Tuesday, 25 May 2021

Emo Court

 Emo Court

Note: This post is a duplicate copy of a page which was incorrectly indexed and named. As such it is on the blog as both a post and a separate page.
 
Emo Court

Emo Court in Laois is described as a Neoclassical Mansion. The house was designed by James Gandon for the Earl of Portarlington in 1790 and its construction took many decades.

Emo Court 

Gandon also designed the Customs House building in Dublin. It is located near the small village crossroads of Emo not far from Portlaoise.

Emo Court

Emo Court is set in the midst of landscaped gardens which contain a variety of trees and shrubs from around the world, many of which have small plaques that indicate their species and country of origin. Entrance to the gardens is free.

Emo Court

 Entrance to the house is dictated by the seasons and guided tours are available for a small fee. I would highly recommend a short tour inside this stately house to view its beautiful interior.

Emo Court and Gardens

It is now in the care of the state and the OPW, who continue their good work to develop this fantastic location. 
The property was previously owned by Cholmeley Harrison and before him the Jesuit order. 

He spent decades restoring the house and relocating its original furnishings from around the world bringing them back to the house at Emo. 

Mr. Harrison (Major Ret.) gifted Emo Court to the people of Ireland in 1994 and he passed away in 2008.

Emo Court, Laois.

The House and gardens themselves are located within woodlands which contain a variety of trees and wildlife including Pine Martins, Buzzards, and Jays. There are many small lodges dotted around the surrounding woodlands.

Emo Court

The gardens at Emo are extremely well kept and it's an ideal spot for a family picnic in summer or a brisk stroll in other seasons.

There is also a nice Tea Room 
(if a little expensive) beside the house and the complete facility is underused so generally nice and quiet in the off season.
 
Update: As of 2021 Emo Court is now busy and being enjoyed by a larger number of visitors then previously was the case. Coach parking has not been installed yet (May/2021).

Emo Court

I have heard described two reasons for the unusual name of Emo itself. 

The first is that the name Emo is a derivative of the Irish word for a bed and the second that the name was taken from a small village in South Africa.

Emo Court

The Irish for a bed is Leaba so the first explanation doesn't seem to add up unless there is another derivative name for a bed.
 
My photographs don't do the site justice. Unfortunately most were taken in bad weather.

Emo Court

The original approach to the house can be walked or cycled but it is unpaved and no longer used as the main entrance. 

It is easily viewed from the house as a long avenue lined with Giant Redwoods (Wellingtonia), Sequoiadendron Giganteum, the largest species of free standing tree on Earth.

Emo Court

There are lots of trails in the surrounding woodland that are enjoyable to navigate by way of Gravel, Cross, or Mountain Bike or simple walking.

Emo Court

Above is an old Folly just off one of the surrounding woodland trails, built in the 1700's.

Emo Court

At one stage in the late 1960's the house was in an almost ruinous condition and Cholmeley Harrison went to see it with a view to purchasing it (£40,000). 

He was advised by a friend that "only a lunatic would buy it".
 
We owe Cholmeley Harrison a debt of gratitude for his foresight and lunacy. Were it not for his actions Emo Court may well have fallen into total disrepair and eventual collapse.

Emo Court

One of Emo Court's attractions must surely be its plants and flowers. I'm not a botanist but there are a wide variety of different species to be found here.

Emo Court

There are large specimens of several tree species which must be close to two centuries old.

Emo Court

Huge Cedar, Monterey Pine, Oak and the venerable Yew 
(Taxus Baccata) are some of the larger trees to be found here.

Emo Court

There are numerous shrubs planted throughout the landscape, apart from the obvious Laurel and colourful Rhododendron which are easily identified.

Emo Court

Some of the smaller trees include several species of decorative Maples (Acer) and the beautiful Dawn Redwoods which really come alive with colour in autumn. Below are some of the larger Oak trees.

Emo Court

The lake at Emo is home to Mute Swans and several duck species along with Coots and Moorhens.

Emo Court

There are a few different signposted walks which are colour coded and signed with wooden posts along the trails in the gardens.

Emo Court
 
A small inlet from the lake is pictured below. There are fish in the lake but I have no idea what species are present. 

I presume among others that Perch, Chubb, Rudd and Pike are present in the waters but I don't know for sure.

Emo Court

Below is what appears to me to be a delightful ornamental species of colourful Acer.

Emo Court

Emo Court

A species of Weeping (copper) Beech which is called Purple Fountain. Its Latin or scientific name is Fagus Sylvatica Purpurea Pendulata. Purple Fountain sounds easier to my ear.

Emo Court

I think the tree below may be a small Dawn Redwood.

Emo Court

Emo Court

A large specimen tree is looming in the background below. 

I'm guessing it's a Cedar tree by it's shape and outline. Whatever it is, it is very majestic looking.

Emo Court

Emo Court

Below is a large specimen Monterey Pine tree at Emo Court as it reaches for the sky.

Emo Court

Laois CC Emo Court

Walnut Tree at Emo Court

Emo Court, Laois

Emo Court

Emo Court

A type of Turkish Maple in the grounds of Emo Court. The size of it's main branching stem gives an indication that this is an old Acer specimen tree.

