Dungiven Priory, accessed down a lane from the village and across a new bridge over the bypass. This place was the site of an early monastery. As with many ancient foundations it became an Augustinian Abbey following the. 12th century church reforms. The chancel was added in the 13th century and has a very fine gothic memorial inside and the remains of rib vaulting - an unusual feature in a small rural church. Traces of earlier Romanesque blind arcading remain at high level in the main body of the church. Tower house, now gone, added to the west end probably in the fifteenth century. This is likely to have been accommodation associated with the abbey and was associated with the O'Cahans at the end of the sixteenth century. In the Ulster Plantation of the early seventeenth century the site was taken over by Sir Edward Doddington who built a Manor House attached to the tower house. The drawing above shows this house, the abbey and tower and formal gardens to the west adjacent to the river at around that time. Today the tower and house are gone apart from foundations.
Heritage re-presented. Suddenly more visible due to the new Dungiven bypass, is a standing stone at the top of a field as the road rises to the Belfast side of the village. its a good symbol of the long history of this place amid the new infrastructure. According to the records, this stone stands on top of a small mound which was described as a 'tumulus' and a 'barrow' in the Ordnance Survey memoirs of the 1830's. Two depressions have been noted in the side of the mound and a small flint instrument was found in one of these. Tradition holds that the stone was erected to mark an ecclesiastical assembly that was held here in 590 AD, at which St Columbikille was present. The stone was also used as the end point in a procession at Beltaine (May Eve) up to the mid nineteenth century. The Turus (pilgrimage) started at St Patrick's Well behind the current Bleach Green housing development, then went to a stone in the river before moving to the former Dungiven Priory and then finishing here.
Situated at the foot of Slieve Gullion in Co Armagh, this small castle was created from a preceding house in 1836 by the architect George Papworth. It has a commanding view of the surrounding countryside and inside has elegant drawing rooms and a small library with bedrooms above. For many years it was almost a ruin, too small to be converted into anything other than an expensive house, but in recent years it has become the high status centrepiece of a hotel which is largely housed in an conversion and extension of the former stable block and mill. Great to see it given new lifer and restored to its former beauty.
A view down Soborna Street in central Sumy, north eastern Ukraine, past the Orthodox Transfiguration Cathedral (Spaso-Preobrjenskii Sobor). It is an elegant pedestrianised street in this city of 260,000 people. The domes of the ecclesiastical buildings associated with the cathedral complement that on the top of its highly ornate tower constructed of three stages of Corinthian columns. Built as a cathedral in 1788 on the site of an earlier church, its appearance in this sketch dates from a major rebuilding between 1882 and 1892. Founded in the 1650's by the Cossacks, the city has held out against attacking Russian troops over the last month. A tactical withdrawal of these was reported last week. It is not currently known what fate has befallen this elegant building and street.
The Palace of Industry or Derzhprom in Freedom Square, Kharkiv, was competed in 1928 and, at ten stories, was the first Soviet skyscraper. Its overlapping cubist forms are a 'constructivist' composition, with sky bridges linking the mini cityscape of rising and dropping blocks. Constructivism held that the essence of modern art was found in construction, and so all decorative form was eliminated. Goundbreaking in its time, the building was much visited. It was the result of a competition in 1925 and constructed as the parliament building for the new Soviet Republic of Ukraine (Kiev had resisted the Bolsheviks in 1918). It housed it's central committee, commissariats, planning commission, various industrial enterprises, a library and a hotel. Its architecture represented a dramatic and confident break from the past and embodied what the architects (Sergei Serafimov, Samuel Kravets and Mark Felger) thought was the spirit of the new state. However, almost as soon as it was opened 'national communists' began to be repressed and in 1932 Stalin dissolved all autonomous architectural groupings in favour of a state architecture that was much more hierarchical and classically inspired. In 1934 the capital was moved back to Kiev. The building survived several attempts to be blown up by the Nazi's in World War II and managed to avoid being refaced, like some of its neighbours in the Stalinist style in the 1950's. The radio transmitter on top of one block was added in the same decade. Apart from the removal of a statue to Lenin, the building had remained unaltered in recent decades. At present, with the city subject to significant Russian bombardment, the condition of this important and unique modernist building and of its many workers and occupants is unknown.
