Discover The Thatched Cottages Of Ardmore And Grange, Waterford

Discover The Thatched Cottages Of Ardmore And Grange, Waterford

When you visit Ardmore, you’ll be struck by the diversity and uniqueness of the houses that colour this small village.

In particular, you’ll see the two fine thatched cottages that proudly frame the Main Street.

But, thatched cottages have become less visible in the landscape of Ireland today.

Once they defined a heritage whereas now they sadly reflect a passing tradition.

Thatched Cottages In Ardmore Waterford

A Moment In Time

However, the branch of the local ICA understood the importance of celebrating this skilled work. They also saw that the numbers of thatches were in decline.

That’s why they undertook a survey of the thatched cottage in Ardmore and Grange Waterford that we present here.





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We include some more images of thatched cottages as collected as part of this research.

  1. Mrs Connery, Rath
  2. Hallorans, Rath (Hubbards Cross) – Spire in back yard.
  3. unknown (do let us know if you can identify this cottage)
  4. Lickey Bridge
  5. Geogh
  6. Lynch
  7. Lincoln
  8. Geogh

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The main picture of this post is of a painting known as Mary Cuddihy’s Cottage By Isadell O Dell (1871 – 1943). This cottage was identified by Martin Troy in the report as being in Lower Curragh.

Did You Know That There Was A Castle In Ardmore?

Did You Know That There Was A Castle In Ardmore?

Even in the height of summer, the small village of Ardmore always seems peaceful.

It also doesn’t seem designed to be defended.

So just imagine when a mighty force entered the village to lay siege. Canons being called. A village under attack. And, then what concluded in the mass execution of prisoners of war.

But, this is not a work of fiction.

It actually happened on an historic day in 1642.

How do we know?

Well, we have an eyewitness account.

Anyone who’s been fortunate to read the eyewitness account of the siege of Ardmore in 1642 may be wondering where Ardmore Castle was located?

Well, the sad answer is that we really are not that sure.

We have however found some further reference points which may help to identify its location a bit better.

The Journal of Waterford and South Kilkenny Archaeological Society in 1898 is a great starting point for a discussion for Ardmore Castle Co. Waterford

“The following items respecting Ardmore Castle – for an account of whose siege (in January number of the Journal) we are so greatly indebted to Mr. James Buckley, London – are taken from a now extremely rare little work, by that devoted antiquarian, the late Mr Edward Fitzgerald, of Youghal, which was published in 1852 under the title, “A Hand-book to the ‘Holy Citie’ of Ardmore, by F.  Ochille (i.e.,Fitzgerald, Youghal). Youghal, printed by  John W. Lindsay “Little now (1852) is left of Ardmore Castle to remind us of its past importance but irregular grass-grown heaps of rubbish and the remnant of its ancient fosse. Originally it covered a considerable area, as the remains of its outworks appear extensive still-the fosse extending down the side of the hill and across the road to the village. The fields here still retain their ancient names, and as Monere-a-cushlane, i.e., the Castle Meadows. Some of the houses in the village, we have been informed, were built from the stones of the ruined stronghold. The castle originally belonged to the Mernin family, and Smith, in his History of the County of Waterford, says he saw a deed of the date 1197 settling lands here on the Mernins by a Danish lady named Christiana Hydorothy – the Danes having had a considerable settlement at Ardmore. This would give grounds for assigning the foundation of the castle to the beginning of the thirteenth century, that is, soon after the deed of settlement. In 1497 Perkin Warbeck, the Pretender, occupied the castle for a brief period. From it he sent his summons to Waterford to surrender to him, and left his wife in safe keeping there whilst – he went to besiege that city.

Ardmore Waterford

The ‘Annals of Youghal’ for 1852 (by Canon Hayman), record that “in 1591 the manor, lordship and castle of Ardmore were leased to Sir Walter Raleigh for IOO  years. But in 1593 Sir John Dowdall, knight, late of Piltown, ejected Raleigh, and kept possession for many years.” In Frazer’s Magazine, for 1845, it is stated that in the early part of the 17th century Ardmore Castle was inhabited by Sir Edward Harris, Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas who is said to have lived here in a style of cumbrous magnificence like an ancient feudal noble. He owned the rectorial or great tithes of Ardmore, which’ were then mostly paid in kind, and as the tenth of everything was demanded, the courtyard of the castle and the buildings around it were crowded with flocks and herds and gorged with corn, etc. Chief Justice Harris had a numerous family, one son and twelve daughters, and it is said that whenever he went to visit any of the nobility or gentry of the county he rode at the head of so numerous a train that it covered a mile of ground. It is also said of him that he kept at one time no less than seventy brood mares of a peculiar breed. One enduring memento of Lord Harris as the country people sometimes call him, is a well near the gate of the Protestant church, which is named after him the Justice’s Well.” In 1692 the castle was besieged and taken by Lord Broghill, a son of the Great Earl of Cork, and 140 of the garrison put to the sword. (This was the siege of which Mr. Buckley has furnished the Journal with a contemporary account.) The last record we have of Ardmore Castle is that in the early part of the eighteenth century Mr. Odell’s great grandfather kept hounds in it when he visited Ardmore and that some 50 years subsequently considerable portions of this stronghold were standing.”

