Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Two reminders of past
agricultural practices on
the edges of Askeaton
On my way back from photographing the former Barracks and Dispensary in Askeaton yesterday afternoon, I noticed two other items of architectural interest that illustrate the way in which many architectural treasures that illustrate Askeaton’s past are often hidden from public view.
The gates that mark the entrance into Inchirourke House, for generations the home of the O’Grady family, have stood at the top of Barracks Lane for over 200 years.
This pair of square-profile limestone gates was erected about 1800. The piers have carved plinths, recessed panels and carved caps, with double-leaf spear-headed cast-iron gates.
These ornate piers and gates are built solidly, and the finely carved piers are typical of 19th-century craftsmanship.
The piers are especially worth noting because they retain their original cast-iron gates.
To the west of these gates, above the banks of the River Deel, the ruins of a rubble limestone limekiln date from about the same time as the gates.
The kiln was built about 1800 and was set into a natural slope in the field. It is now in disuse, but it is still possible in the fading light of the evening to pick out the coursed rubble walls and the elliptical-arched opening on the front or north side, with its brick voussoirs.
Kilns of this sort were once a common part of small-scale farming in Ireland. They were used to burn limestone to create quicklime for the surrounding fields to increase the alkalinity of the soil.
Limekilns represent agricultural traditions that are now lost, but this kiln is also an example of the quality of engineering and craftsmanship in the early 19th century.