Emo Court

Emo Court







Thursday, 20 May 2021

Saint Laurence O'Tooles Hand Print

 Bullaun Stone 

Saint Laurence O'Toole's Hand Print

 Saint Laurence O'Toole's Hand Print - Bullaun Stone

Near Knickeen in the Glen of Imaal in Wicklow are two interesting Bullaun Stones.

 Saint Laurence O'Toole's Hand Print - Bullaun Stone

One is known as Saint Laurence O'Toole's Hand Print while the other is unnamed and is a large multiple Bullaun Stone which was submerged under a shallow pool in a marshy area.

Saint Laurence O'Toole's Hand Print - Bullaun Stone

The multiple Bullaun has at least six and perhaps seven depressions carved into it and is quite large. 

It is possible that there are even more Bullauns carved into it which are covered up at present beneath the mud and peat.

 Saint Laurence O'Toole's Hand Print - Bullaun Stone

The area is close to a nearby road and is a small marsh located beside a stream. 

The Bullauns were a little overgrown but not too difficult to locate.

 Saint Laurence O'Toole's Hand Print - Bullaun Stone

Laurence O'Toole was Archbishop of Dublin in the 12th Century and both Laurence and the extended O'Toole family are associated with Glendalough. 

I was a little surprised to find out that he is associated with an obscure Bullaun Stone at Knickeen in Wicklow.

 Saint Laurence O'Toole's Hand Print - Bullaun Stone

Both the Glen of Imaal and these wonderful Bullaun Stones are worth taking the time to visit. It is an area of Wicklow which is a favourite of Hill Walkers and Ramblers alike.

The origins of Bullaun Stones are a complete mystery however most, but not all Bullaun Stones are today located close to ecclesiastical sites and ruins. 

Early ecclesiastical sites would have consisted of wooden buildings which will have left no visible trace in the landscape of today.

It is also entirely possible and even quite likely that Bullaun Stones predate both history and written records and Christianity in Ireland.

If Red flags are flying in the area it is to warn potential Hill Walkers that the nearby Military Firing Ranges are in operation so proceed with caution and stay away from the Range Danger Area's.

 

Saint Laurence O'Toole

 

Co-ordinates here: 

52°59'49.1"N 6°32'44.2"W

52.996978 - 6.545596

Monday, 17 May 2021

Temple Cronan Hiberno-Romanesque Church and Gable Shrines

Temple Cronan (Templecronan, Teampall Chrónáin) is a beautiful old Church believed to originally date from the 12th Century.

Temple Cronan

It is located in Termon, County Clare in the Burren area.

Temple Cronan

There were alterations in the 15th Century to the Church as evidenced by the Gothic style doorway in the North wall.

Tempall Chrónáin

It is believed the Church was founded by a Saint Cronan although which Saint Cronan is unclear. 

Cronan of Roscrea in Tipperary is mentioned often in association with the Church at Termon.

Teampall Chronan

The Church is described as an oratory which includes both Hiberno-Romanesque features and later medieval elements. It has proven difficult to date accurately however it most likely replaced an early wooden Church on the site.

Templecronan

It has many interesting features including carved human heads and animal figures alongside a trabeate (horizontal lintel) style doorway and a beautiful window with Romanesque "button" detailing.

Templecronan

There are two wonderful examples of early Gable Shrines at Temple Cronan. One is sometimes referred to as Saint Cronan's Bed.

Templecronan

These rare Shrines would possibly have contained the remains of early Christian era venerables or important Holy men or women. 

Temple Cronan, Clare

They are believed to predate the Church by several centuries and are perhaps of a 7th Century date. This would make them at least 1,300 years old.

Temple Cronan, County Clare, Ireland

The Church itself is constructed in a "Cyclopean" masonry style which just means large irregular blocks of stone were used in its construction.

Temple Cronan, County Clare, Ireland

There are the remains of some unusual stone enclosures on the approach into Temple Cronan and these too have proven difficult to date. It is impossible to know if these rudimentary enclosures are prehistoric or of a later time period.

Historic Temple Cronan, County Clare, Ireland

Inside the Church is a long rectangular slab which seems to contain a shallow Bullaun although no Bullaun Stone is recorded here.

Temple Cronan, County Clare, Ireland

There are the remains of a High Cross, a Holy Well and a Penitential Station near the Church although I didn't get time to see these on my quick visit. 

Temple Cronan, County Clare.

All in all I was lucky to get to pay a visit as I passed Temple Cronan almost by accident on my travels elsewhere.

Temple Cronan, County Clare.

 With its Burren backdrop and rural location I'll definitely be back for a proper visit sometime again. It seemed to be an almost magical place.

Temple Cronan, County Clare.

Coordinates here : 

53°02'46.3"N 9°03'39.7"W
53.046187, -9.061021

Temple Cronan, County Clare.

Rural, remote and idyllic.

Historic Temple Cronan, County Clare.

Some of the carved stone figures from Temple Cronan.

Temple Cronan

Temple Cronan

Temple Cronan

Temple Cronan

Temple Cronan is signposted from the road which passes it.

TempleCronan

Some images from the nearby Burren which is a Limestone Karst landscape.

The Burren

The Burren

The Burren