Saturday, March 12, 2011

Walking Photo Journal - The House we live in

Okay I can't do my novel editing today as I am waiting on a man to fix the boiler and for some reason my head never settles into writing unless I feel that for the most part, I won't be disturbed.  Blogging however is different, so while I wait, I will fill you in on a bit of history about the house we live in.  Below by the way are 'before and after images' of part of our humble abode, notably the doorway to the loft bedroom, a room that has seen a bit of history in it's time.  So for those of you who might not know that we live in the cottage (which used to be a public house by the way) where after the Irish Rebellion of 1803 Robert Emmet and his comrades hid in the Dublin Mountains, (the last place in fact that they were together as a group), hopefully you will enjoy this extract from R R Madden's 'The Life & Times of Robert Emmet', published in 1880.

On the night of Wednesday, the 27th July 1803, they left Mrs Bagnal's,declaring that they would not be the cause of any person suffering on their account.  Their bivouac for this night was in a small glen not far distant from Mrs Bagnal's, where the sky was the canvass of their tents, and their only tapers the brilliants of heaven.
Here chilled from the night air and dew, and no doubt suffering from want of food, on the morning of the 28th they made their way to a public house kept by William Kearney, about two and a half miles nearer Dublin than the place where they had spent the night.  After taking such refreshments as the place afforded they still remained, some of them testing the comparative properties of Kearney's Parliamentarian and his home-brewed mountain dew - when Robinson, the barony constable of Upper Cross, who had been all that morning endeavouring to get on their trail, now stepped into Kearney's amongst them; he certainly did not expect to meet them there, and he was near paying a large price for his morning visit but for the host, who protected him from Quigley's ire.  Kearney may be said to be one of themselves, he having fought through the battles of 1798, and was a particular friend of Stafford.  He let them know who this unwelcome visitor was, and saw him away from danger.

In Kearneys' house there was a small upper room, with a very narrow stairs leading to it.  It had scarcely the appearance of an apartment used for ordinary purposes.  It was a cock loft, and had only a small window..  The greater number of the staff, particularly such as had on their uniform, were in this room.  About eleven o'clock, as one of the men was looking out through the window, he perceived a military party, composed of army and yeomen, something more than 500 strong. The latter were commanded by Mr. La Touche, Captain of the Rathfarnham Mounted Corps of Yeomen, and Mr. R. Shaw as second in command.  They were returning from Mrs Bagnal's, where they had been seeking for the refugees.  When they were perceived they were too close upon them to even make an attempt at escape.  The officers then formed a cordon about the house, but their lines were at a tolerable distant from it.  They had no alternative left but to surrender at discretion, or fight as long as they could stand. The house was slated and had tolerable good walls, but very low; and as I observed had no windows to fire out through.  Badly as they were situated for defense against such superiority, they resolved not to surrender with life.  The party consisted of Mr Emmet, Heavy, Quigley, Stafford, Mahon, Wyld, Cummins, two Parrots (brothers), Phepoe and a person under an assumed name, supposed to be Aylmer; Arthur Devlin, John Neil, a brother-in-law to O'Dwyer, and Byrne, who deserted from the Castle guard on the 23rd inst.

The only noise made was the throwing up of hammers of three blunderbusses, and renewing the priming in their pans, Arthur Devlin knelt down in the middle of the floor, with the muzzle of his blunderbuss covering the head of the narrow stairs, his left hand steadily supporting the piece, and his finger laid on the trigger.  All was now as silent as death.  Kearney and his wife stood on the floor below, as mute as Egyptian mummies.  Mr. La Touche and Mr Shaw entered, and some of their men drew a little closer to the house.  Mr. Shaw said, "Well Kearney, have you got any strangers here?"  "No Sir," was the reply; "the house is not large, and you can see easily through it."  Mr. Shaw looked into the tap room whose door was partly open, and then, throwing a look all round, he observed the narrow stairs leading to the apartment where the objects of his inquiry lay crouched for the time like tigers in their lair. Immediately before the gentlemen entered Kearney perceived two or three baskets at the door, which were used for bringing turf down from the mountains by being suspended across a horse's back.  These he laid hold of, and threw one of them on the first step of the stairs, and each of the others over it in a careless and disorderly manner, to give that passage the appearance of not being in frequent use, Mr Shaw still pointing upwards, asked is there any one up here.  "No Sir," said Kearney, with an astonishing firmness, "we made no use of that place but to throw some light lumber on it - it is not able to bear anything heavy on it."  Mr. S had at this time laid one foot on the first step, and was rising the second to ascend, when Mrs Kearney caught the skirt of his coat, and, with a gentle pluck, said - "Oh Sir, if you go up there you will fall down through it and be killed."  Had he advanced another step her last sentence would have been fulfilled, for he would have received Devlin's fire through the head, and the future Sir Robert Shaw's fate would have been sudden and awful; and the family in all probability might have remained since without a title.  Beyond dispute, it was to Kearney and his family that that gentleman owed his life; and strange are the vicissitudes to be met with on the pathway of life, the same William Kearney, his brother, and father, an octogenarian, were executed in 1815 on circumstantial evidence tendered against them for the supposed murder of a ploughman to one of the Shaw family.  I say supposed, for the missing many was never found dead or alive.

* * * * 


  1. Completely fascinating. What a wonderful place to live!

  2. This is really interesting. The other day I was reading an archive on the Wexford uprising - the treatment of the Irish by the landed gentry - pretty grim descriptions taken from transcriptions from a diary.

    I will have to read your post more thoroughly later on; I need to get rolling - lots of work to do today!


  3. Hi Louise,

    That is some house you live in. THe after pictures are just stunning.

    I love the history of your house, money cant buy that.


  4. Not only do you have mountains and gorgeous flowers, you live in a spectacular home! I love the wall of books. I love the staircase.

    I'm coming to live with you. I'm sure I could find plenty of inspiration there.

  5. Thanks Krystal, we might have a wall of books, but we still need more space for books - as the darn things keep arriving!

  6. I'm green! Pea pea pea green! Must have taken some work tho.

  7. I loved that story, it must be amazing to live in a home with such history. The house looks beautiful you are truly blessed.

  8. Yes Michelle, you can't buy history - and it does make it very special!

    Lots of work Caren - a labour of love is the way most of our friends have described it - or pure nuts - and years of planning applications!!

    Thanks tattoodevil13 - Yes we are blessed, I have to say, I love it here!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...