Dr. Pococke’s Irish Tour, 1752 also makes a small reference to a ruined castle in Ardmore.

“Kinsale beg is opposite to Youghall, where the church was roofed and covered by Bishop Milles, but all the Protestant inhabitants leaving the Parish it was not finished. Near it is Prospect Hall, the seat of Mr Bernard, from which there is a fine view of Youghall on the river which is built up the side of a hill, a little like the situation of Constantinople, to the south west was a fine Strand four miles long, but by some accident was spoiled for riding: Pilestown is the estate of the Walshes

Ardmore. where judge Walsh lived, who is supposed to be the  author of the forged Commission in favour of the Irish  Rebels, in the time of King Charles the first, according  to the Author of the County of Waterford. We now leave the river and turn eastward along the shore and soon came to Ardmore, the great (head or height) from a head of land at this place; It was anciently the See of a Bishop Patrick founded by St. Declan of this county who was the first Bishop, about the time of St. Patrick: They say, he founded a Monastery here, which might be at the old church over the Sea-cliff; where there are remains of a very ancient building; the Cathedral probably was where the present parish church is, at the west end of which are some curious old reliefs of Saints, of Adam and Eve, etc: the chancel only is covered for the Parish church. Near it is a small square building where St. Declan is buryed: there is the finest and best built round tower here in the  Kingdom, fifteen feet in diameter and above a hundred high, it is divided into five parts by four water tables, there are at top two or three beams of timber for hanging a Bell, for which use it certainly served, there being very plain channels in the stones at the bottom of the door worn by the ropes.

There are also remains of an old Castle here; on the head of land were formerly lead mines, and searching of late for ore they found they were worn out, This parish extends a great way into the mountains to the north and four miles to the eastward.

There is a great Pattern held here on St. Dedans day and penances are performed by creeping under a stone, concerning which they have some strange tradition: old mines also are seen over the mountains, which if I mistake not, are said to have been Iron mines.”

We return to The Journal of Waterford and South Kilkenny Archaeological Society in 1899

“Smith, our county historian, tells us that, in 1197, a Dane of Ardmore settled a tract of land, in that ancient cathedral town, on a family called Mernin; and, “this tract continued in the same name and family to the year 1745, when they sold it“  Ardmore Castle was built at this time: it certainly dates from the period 1191-1198.

Wm. Wenman Seward, esq. in 1797 in “The topography of Ireland, ancient and modern. Giving a complete view of the civil and ecclesiastical state of that kingdom; with its antiquities, natural curiosities, trade, manufactures, extent and population” also makes reference to the ruin of a castle




Curiously there is no mention of the castle ruins in an 1810 edition of A topographical dictionary of Ireland: exhibiting the names of the several cities, towns, parishes, and villages … Collected from the most authentic documents, and arranged in alphabetical order: being a continuation of the topography of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland / by Nicholas Carlisle, Fellow and Secretary of The Society of Antiquaries of London.

So where was it located?

If you have any further information on Ardmore Castle, we would love to hear from you.

The Teaser Ardmore

Learn How A Group Of Men Became Heroes Overnight

No trip to Ardmore is complete without exploring the stories of the wrecks that litter it’s coastline.

And, one of the most vivid accounts is that of the loss of the Schooner Teaser.

Not just because of the sad tale of the loss of life on that fateful night. But, also for how this event changed the lives of local men who were propelled into the realm of heroes.

Discover the events as they unfolded on that night.

On Saturday morning, March 18th, 1911, the schooner “Teaser” of  Montrose, was wrecked at Curragh, Ardmore with the loss of all hands, during a terrible storm. Read more

Step Back To Reveal A Tradition In Ireland’s Ancient East

Step Back To Reveal A Tradition In Ireland’s Ancient East

People have been interested in what was happening in Ardmore for hundreds of years.

And, the roots of Ardmore’s heritage run deep.

The following extracts represent early references to life in Ardmore and in particular to the feast of St Declan on the 24th July.

