15 May 2011

Lizzie’s Cottage and an old oak throne

Lizzie’s Cottage in Loughshinny on a more sunny afternoon ... a fine example of a late 18th or early 19th century thatched farmhouse (Photograph: Patrick Comerford)

Patrick Comerford

This was a busy but beautiful Sunday. The sunny weather seems to be long gone, the skies are grey and there is rain everywhere. But I spent most of the day in Rush, Skerries and Balbriggan, taking the services and preaching in Kenure Church (Rush), Holmpatrick Church (Skerries), and Saint George’s Church, Balbriggan.

There was no time to stop for a walk along the beach, nor was there any time to stop for a coffee in Olive in Skerries. But the road from Rush to Skerries, and again from Skerries to Balbriggan, offered splendid views of the coastline, the sea and the islands.

What a pleasure it was to see so many children in each church. It was a pity to be so rushed – not just because I had spent most of last week at the General Synod the Church of Ireland, but because this is a beautiful corner of Dublin to spend a relaxing few hours, and the parishioners and church-goers there deserve more of a priest than to have him making breathy-taking dashes from one church to the next.

Every time I travel from Rush to Skerries I notice that on the east side of the road one of the most attractive thatched houses in this area – and there are many of them – is the one known popularly as Lizzie’s Cottage in Loughshinny.

This is a fine example of a late 18th or early 19th century thatched farmhouse. It has been restored in recent years and is now a private residence. It features the original cobbled yard and an original bake-house that is now incorporated into the house. At one time, the bake-house ovens were used by people in the locality to bake bread.

This white-washed, detached, six-bay, single-storey, L-shaped thatched house was built around 1800, on an L-shaped plan in two main sections, each of three-bays, with an advanced entrance porch. To the rear there is an attached L-shaped farmyard complex. The roof is double-pitched and thatched. There are four nap rendered chimney stacks, a double-pitch slate roof to the stables, and a mono-pitched slate roof to the porch entrance. The rubble walls are white-washed. The openings are square-headed, with painted granite cills. The cottage has reproduction timber sash windows and reproduction tongue and groove doors.

It was long after 1 p.m. when I left Balbriggan this afternoon, and I was back in the city centre to time for a short stroll through Temple Bar and a coffee in La Dolce Vita in Cow’s Lane before taking part in Choral Evensong in Christ Church Cathedral, along with the Dean and the Archdeacon of Dublin.

The preces and responses were by Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988) and the two canticles, Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis were from Leighton’s Collegium Magdalenae Oxoniense, written for Magdalen College, Oxford.

Leighton composed, who composed many pieces for Anglican liturgy music, is probably best known for his setting of the Coventry Carol, written in 1948 when he was still a student. He spent his last 18 years as Professor of Music at Edinburgh University. His early work was influenced by English church music and by Vaughan Williams, Benjamin Britten and William Walton. Later influences included Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg.

The Crypt, Richmond Street … an Aladdin’s Cave in Portobello for ecclesiastical antique hunters (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

After choral evensong, two of us went for an early dinner in Rotana Café, a Lebanese restaurant in South Richmond Street, Portobello.

Mohammed Abuissa opened this restaurant three years ago May 2008. But already it has been selected twice, in 2010 and again this year, for inclusion in The Dubliner 100 Best Restaurants.

On my way in, I couldn’t help but notice the wonderful decorated door next door, at No 31B. I had a look at their website afterwards. It seems like an Aladdin’s Cave for ecclesiastical antique hunters or for anyone wanting copes and old pews. But I wonder who could want or need an 8-ft oak Gothic throne, dating from around 1875? It’s selling for €2,750!

Canon Patrick Comerford is Director of Spiritual Formation, the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, and a canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin

1 comment:

Paddy said...

Did you say copes? I don't suppose you'd share the website details for those of us exited by such things!