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The Towers Weird Thing
 

County

Waterford

Coordinates

N 52° 09' 09.1"   W 007° 58' 11.1"

Nearest town

Lismore

Grid Ref.

S 02119 00020

Map No.

74

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

61

Date of visit

Wednesday 19 June 2013

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The first archway we met along the pathway. The dense wood doesn't allow the light to filter and everything gets coverd with moss.


Not far from Lismore there's a place that looks like coming out of a tale book. The site is signposted on the R666 from Lismore to Fermoy, at only 3 km from Lismore and there's a car park, from where a circular path into the forest starts. We took the path on the left. After five minutes walk on the path in the forest there's an archway covered with moss. The sunlight hardly reaches the ground, so the soil, the trees and everything else get colonised by the moss.
After another two minutes walk past the archway the path opens in a clearing and all of a sudden the sight of this extravagant building hits the eyes.
On both sides of a ravine there are two arched entrance gates joined by a bridge.
This weird contruction was built about 1830 by the famous landlord Arthur Kiely-Ussher who was urged by his wife Elizabeth to build a castle more majestic than his brother's. Arthur inherited about 8,000 acres of land, of which 7,000 were rented to tenant farmers and 1,000 were retained by Arthur who wished to use them as a personal demesne.
The works began from these entrance gates. The outer gate has a large entrance through a pointed arch with two tiny castle-like buildings on each side used as guard posts. Above all there's a crenellated tower. The inner gate is a little smaller but not less enchanting.
Between the two gates there's a bridge that copies the style of the main buildings. Unfortunately this huge initial effort drained out all the money of the Kiely-Ussher family. The cost of both the two gates and The Grand Lodge was of £ 2,000. Arthur needed more money to continue his pursuing of grandeur, but the Famine was at the door and the tenants weren't able to pay the rent anymore.
This consequent lack of money could mean the abandoning of the project. Arthur Kiely-Ussher is sadly famous for the cruelty with which he treated his tenants. When they became unable to pay the rent, he evicted them from the lands and knocked down their houses. He replaced the farmers with cattle and sheep in the vain hope to raise the money needed to finish his project. But this didn't happen, the rest of the mansion was never built and Arthur and his wife had to spend the rest of their life in the nearby Ballysaggartmore House, which was demolished many years ago. This might seem the fair reward for the way he treated his people.

The bridge is 18 metres long from gate to gate and is aligned along the northeast-southwest (60°-240) axis, with the outer gate being at southwest.


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