Thursday, 16 June 2011

Rathcoursey & Igthermurrah

I'm afraid I'm going to butcher this one because I'm rushing it, but I really have to get to aerobics class this morning. I went for a run on Tuesday and had to walk the last km, which was lame, and even with taking it easy on Tuesday I'm sore now. Vacationing took a toll.

Rathcoursey is an estate that was in Ken's direct family line. Today it is owned by Finn-bar & Claire and their two daughters.  They were delighted to have us show up on their doorstep, particularly because Sue was so knowledgeable about the history of their home.

A large estate is impossible for a family to keep up on their own. The grasses and flowers are swallowing up the shorter walls in the former stable area.

Though I'm not sure I'd try to keep it up, there's something picturesque about all the decay.

Ken coined a new phrase while we were there. Something about Rathcoursey being a "5M" or "5 Mexican" estate, referring to the need for hired help to restore and maintain it.

This wall is the oldest part of the estate - the tiny pink roses were so fragrant, too bad there's no digital scratch and sniff options out there.

Clearly the house is newer than the rest of the grounds - it dates as 1773. Like all estates, ruins, castles, and churches we visited, Rathcoursey was built in phases.

A large part of the finances that went into building Rathcoursey came to James Tynte Smyth from his brother, Beverly, who lived at Igthermurrah, but it's a tragic story. One evening Beverly was taken captive in his own home and threatened by robbers to give up his gold. Beverly had instructed a servant to throw his bag of gold into a nearby lake, and refused to reveal his hiding place. This enraged the robbers who threw him into his own fireplace. Beverly was brought to his brother, James' home, where he succumbed to his injuries and died three days later - leaving his gold to James.

Igthermurrah today.

We had to battle nettles and shrubbery, but it was well worth the effort.

Possibly the fireplace into which Beverly Smyth was thrown. It's easy to romanticize the past,
and fantasize about how much my kids would love romping around a large estate, but this
sight was a little sobering.


Marie said...

Some of those pictures made me think you'd found a real-life Secret Garden. Beautiful.

I bet Dad would love to hear Ken's 5-M rule.

Amanda said...

The beauty, the tragedy and history! Wonderfully documented.

G-Ma said...

A note of correction... James Tynte Smyth built Rathcoursey in 1773.

Barb said...

Ha! I couldn't read Ken's writing in his journal.