These extracts come from the antiquities and history of Ireland, by the right honourable Sir James Ware (1594-1666). Containing 1. His inquiries into the antiquities of Ireland. 2. His annals of Ireland from the first conquest by the English. 3. His commentaries of the prelates of Ireland. 4. His Two books of the writers of Ireland. 5. By way of appendix is added that rare and admirable discourse of Sir John Davis, knight, of the cause why Ireland was no sooner reduced to the obedience of the crown of England. Now first published in one volume in English; and the life of Sir James Ware prefixed. Read more

Shaped By Our History – Ardmore, 1824

Shaped By Our History – Ardmore, 1824

Heritage in Ireland can get under your skin.

But for some visitors, you can never get enough of a good thing.

And, this is what we love.

Their search for knowledge is our inspiration to find and preserve more and more of the rich heritage that surrounds us here in Ardmore.

We include this early extract from Researches in the South of Ireland: illustrative of the scenery, architectural remains, and the manners and superstitions of the peasantry / by T. Crofton Croker ; with an appendix containing a private narrative of the Rebellion of 1798. which should satisfy any visitor that is looking for historical detail.

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Ireland’s Ancient East – Unpicking The History Of Ardmore

Ireland’s Ancient East – Unpicking The History Of Ardmore

If you’ve been exploring Ireland’s Ancient East, you’ve discovered that there’s never a dull moment when visitors start to unpick history. When you arrive in Ardmore, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

And, this is a site where stories is shared about Ardmore. Some stories come from visitors, others from those that have called Ardmore home for their entire lives.

Ardmore Waterford

Here are two reports that we particularly like from the start of the 1800’s.

Here is a short extract by Wm. Wenman Seward, esq. in 1797. It is taken from “The topography of Ireland, ancient and modern. Giving a complete view of the civil and ecclesiastical state of that kingdom; with its antiquities, natural curiosities, trade, manufactures, extent and population.” Read more

Did A Bell Ever Ring Out Over Ardmore Bay?

Did A Bell Ever Ring Out Over Ardmore Bay?

For any visitor to Ardmore, there’s a historic presence forever in your heart.

And, there’s no better way to understand the past than by walking around the historic sites of Ardmore.

Most visitors sonon find that no structure strikes more of a chord with visitors than the Round Tower of Ardmore. Especially, as it looms large over the skyline of this wonderful village.

Many have also pondered on what was the purpose of the Tower? And, some have even speculated whether there used to be anything contained within the Tower.

For example, in the Tour In Ireland, (1806) printed By William Savage, Bedford Burt there is some additional discussion on whether there was a bell in the tower.

The same author observes, in his History of Waterford, “that the Round
 Tower at Ardmore, had been evidently used as a belfry, as a part of the oak beam remained 
from which the bell was suspended; and that 
two channels were cut in the cill of the door,
 where the rope came out; and thus the bell was
 sounded by the ringer, who stood below on the
outside of the doorway.”

In the first volume of the English Archaeologia, is a dissertation, (with a view) on the
 Round Tower of Ardmore, by Peter Collinson, which is little more than a repetition of
the remarks made by Dr. Smith. This paper is
 answered in the second volume of the same 
work, by Owen Salusbury Brereton, Esq.
 who says, “When I lately made the tour of
the south-west parts of Ireland, I saw several 
of these buildings, called usually Penitential
 Towers; not one of them had either belting or 
girting, nor the least sign of their having been 
any room in them, till within ten feet of the 
top: that room had windows exactly facing 
the cardinal points; from thence, downward to
 the entrance, which is about fifteen feet from 
the surface of the ground, only a few slits were
 cut, just to give light to persons going up
 and down stairs.” This author thinks them to 
be of Irish construction, but prior to the use of

Round Tower Ardmore

In the History of paganism in Caledonia, with an examination into the influence of Asiatic philosophy, and the gradual development of Christianity in Pictavia by Thomas Alexander Wise (1884) there is further discussion on the Round Tower in Ardmore.

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He continues to discuss other aspects of Towers and ritual:



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Bloody Heads From Fighting Were Not Uncommon

Bloody Heads From Fighting Were Not Uncommon

Ardmore is just waiting to be explored.

It provides a remote getaway. A base for action-packed adventures on the water. And, every other sort of escape that you could desire in between.

And, like any visitor, you may choose to keep a diary of your experience.

But, we are confident that you’ll never experience what one visitor did in 1911.

It’s a wonderful cautionary tale of excess.

Enjoy this melancholy scene from the notebook of a gentleman of high attainments and undoubted 

22nd July. Arrived this evening at Ardmore, preparations already making for the due 
celebration of the Patron’s day; visited the dormitory of St. 
Declan; an old meagre figure had possession of the grave, in 
which she ate, drank, and slept, that none other might claim a right to it; one half of her only appeared above ground; the last 
supply of earth for the approaching demand had just been put in; she recommended us strongly to take a portion in the name of 
God and the blessed Saint (on pronouncing the latter name she 
with due reverence dropped a low curtsey), as a preventive against 
fire, drowning, etc, etc., if eaten with due faith.

