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Ireland, Snippets of History – County Wicklow.

whooper-swans-
Whooper Swans

Aside of the beauty and incredible ‘greenness’ of Ireland, there is the matter of its’ prolific and fascinating history.

Today, we’ll make a wee journey through, not only recent, but also ancient history relating to an area, and more specifically an Irish village in County Wicklow.

The area in question is that of Newcastle. The Ancient History of Newcastle Dates back to 2000 BC. I have decided to start at a more recent historical point, namely the late 1800’s to the present and this mainly with pictures.

Railway-station
Newcastle Railway Station 1855

A Railway Station was built in 1855, which functioned until 1964 – 109 years!

Just below the station at ‘Five Mile Point’ is a tiny hamlet consisting of permanent buildings and a few holiday homes, which according to a lease document written in 1871 described the buildings as “Officers House, Watch House, Boathouse, five cottages and other buildings with garden ground.” An existing house has Blue doors, which are the only remains of what used to be the Life Boat Station.

Five Mile Point
Five Mile Point Hamlet on Right of Railway Line.

Life was hard and dangerous in those times; apart from the ship sinking’s, to which the graves of many sailors attest, there were the pirates and smugglers.

Much is written about the ‘Pirates,’ most of whom would not have been the ilk of ‘Pirates of The Caribbean.’ In that day there were countries like England, France and America who issued, ‘Letters of Marque’ authorizing the holders to plunder any ships flying the flags of nations which were at war with them. I suppose we could call them ‘legal pirates,’ although I wonder if this didn’t leave the door wide open for the ‘buccaneer class’ to thrive. Either way it was a dangerous time to be at sea or living on the coast.

Then there were the smugglers. Because the administrators of Ireland, like most countries, collected revenue on the goods imported into the country, this attracted the black marketeers into the value chain. The coastline from Dublin down to Wicklow Head was a haven for these activities for many years.

Cable 1892 Newcastle 3
Underwater Cableway Commemoration Stone.
Winding House
Winding House for Cable

In 1886, the first underwater telegraph cable was laid, from Newcastle in Ireland to Nevin in Wales. In itself was a remarkable feat and provided communication, albeit telegraphy and not voice, from Ireland to the rest of the world.

In our day Newcastle is a bustling village and the area is a wetland sanctuary for wild birds, started by Birdwatch Ireland. This sanctuary attracts birds from faraway Africa, Greenland, and many others.

Manor House on Castle Site
Manor House on Castle Site

There is the ‘Castle’ first built in the late 1100’s which had a turbulent history and was finally raised to the ground. A manor house was built over the ruins in the late 1500’s. It seems with time the manor house became the ruin it is today. It appears that this last sentence of mine could be swallowed up in speculation. Was it a manor house or later addition to the castle? History often hides her stories just to taunt us.

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Today, more than ever, we are being barraged with all manner of negative comment by the media, in all its forms. We all need to be encouraged, this is why I wrote, “Eerie Stillness and Others Short Stories.” Give yourself an uplift, read this little book and be reassured about the times in which we live.

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Eerie Stillness and Other Short Stories

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