These pages describe ByRoute 3 between Mountgarret Castle (Co. Wexford) and Lismore (Co. Waterford).
Ferrymountgarret / Mountgarret Bridge across the River Barrow,built in 1930 with a Scherzer mechanism lifting span which has not been used for many years. The longer name suggests that there may once have been a ferry here. (Photo by kind permission of http://irishwaterwayshistory.com)
This was the point on the county boundary where in 1821 the members of a jury who had been unable to agree on a verdict at Wexford Assizes were unceremoniously dumped by order of the judge.
Mountgarret & The Rower (Co. Kilkenny / South)
Mountgarret / Mountgarrett / Mount Garrett is a small village on the northern side of the River Barrow seperating County Kilkenny from County Wexford and, upstream, County Carlow.
Philip Hore‘s History of the Town and County of Wexford Volume 1 (1900) says: “The earliest notice we can trace of this locality is dated 4 Edw. II, 1311, 8th June, when the King granted a license to Robert Russel, of Ross, that he might acquire to him and his heirs for ever of Agnes, daughter of John Kempe, two carucates and 52 acres of land in Mongaret, Near Ross, which are within the Manor of Old Ross, Which belonged to Roder le Bygod, late Earl of Norfolk and Marshal of England, and are held of the King in capite *. “[note: a carucate was the equivalent of about 120 acres].
The footnote adds, mainly with reference to the eponymous castle south of the River Barrow, that “The Butlers had nothing to do with Mountgarrett till the time of Henry VIII.”
Mountgarret is very close to New Ross (Co. Wexford) on ByRoute 2.
The Rower (An Robhar) is a small, quiet village that shares its name with an old civil parish, aka Rochar / Roar; dominated by the slopes of Brandon Hill and Cullintra Hill, the district is known for its beautiful scenery.
Coolhill Castle, a ruined C13th structure with two circular towers in a fair state of preservation, stands 60m / 200ft above the River Barrow, with lovely views of the wooded area by the southern shoulder of the Blackstairs Mountains.
Dahlia Garden, a half-acre collection of 300 varieties of dahlias together with a large selection of chrysanthemums and herbaceous plants, is open from July to September.
St Brendan’s church (RC) at Clodiagh has a very attractive interior. The building is said to date from about 1700; locals claim that its location was so remote that it was bypassed by English forces who were trying to destroy all of the Roman Catholic churches in Ireland. (Photo – © Gerry)
The Coachouse, an attractive converted edifice beside a courtyard adjoining Andy and Anne Jones’ lovely early C19th Glebe house, is available for self-catering holiday rental.
Cullintra House is a quirky early Georgian farmhouse run as a B&B / guesthouse by Patricia Cantlon, who provides long leisurely breakfasts and exceptional evening meals.
The Rower is not far from Graiguenamanagh on ByRoute 4.
Brownsford Castle, for many centuries a FitzGerald stronghold, was acquired in 1867 by a landlord called Pierce Francis Garvey, who set about evicting his tenants the following year. “There were people who had built their own stone cabins with their bare hands in Brownsford, which was in itself a village with a row of houses…The landlord, the police, under the charge of the Resident Magistrate..and the crow-bar brigade (from Thomastown) arrived and.. the work of demolition continued until twenty families had been left with only the bare walls of their homes standing.. the cries and screams that rent the air are more easily imagined than described…. taking shelter wherever they could, more frequently than not within those bare walls, their lives wrecked.” Garvey built the walls around his castle from the stones of the cabins he had destroyed. Many families walked away and up the hill to cross over to New Ross to board the emigration vessel to Quebec, including Mrs Ellen Dunphy, who wrote the letter here quoted.
Inistioge (Co. Kilkenny / Central)
Inistioge / Inistiogue / Ennisteage (Inis Tiog) is a romantic village, scenically located between wooded hills on a winding stretch of the River Nore, spanned here by an impressive 10-arch bridge. (Photo – www.tourismresources.ie)
According to tradition, Inistioge was the location of an early Christian monastic community founded by or dedicated to Saint Columcille.
The earliest recorded mention of Inistioge is in the C16th Annals of the Four Masters, referring to a battle between the kingdom of Osraighi and an army of Norsemen in the year 962 AD.