23rd. Barrels 
of porter and whiskey arriving by sea and land in numbers, already three hundred have landed, and every avenue teems with 
figures moving along to pay their devotions. 10 o’clock.

Commenced my rounds, though the 24th is the Patron’s day; walked 
down to the sea shore, where a few yards below high water mark 
is the far-famed stone that in the fourth century (before the arrival of Saint Patrick) came floating over from Rome at the 
prayer of St. Declan, with a bell upon it for the edification of 
the Irish. On our way, we passed through assembled multitudes pitching tents, fastening up carts and cars as dwellings, arranging their goods, and now and then fighting, without which Paddy cannot live long in good humour; passed on, here the first scene 
began, and I counted 154 persons kneeling round the stone, fresh 
comers every moment succeeding those who had told their beads 
and said their prayers. I watched their motions as they approached the stone; they took off their hats, then lowly bowed 
their heads, and dropped their knees on the pointed rocks; here they repeated several prayers, telling over their beads; then
solemnly drew near and reverentially kissed the unformed mass several times, then bumped their backs against it three times, 
drew back in awe, dropped again on their knees repeating more 
prayers, and silently retired; children in arms were pressed down 
till their little mouths touched the holy stone.

St Declan's Well Ardmore Waterford

The crowd then 
formed a long line winding up the narrow path that leads along the mountain’s brow to St. Declan’s chapel; here, too, I went: 
the scenery was beautiful as we looked over the precipitous cliffs 
across the bay of Ardmore. On the brink stand the remnants of 
a chapel, said to be the first built in Ireland. On entering the gateway, on your right hand, is the well St. Declan blessed; a
narrow doorway leads to it, a formidable figure had possession 
of it, and dealt out in pint mugs to those who paid; some drank it, some poured it on their limbs, their head, their backs, in the 
most devout manner; some claimed a second portion to bottle 
and carry home to sick relatives, or to preserve their houses from fire; they then knelt down to the well, and said their prayers; 
after which, devoutly turning round, they repeated their prayers 
to a little mount, under which had been the east window, crept on their knees to it, kissed it, said more prayers, crossed themselves, and walked on; here the crowd of mendicants was great, and the miserable objects of deformity more lamentable than I 
had ever seen, and too disgusting to detail; the crowd now wound 
higher up the hill, inclined back again, and proceeded to the 
grave, here they knelt again in the most abject posture, saying 
prayers, and waiting for their turn to be admitted into the little dormitory, where the old hag distributed the earth, and gave 
lectures on its efficacy, as preventing drowning, burning, etc.

A few yards brought us to the far-famed round tower, the most perfect in Ireland; here again the devout pilgrims repeated prayers 
and told their beads, and knelt with the utmost humility, kissed 
the tower, broke off pieces, which they carried away; then the 
whole crowd filed off to the chapel, which was open to receive them, 
and mass was celebrated in all due form; here the devotions of 
the day ended; at twenty different periods I counted the people 
as they passed; they averaged fifty-five a minute, which gives a 
total of 12 or 15,000 persons; these numbers accorded with other calculations.

The tents, sixty-four in number, are now complete, eating, drinking, dancing, occupy the multitude. One figure is walking about with a boiled leg of mutton and salt in one hand, 
a big knife in the other, vociferating ‘a cut for a penny! ‘a cut 
for a penny!’ here cheese and fish are selling; some tents contain 
gaming-tables; but the great body of persons are going round
as on yesterday; they are more numerous, a few force themselves 
under the stone, praying as they crawl with difficulty.

o’clock: All now appears confusion, every man is drunk, and every woman is holding a man back from the deadly combat; bloody knees from devotion, and bloody heads from fighting are not uncommon.

Eight o’clock: Three cabins are now blazing furiously, not a vestige can be saved; such a scene fighting, pulling; drinking whiskey, holy-water; crying, cursing I have never seen.

Nine o’clock: Fire nearly subdued for want of fuel; here comes 
the old Jezebel from the grave, covered with earth, half naked, 
and yellow as the clay of which she bears a portion, and is strewing it in places the fire cannot reach, to show its virtue in destroying that devouring element.

25th Tents nearly struck; a few of the most devout remain to complete their devotions.

Seven o’clock All is still again, and Ardmore is again a mere secluded village.

Taken From Ireland: its scenery, character and history, by Mr. & Mrs. S. C. Hall, illustrated from paintings by F. S. Walker and photographs (1911).