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The Grand Lodge Weird Thing
 

County

Waterford

Coordinates

N 52° 08' 50.3"   W 007° 57' 47.0"

Nearest town

Lismore

Grid Ref.

X 02579 99438

Map No.

81

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

61

Date of visit

Wednesday 19 June 2013

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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The Grand Lodge seen from the north looks like a scenic set for a fantasy movie. It has a pointed archway as an entrance and a tower used as a guard post and a small two-storey house on each side.


This place is only 3 km from Lismore, signposted on the R666 from Lismore to Fermoy. There's a car park, from where a circular path into the forest starts. The path on the right leads to this folly in less than 3 minutes, 200 metres from the car park.
This was another entrance to the huge mansion that the famous landlord Arthur Kiely-Ussher was going to build after the pressure from his wife Elizabeth who wanted to live in a more majestic residence 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.
Unfortunately this huge initial effort drained out all the money of the Kiely-Ussher family. The cost of both The Grand Lodge and The Towers 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 Grand Lodge consists of a pointed archway entrance between two symmetrical rectangular buildings and round turrets which might have had the main purpose of guard posts. The archway leads towards northwest (330°). The path that from the car park takes up here follows a loop and meets The Tower after five minutes.


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