commander in Chief of the National Army, Pro- treaty) the Old Barracks was destroyed by fire, apparently from local women, acting on behalf of Republican interest. The floors and ceilings were built from wood. Quickly and effortlessly the fire spread, leaving the building as a burnt out shell. Restoration of the Old Barracks occurred between 1991 and 1996 thanks to the appointment of the community development group, Acard, with the objective of bringing employment to the area. The Old Barracks showcases information on local political reformist Daniel O’ Connell (1775-1847) also known as, ‘The Liberator’, the Fenian Rising in Cahersiveen and the Great Southern and Western Railway. An original cell is found on the ground floor of the building
Niddry Street Vaults, Edinburgh, Paranormal Investigation 76
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Paranormal Investigation 77
Ulster Aviation Museum
The museum is located in two former World War Two hangers, inside the Maze Long Kesh Development site in Lisburn, County Antrim. Built around 1941 it served as headquarters for the United States Air Force throughout the war. It was during this period that, “Operation Green”, an invasion plan of Nazi Germany on Ireland put Long Kesh as the main target for an air assault. At least two Short Stirling’s planes (a four engine heavy bomber) were constructed on the site, before manufacturing procedure was moved to another RAF base. The focus then switched to producing aircraft wings at the plant. Other such aircraft to grace the airfield were the Supermarine Spitfire and its naval cousin the Seafire which operated on aircraft carriers. There are over forty aircraft on display at the museum including the Phantom FG.1 “007”, a fast jet used in the Cold war and the Puma HG1 Helicopter XW222, also known as, “Trembling Triple Two”, with a tigers face on its nose. The Ernie Cromie Room exhibits comprise of medals, uniforms, pilot log books and model aircraft. The Fred Jennings Radio Room at the back of the main hanger consists of World War Two ground and aircraft radios. Another notable collection in the museum is of Martin-Baher ejection seats, service badges and survival kits gathered by aviation expert Mal Deeley. You can come up close to mechanical engineering in the Engine Room and sit in a fire truck that was used primarily in putting out infernos in the Belfast Blitz of 1941. From 1971 until 2000, Long Kesh was used to house paramilitary prisoners during the Troubles. From the 1st March 1976 eight “H-Blocks” had been built, officially named as HM Prison Maze.
Paranormal Investigation 78
A school was established in 1828 by the Christian Brothers on Sullivan’s Quay on the south side of Cork city. A new building was built on Saint Patrick’s road, Ballyphehane (one kilometre away) in 1967 consisting of thirteen classrooms, an assembly hall, a library and a pavilion for the adjacent playing field. The school follows the custom left by Edmund Ignatius Rice (1762 – 1844), the founder of the Congregation of Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers institutions. The Christian Brothers helped educate boys for a small fee. The Irish Cristian Brothers were strong supporters of Irish nationalism, the Irish language and Irish sports such as Gaelic football and hurling. Over 1,000 Brothers worked in schools by the mid- 1960s. This amount dramatically dropped by 2008 with only a confirmed number of ten or less teaching students in Irish schools. Records from England show that there were Hiberno (Irish) – Viking houses around Sullivan’s Quay (close to the school) in the late twelfth century. A ‘little harbour’ was situated in the area for small ships and boats to dock. Ballyphehane is one of the oldest suburbs in Cork city, built after the Second World War. Near to the school is Gallows Green (now Greenmount National School and Lough Community Centre) where public hangings took place up until the 1800s. A mass grave was discovered in the area in 1990, containing at least fifteen individuals. The bones were disarticulated (separated at the joints), broken and stacked into orderly piles with the skulls close by. For the first time in a hundred and ninety one years the school took on girls, providing more choice for parents in the area. The schools motto is, ‘Unisleacht’ which is Irish for nobility.
Bran Castle, Transylvania, Paranormal Investigation 79
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Paranormal Investigation 80
King Johns Castle
The Vikings built the first pre-eminent stronghold on Inis Sibhtonn (Kings Island) in 922 where the castle stands today. The Viking sea-king, Thormodr Helgason used this as a base to launch long ships up the River Shannon into Ireland; mainly targeting monasteries. The Anglo-Normans arrived in the area in 1172. Domhnall Mór Ó Briain (Donall the Great), King of Thomond burnt the city to the ground in 1174 in an attempt to stop the invaders. O’ Briain died in 1194. The Anglo-Normans finally captured the area in 1195 under John, Lord of Ireland, who would later become King John (1166-1216). A castle was ordered to be built by the new king on the land in 1200. Construction was completed in around 1210. Limerick flourished as a trading spot and port with the castle monitoring any cargo passing through the estuary. As Limerick prospered King John set up a mint in the North-West corner of the castle. The city became divided. Kings Island was known as, “English Town” while the settlement in the south bank of the river was known as, “Irish Town”. The Siege of Limerick, the first of five took place in 1642. About six hundred English Protestants escaping the Irish Rebellion of 1641 occupied the castle, but were besieged by Irish Confederate forces under there Munster general Garret Barry. With 1,500 men, yet with little artillery Barry ordered his comrades to dig mines underneath the castle walls; planning the collapse of the foundations. He also positioned snipers in the surrounding houses. Finally he cut off the castles food and water supply. Suffering from disease, and many wounded, the English Protestants surrendered. In a period of four weeks between two and three hundred people had died within its walls. Excavations between 1990 and 1998 revealed the Undercroft beneath the original great hall or storehouse. It had been filled with rubble around 1790-1800. Timber-lined tunnels were found, linked to the mining of May and June of 1642. Over 1,000 objects were recovered and a burial pit containing several skeletal remains was discovered behind the Gatehouse. King Johns Castle is regarded as one of the best conserved Norman castles of Europe; the walls, towers and fortifications still intact, and it boasts interactive exhibitions with computer generated animations.