The Augustinian Priory founded in 1210 by Sir Thomas FitzAnthony Walsh, Seneschal of Leinster, is now in ruins. The ivy-clad tower is commonly known as the Black Castle.
The church of St. Mary (CoI), primarily a C16th edifice, incorporates the medieval nave and Lady Chapel of the older structure, and has its own splendid White Tower.
Interesting features include a floor slab commemorating the first prior, Alured; a C12th font of Somerset stone; and an 8-point raised cross honouring William Bosser (1650).
There are various monuments to the Tighe family, including an effigy by Flaxman of the poetess Mrs Mary Tighe (d.1810) (also commemorated by a statue in Florence’s Galleria dell’Accademia); she is buried in an elaborate mausoleum in the churchyard, near some interesting early C17th tombstones.
Fragments from the mediaeval cloister are incorporated into the perimeter walls of the parish church of St Columcille (RC), erected in 1836.
The tree-lined village green is very attractive.(Photo by Edward)
The old castellated edifice on the west side of the square was originally a C14th merchant’s house. The obelisk commemorates David Fitzgerald, Baron of Brownsford (d.1621). Sarah Fownes Tighe built an almshouse for local widows in 1780, and the handsome fountain was erected in 1879 to the memory of William Tighe by his widow.
There is a charming towpath along the banks of the River Nore. The stretch of deep water between here and Thomastown is said to be superb for angling. Fishing licences / permits are available locally.
Mount Sandford Castle, erected in 1769, is a ruined folly commanding spectacular vistas over Inistiogue and the River Nore valley. It can be reached by a riverside and forest walk from the village.
Woodstock House, now a ruin, was built in 1745 by the architect Francis Bindon for Sir William Fownes, whose daughter later married William Tighe (1766 – 1816). Wings designed by Daniel Robertson were added c.1806, and a decorative iron staircase was installed c.1850 by Richard Turner. (Photo by Edward)
Sir William was the Guardian of his cousin Sarah Ponsonby, who shared her friend Eleanor Butler‘s distaste for marriage. They ran away together and become famous as the Ladies of Llangollen; their house was frequented by writers and poets including Byron, Shelley, Wordsworth, Southey and Scott.
The Tighe family lived at the house until 1918. (Photo c.1860). Captain Tighe was murdered in London during WWI by a French burglar called De Stamer, who was hanged. Bryan Tighe disappeared during WWII tank fighting.
During the War of Independence, the house was occupied by a company of British Auxiliaries; taken over by the Irish Free State army, it was burnt by Republicans during the Irish Civil War, and has deteriorated badly since, but is due for restoration.
Woodstock Demesne was laid out during the C19th by Lady Louisa Tighe (née Lennox) with head gardeners James Butler and Scotsman Charles MacDonald.
Woodstock Gardens & Arboretum comprise 50 beautiful acres and four miles of footpaths with glorious views. The famous avenue of 130 South American monkey-puzzle trees is the longest of its kind in Europe, and the Noble Fir Avenue is also very impressive. The Ladies’ Walk leads to an exit gate in the estate wall beside an impressive stand of Californian Redwoods. Other interesting features include the old Dovecote, the Ornamental Dairy and a shooting lodge near the river called the Red House.
George Brown (1906 – 1937), an International Brigades volunteer killed in the defence of Madrid against Franco’s troops during the Spanish Civil War, is honoured by a plaque in the old graveyard and a tree in Woodstock demesne.
Inistiogue’s annual Vintage Rally, held on the Sunday of the August Bank Holiday Weekend, attracts elderly cars, bikes and other such noisy machines from all over Ireland.
The village was used for the filming of Circle of Friends (1993) and Widow’s Peak (1994).
There are several good eateries, notably the café / bistro named after Maeve Binchy‘s oevre, Footlights, and Bassetts in Woodstock.
The Motte is an upmarket restaurant in a Georgian building on the edge of the village.
The Old Schoolhouse is a quaint coffee & crafts shop serving delicious homemade soup, sandwiches and cakes.
The Woodstock Arms is a friendly pub with highly rated B&B accomodation facilities; Lenihan’s and O’Donnell’s also serve excellent pints.
Grove Farm House is the 200-year-old home of Nellie Cassin, who provides good B&B accommodation and helpful tips for travellers.
Inistogue is not far from Graiguenamanagh on ByRoute 4.