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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.
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.
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).
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.
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
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