A photographic archive of buildings throughout County Wicklow. Whether it is a grand country house or vernacular cottage, all building types with a historical interest are of heritage importance.
Circa 16th/17th century. The lands at Dunganstown were part of the estate of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem and these were granted in 1597 to Sir John Hoey after the dissolution of the monasteries. The house/castle was probably built in the early 17th century. It consists of a central rectangular block with three storey’s and an attic. It has Jacobean or Dutch gables with two rectangular wings extending from either side. A stair tower is attached to the north side of the main block.
Internal features include traces of plaster (probably original) and a fireplace on the first floor. The attic appears to have been reached by a wooden stairs. The site was apparently damaged in the 1640’s and was in ruins in 1655-6 according to the Down Survey. See National Monuments Service for further information.
The Mottee Stone
Photo of tourists visiting the Mottee Stone on the Croneblane Ridge near Avoca circa early 20th century. The stone is a huge granite boulder, weighing about 150 tons and has been a well known landmark in the area for many years. It is said that the five counties surrounding Wicklow can be viewed from the rock on a clear day, while in very good weather the mountains of Wales can be spotted across the Irish Sea.
Folklore of the area says that the Mottee Stone was the hurling ball of the great Fionn Mac Cumhaill who hit it from the top of Lugnaquilla Mountain to top of this hill. Another legend states that every year on May Day the stone rolls down the hill to drink at the Meeting of the Waters!
The stone is a glacial erratic which was plucked from its home granite bedrock by a glacier over 10,000 years ago. It is about 13km from the nearest likely granite source in Glenmalure. Iron rungs have been embedded into the stone to act as a ladder, which allows you to climb the 2.4 metres to the top. Apparently a rich Landlord got some Miners of Avoca to put them there so his wife-to-be could climb up them and have a look at the size of his estate from the top of the stone. See Visit Wicklow for further information.
Thomas Acton II built The Queen Anne style house in 1697 from stone salvaged by the old abbey buildings which were previously on the site. Designed by architect, Sir William Robinson (whose best-known work is the Royal Hospital Kilmainham). The five bay mansion was one of the first unfortified houses of the time in County Wicklow and is one of the few remaining (albeit in a ruinous state) early paneled houses in Ireland. Comprising five reception rooms and eight bedrooms, the house was perched on a hill facing east. (Also known locally as Kimacurra)
Sadly, in 1976 the house suffered a major fire, the flames destroying the entire interior. The house has sat derelict ever since. The ruins of the home sit on the grounds of the National Botanic Gardens at Kilmacurragh, sister gardens to (and curated by) the National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin in Dublin. See National Botanic Gardens Kilmacurragh for further information.
Dwyer McAllister Cottage
This vernacular building is a fine example of a traditional thatched cottage built with local stone and whitewashed inside and out. It was the scene of a famous shootout during the 1798 Rebellion, where the famed rebel Michael Dwyer fought off the surrounding British troops and made good his escape over the snow covered mountains. Following a fire, the cottage lay in ruins for almost 150 years but was later restored to its original form. See Heritage Ireland for further information.
Russborough was built between 1741 and 1750 and is regarded as one of Ireland’s most beautiful houses. It has magnificent views of the Blessington Lakes and Wicklow Mountains. The house which is beautifully maintained and lavishly furnished contains fine furniture, tapestries, carpets, porcelain, silver and much of the Beit collection of paintings. It also has beautiful ceilings, plaster work and a fine mahogany staircase.
Built in 1741, Russborough House has been perfectly preserved with all original features still intact. Possibly the greatest Palladian mansion in Ireland and one of the best preserved 18th-century buildings in the whole country. See Russborough House for further information.
Established in 1608, Woodenbridge Hotel is the oldest hotel in Ireland. A Coaching Inn on the old Dublin-Wexford highway, the premises became a very popular staging post for merchants engaged in commerce between Dublin and the South-East.
Woodenbridge Inn was central to the great Wicklow Gold Rush of 1796. Everyone from the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland to Sir Walter Scott called to the premises en route to visit the gold works. Eamon De Valera, actually spent his honeymoon at the Woodenbridge Hotel. The room in which Eamon and Sinéad De Valera stayed on their honeymoon is now named in their honour. See Woodenbridge Hotel for further information.
Originally a hunting lodge built c.1750, Glenart Castle in Arklow was extended in the 1800’s and again in 1840 to the building we know today. Also known as Kilcarra Castle, it was partially burnt in 1920, but the family continued to reside in the undamaged section.
At the roadside there are two small matching picturesque gate lodges. It was sold to a religious order in the 1940s who added the vast wing of bedrooms. It is now a hotel. See Buildings of Ireland for further information.
The Dúchas Schools Collection of folklore compiled by schoolchildren in Ireland in the 1930’s includes a story about Glenart here.