24 August 2011

Rathfarnham arch under threat once again

The doors in the Ely Arch in Rathfarnham have been forced open, and the site is neglected and decaying once again (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

Patrick Comerford

It is only a few weeks since I wrote in a posting on 20 July that the Triumphal Arch on the banks of the River Dodder at Rathfarnham has already fallen victim to graffiti vandals, only months after its cleaning and renovation.

The Triumphal Arch was cleaned and renovated in recent months. But I wrote just over ago of being disappointed to see that this monument to the Loftus family of Rathfarnham Castle, once neglected and in danger of crumbling, is already falling victim to graffiti vandals.

After the recent renovations, builders’ rubble and fencing was left strewn around the site. The rusting gates were never painted. And now the graffiti on its walls are spreading.

The Ely Arch in Rathfarnham ... covered in graffiti and vandalised only a few months after renovation work (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

On my way home from work last night, I walked by the arch again. This time I was saddened to see that the padlocks recently fixed to the two doors within the arch have been smashed, the doors have been broken open, and the interior of the arch is now exposed to the weather.

Builders’ rubble and fencing have been abandoned on this tiny site (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2011)

If remedial action is not taken immediately, all the work of recent months will be undone, and what remains of the interior of this sad building is facing destruction.

This triumphal arch, which originally led to Rathfarnham Castle, was built as to mark the recovery of Rathfarnham Castle and estate by the Loftus family in the second half of the 18th century.

The gateway was erected in 1767 by Henry Loftus, Earl of Ely, who was also responsible for the classical redesign of Rathfarnham Castle. The arch is named as the new gate on Frizell’s map of 1779.

After the division of the estate in 1913, the arch became the entrance to the Castle Golf Club, but was later abandoned in favour of the more direct Woodside Drive entrance.

The area around the arch is a haven for wildlife, with the River Dodder home to brown trout, otters and water birds.

I walked on along the banks of the Dodder, where a few walkers were enjoying the late summer weather and a lone angler was failing to catch any fish. A pair of swans swam closely together at the weir below the bridge.

This is a beautiful corner of Dublin, and the local authority must pay more attention to our heritage here. We are approaching the 250th anniversary of the erection of the arch – I hope it’s still standing in 2017, and that it’s fully renovated. Is it too much to ask that it might be fully restored and open to the public?

For other postings on the architectural heritage of South Dublin see:

Berwick Hall.
The Bottle Tower, Churchtown.
Brookvale House, Rathfarnham.
Camberley House, Churchtown.
Dartry House, Orwell Park, Rathfarnham.
Ely Arch, Rathfarnham.
Ely House, Nutgrove Avenue, Rathfarnham.
Fernhurst, 14 Orwell Road, Rathgar.
Fortfield House, Hyde Park, Terenure.
No 201 Harold’s Cross Road, the birthplace of Richard Allen.
Homestead, Sandyford Road, Dundrum.
Kilvare House, also known as Cheeverstown House, Templeogue Road.
Knocklyon Castle.
Laurelmere Lodge, Marlay Park.
Marlay Park.
Mountain View House, Beaumont Avenue, Churchtown.
Newbrook House, Taylor’s Lane, Rathfarnham.
Old Bawn House, Tallaght.
Rathfarnham Castle.
Sally Park, Fihouse.
Scholarstown House, Knocklyon.
Silveracre House, off Sarah Curran Avenue, Rathfarnham.
Synge House, Newtwon Villas, Churchtown, and No 4 Orwell Park, Rathgar.
Templeogue House.
Washington House, Butterfield Avenue, Rathfarnham.
Westbourne House, off Rathfarnham Road.


Susan Doyle Gibson said...

This saddens me.....I love that area and my dad and aunt live close by (my aunt is a Comerford also). I hope something can be done to preserve this archway!
Susan Doyle Gibson

Anonymous said...

face it its an old dilapidated unsightly arch, that has gone to the dogs,i dont think it should be renovated again because the same thing will keep happening and at roughly 50 grand to renovate it each time you must be joking if you look around rathfarnham theres alot more you can do with that sort of money .. whitechurch united football team went without a football pitch for 2 years because the contractors the council hired to build houses next to it decided to dig a huge whole in it so now there playin on a pitch with a massive dip in it and thats just one example if you think the renovation after renovation of an arch that frankly not many people care about is need then i think you's are immoral people!!! thats all

Austin Slowey said...

It sickens me to read comments from CHAVS like Anonymous,who more than likely get pissed on cider,throw their rubbish in the river,and graffiti the arch.Totaly ignorant CHAVS.Always losers,no education,no hopers.
The Doddrr is a recovering river,The Arch is part of its history and no matter how much it costs,should be preserved for future generations

Anonymous said...

CHAV...excuse you austin the arch may be apart of history but history is history when you look at the state the country is in at the moment do you not think the future is more important i am pretty sure you where looking for a better future when you emigrated to Sydney and excuse me "none" educated i am 20 years old i don't drink and i am getting ready to start my fourth year in university studying genetics as my major so come back to me when you have the slightest bit of knowledge i have and i have also passed every exam to date so get a grip .. all in all preserving an old useless arch with our tax payers money is ridiculous i have seen so many students with great potential dropping out due to fee's and cost's . i think the money that would be used to restore this so called piece of history could be used for more practical uses.use your head and think for a minute

cormac doyle said...

not gonna lie anonymous is dead right !!!

Anonymous said...

It is sickening to see people arguing in a tribal manner. Anon expressed a decent point of view in decent language, undeserving of the insulting response.

I support his/her idea that it is wasteful to preserve everything from the past. I live close to the arch, and would be sad to see it go, but I also recognise the crying need for decent facilities for sport.

Unknown said...

Hi patrick

Im an Architect living near the Ely Arch and im wondering if there is / was any campaign to properly restore the Arch and maintain the area around it?

I know its on the record of protected structures in SDCC and therefore falls within the remit of the OPW. But very little is being done and it seems a shame.

If you have any information relating to this that would be great

Patrick Comerford said...

Thank you Eoghan. I've blogged about this and been interviewed in newspapers, but this arch continues to be neglected and to deteriorate. Message me on my Facebook page and we can discuss any action we can take. Patrick

Maggie Doyle said...

Any chance anyone can remember when the Doyles lived there working for Lambs?
Any info appreciated... Family member

Alan Eaton said...

I cannot find any post's on any website that actually mentions a woman called Mrs Moore who along with her basset hound Fred lived in one side of the arch until the mid to late 1970's, as a kid I played ball down outside the arch. Rumour back then was it to be haunted by a young Italian servent who was hanged there after raping a waitress in the Castle.