Paranormal Investigation 81
Cork City Gaol
Cork City Gaol is a Georgian gothic style creation built by architect Sir Thomas Deane and designed by William Robertson of Kilkenny. he architecture resembles a castle than a prison. Situated high up on a hill on Convent Avenue, Sundays Well, ideally chosen to contain “Gaol fever” also known as Typhus and replace the overcrowded and unsanitary conditions of the old Gaol at the North Gate Bridge in the city. Construction began in 1818 of the H-plan Gaol, and by 1824 it took in its first prisoners. An Owen Ryan was convicted of criminal assault on a woman named Eliza Phair was the first person to be executed by the entrance gate to the Gaol. The public spectacle (several thousands) took place on Saturday 26th April 1828 and took nearly fifteen minutes to complete. The ‘Execution drop’ didn’t go to plan due to inexperience of the hangman with Ryan convulsing for a lengthy period of time up until his death. By 1868 executions were moved to inside the prison yard because of the frightful sight seen by local residents at the front of the Gaol. A forty foot long rig set up in the prison yard. Known as the Treadwheel, it was a form of punishment used for unlawful inmates. Five prisoners would operate the wheel at a time, working in usually twenty minute shifts. The Great Famine (1845-1849) saw many people commit crimes mainly so they could be fed and clothed in the Gaol. The prison took in both male and female prisoners who perpetrated illegal offences within the city boundary up until 1878, when women were only imprisoned at the Gaol. The Irish War of Independence (1919-1921) saw many female republicans interned at Cork City Gaol. Countess Constance Markievicz (1867-1927) was arrested and charged of making a seditious speech, “advising girls not to walk out with the police and a few other remarks of that sort.” She served four months in Cork City Gaol spending her time writing letters describing how generous the people of Cork were to her and that the Gaol was a comfortable place to stay in. The Irish Civil War (1922-1923) caused the Gaol to take in male and female Republican (anti-treaty) prisoners. Conditions worsened inside Gaol; and shortly afterwards prisoners were either released or transferred to other prisons. From 1927 up to the 1950s the Gaol was used as a radio broadcasting site. In 1993 the Gaol was opened as a visitor attraction.
St Johns Church
Paranormal Investigation 82
The restored gothic-style former Church of Ireland building is located in Ballycahane (close to the village of Portlaw) in County Waterford. St Johns (also known as Guilcagh Church) was designed by architect – William Tinsley (1804-1885). It was built to serve the diocese of Lismore. Tinsley also designed the nearby rectory (constructed 1849). A William A. Darby was documented in the Irish Ecclesiastical Journal (Volume 5, 1849) as being curacy/tenure of Guilcagh. A George Wilson laid the foundation stone of the church on the 15th May 1849. He was interred in a burial plot at Guilcagh on the 7th February 1851, on the very day the ground was consecrated (declared sacred) by the Bishop of Cashel. George was born in 1743, passing away on the 1st June 1850 (aged 107). Other prominent burials that have taken place at the site include a Reverend William Westropp Flemying who was rector for the parishes of Clonegan, Mothel and Guilcagh. He died on the 6th September 1921, and was interred alongside his beloved wife – Mary Fleming who ‘entered into rest’ on the 8th August 1909. Louisa Anne Beresford (Marchioness of Waterford, 1818-1891) is believed to had designed the original stained glass windows. The double-height rectangular plan church is approached by a long path, cloaked by lime trees. It was painstakingly restored in 1998 by the current owners after being in disuse for forty years. The roof had fallen in and the inside was full of tree heaths. Nowadays, the church is a luxurious retreat that accommodates up to six people for a relaxing stay. It comes with added bonuses such as, underfloor heating and impressive views from a curved balcony that overlooks a pulpit.
Paranormal Investigation 83
Cumber House is located in Claudy; a village in County Derry and is under the management of Claudy John Mitchell’s GAC (Gaelic Football Club). The house dates back to between the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century (presumably 1810). The Browne-Lecky family were the first owners. A John Hamilton Browne (born circa 1763 – died 1848) married Jane Matilda Lecky (died 1855) in 1795. They had six children. The death notices from the Londonderry Sentinel from November 18th 1848 read: Browne. On Saturday, the 11th inst, at his residence Comber House, County Derry, J.H.Browne Esq, in the 85th year of his age. His remains were borne by his tenantry to the family vault in Comber Church yard on Thursday last. A Fr James McDonagh was the parish priest in the area at this particular point in time (up until 1859). John and Jane’s son, George Browne (1816-1877) was married to Susan Mary Hilton. He was a Major in the 44th Regiment and held the office of Justice of the Peace (J.P) and Deputy Lieutenant (D.L) for County Derry. They had three sons, who of whom performed duties in the armed services. They all died without heirs. The youngest of their three sons, a William Hamilton Browne Lecky served as a captain in the Royal Navy aboard the HMS Severn. He died on the 12th December 1900 leaving the estate to the last owner – Major Cecil Hamilton Browne Lecky. Major Cecil was buried nearby at Cumber Church. In the 1911 census, Major Cecil Hamilton Browne-Lechy (aged 52) lived at the property, alongside sisters Eveline (48) and Constance (47). Major Cecil was buried nearby at Cumber Church. During World War II, allied armed forces from Britain and America (consisting of 80 engineers) used the house as a billet (a temporally lodgement for soldiers).