Sunday, January 23, 2011

Walking/Photo Journal - Derelict Cottage Piperstown

Derelict Cottage -  Piperstown

One of the first things that struck me about living in the Dublin Mountains was the sense that so much about these surroundings were here long before any of us were born, and will remain long after we are all gone.  But there are elements that are not so safe, and one of those is the numerous derelict buildings that still remain from times past. 

When we came upon our own piece of derelict structure eleven years ago, we felt a connection not just to the land, but to the house itself.  It was in a very sorry state, most of our friends thought us mad, and indeed over the seven years that it took us to get approval for refurbishing the cottage, we did at times agree with them.

Anyhow like all good stories, it had a happy ending, but there were stories about the house, that went beyond the known historical tales attached to it, like the bold Robert Emmet and the Kearney's, both already written into country and local history.  No there was another story to be told, one that we heard much later.

The first time I got a hint of it, we had steel scaffolding up through the belly of the cottage and the daughter of a neighbour, (she was probably about eleven at the time) told me how she used to look up at our house from her Granddad's (Maurice Collins) place, and dream about one day living here, fixing the house up, for it was indeed a house that when you looked up at it from the lower levels of the valley, looked like something out of a childhood fairytale.  Later still, others too came and visited, and each recounted their own tales of the cottage, whether it was playing in it as a child, or revisiting it in later years, and each time they spoke, there was something special from memory in the house for each of them.

Maybe it was because of the history of the place that locals were drawn to it, they too sensing something that went beyond their own years on earth, but somehow our little cottage became part of what this beautiful part of Dublin represents, not just the landscape, but the people and the houses that they once called 'home'.

When I am out walking and I look at the derelict cottages, I think of the people that used to live in them, the ones that are no longer here, and the ones living, that remember these old buildings as part of their family history, for they are as important an element of this place as the hedgerow and the forests, and if we are not careful, we could lose them and their stories for good.

1 comment:

  1. Incredibly well said, Socks. What man has made speaks to us from the time it is made, and the accretion of history, and histories, makes it the more precious.

    And congrats on the renovation/rescue.


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