Set at the focus of Mariupol's Beaux Arts town plan, the theatre, like Belfast City Hall, terminates the view down a long urban boulevard. Behind is a large public park, where during winter, an ice rink is provided. The theatre opened in 1887 but was significantly enlarged in 1960. lts' pediment is unusual in that the statues are not embedded in a wall behind, but are free standing in top of the entablature below. So sad to see such a fine place being wantonly besieged and destroyed at present. This drawing is based upon a photograph taken in 2021.
Located near the village of Castlemagner in Co Cork, this ruined and overgrown structure is the place that gives the village its name. William Magner (or Magnuel) was granted this pace in 1183 following the Anglo Norman conquest. The site is elevated above a nearby river and may have been the location of a pre-existing Gaelic fort. Originally a stockade, the tower construction is understood to have commenced in the 14th century at a time when the Duke of Clarence was fortifying the edge of Norman control against the McCarthy's. In the 15th century it was extended as a tower house and the curved stair tower added. A defensive wall was added around the site at the same time. In the 17th century . Following burning in the Great Munster Rebellion of 1598 the structure was reinhabited and a two story house built alongside. Damaged again in the Comwellian period the buildings were again rebuilt, only to be destroyed in 1691 following occupation by Jacobites. the tower was deliberately blown up leaving the remnant we see today. In 1755 a new owner developed a Georgian hose on the Comwellian ruins. In the early nineteenth century the site was converted into a working farm. The house was extended westward into the former stable and this portion thatched. in 1934 the building was sold to the last resident owner. He removed the thatch following a fire in 1955 and replaced it with corrugated metal. He died in 1984 aged 95. the building has not subsequently been occupied and is now in a poor state.
Quintin Caste is located near the southern tip or the Ards peninsula in Co.Down. It faces onto Qunitin Bay and across the Irish Sea. Its appearance today dates from 1855 when the existing medieval tower house was significantly remodelled and extended in a dramatic fashion. This included the raising in height of the central tower, the addition of drawing and dining rooms and the rebuilding of the courtyard walls gates and towers. The original tower house was built by John de Courcy in the Twelfth century soon after the Anglo Norman invasion. This was renovated and a large house added in the early Seventeenth century. By the time of the Ordnance Survey Memoirs in the 1830's the building was roofless and dilapidated. Until recently the building was a private home. Proposals to convert it into a hotel were refused planning permission by the local council in April 2021
Sketrick Castle, Co Down, based upon a photograph taken before most of the structure collapsed in 1896. Some sources say that this was in a storm while others state that ‘the south-western angle fell with a great crash one calm spring day, shaking the castle and raising a tall column of white dust’. The tower is reported in an account of a 1470 battle but some have suggested that due to its size the current structure is from the 16th century. The structure guards the approach to Sketrick island on Strangford Lough and is now a Monument in State Care.
Kilclief Castle is thought to have been built between 1413 and 1441. Though a common date for tower houses across Ireland, it is the earliest surviving tower house in County Down. It is understood to have been built for John Sely, bishop of Down, who lost his title in 1442 because he was living openly with a married woman (Lettice Thomas).
The tower is very strategically located guarding the entrance to Strangford Lough and faces south east above the shore line observing all who attempt to enter its waters. It is rectangular on plan with two projecting square fortifications to the front. These rise to stepped Irish battlements at roof level and are joined by an arch at the top floor.
It all makes for a dramatic and picturesque monument, now in State Care, which is enhanced by a brightly painted vernacular farmhouse to one side. It is a great place to visit.
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West of Ireland and further afield with a little information about their history.