Strabane Convent Grammar School
A dramatic and spiky gothic building which once stood to the west of the surviving Church of the Immaculate Conception creating a great composition of spires when seen from a distance. it was at once remote and removed from the town, yet an important part of it. This view is of the school's main facade with its carefully tended gardens in front. The main convent accommodation was to the right of the bell tower and the convent chapel with a separate bell tower was beside this. On the other side of the bell tower was a long perpendicular block which originally housed an orphanage and industrial school and from 1928 the Grammar School a prepatory school and accommodation for boarders. The convent opened on opened June 9th 1868 and the the church was consecrated in 1881. The school closed in 2007 and the buildings were completely demolished in 2009. The stained glass of the church was removed to St Patrick's church in Castlederg in 1995. A dramatic skyline lost.
January 18th, 2021
Decorated cross base, Killoan, near Drumquin, Co Tyrone. Set near the boundary of an isolated field this is a very unusual structure thought to be the base of a cross. There is no recorded history of a church at this site but the townland name, combined with this structure, suggests that this was the case. A remnant of what once was.
Ardboe Cross on the shores of Lough Neagh. Thought to date from the 10th or 11th century. Highly carved on both sides ,though weathered and open to interpretation. Eastern face Adam and Eve, sacrifice of Issac, Daniel in the Lion's Den, Arck of the Covenant, Funeral Urns (the resurrection) Christ in Judgement. great atmospheric location. Western face (shown here) from bottom: the Nativity, the Adoration, Last Supper, Triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Christ taken prisoner, the Crucifixion.
January 04th, 2021
Killymoon Castle and demesne viewed from Tullaghoge Fort.
Killymoon Castle was constructed in 1802-3 for Col James Stewart, to the designs of architect John Nash, who famously laid out Regent Street in London. It was his first castle in Ireland, and reputedly cost £80,000 to build. It has much in common with a later Nash castle of 1807-10 in Caerhays, Cornwall.
The celebrated gardener and designer of the Crystal Palace, Sir Joseph Paxton wrote: "I have visited most of the celebrated country seats in the Kingdom and a very large number on the continent, and I have never seen one - for the extent of it - more compact, more perfect in itself, or where the highest natural beauties have been more aided by refined taste and judgment, than Killymoon".
While much of the demesne was sold off after 1922, the house and surrounding planting survives. It has been described by the eminent architectural historian Terence Reeves-Smyth as ‘the oldest surviving example of a ‘castle style’ building by Nash and one of his most successful houses, boasting among other things, a very early full essay in the revived Norman style, a striking port cochère, and a revolutionary and ingeniously planned interior.’
January 03rd, 2021
Tullahoge Fort is a place full of atmosphere reinforced by sentinel like posts, installed in 2017, marching up the hill to the great inauguration site. This was the crowning point of the O'Neill's and, is a large circular earthwork on top of a hill that surveys all of the surrounding country. In 1602, the associated inauguration chair was smashed by the English as a symbolic act during the Nine Year's War .
January 01st, 2020
Happy New Year. Why not get back to basics today and visit this wonderful site in the Co Tyrone hills? This is is Clogherny Wedge Tomb, which is located on high ground between Plumbridge and Donemanagh. It is s wet climb through the boggy slopes but well worth it . The tomb is thought to date from around the Early Bronze Age of 2,500 years ago and it is surrounded by a ring of probably later standing stones. These were shown in an excavation of 1937 to be linked to the monument by cobbles.
September 05th, 2017
Looking forward to European Heritage Open Days this weekend. I will be giving a tour of Newtownstewart Co Tyrone on Sunday. It is a fascinating place with the remains of four castles. Clearly, it was a strategic place in medieval times.
50. New Connections- Foot and cycle bridge, Strabane
Opened in 2016, the foot and cycle bridge picks up this challenge and brings modern civic architecture to the other end of town. Developed from an international competition held in 2006, it is supposed to be the first of two such bridges. Whether resources can be found for the second bridge or not, the ambition of current city fathers to bring modern quality investment to the town is very clear. Strabane and the surrounding area however, have much quality already, The key will be to manage this and new development well to make the most of future opportunities.
49. Regeneration – the Alley Theatre and Library 2008
The development of a new library and theatre in Strabane the late 2000’s was a significant investment in its cultural life but also a statement of confidence in the regeneration of the town centre. The buildings are well designed and impart a sense of new civic life to the area. Their scale links them to the rest of the town and their quality sets a benchmark for future development.
46. St Teresa’s church Sion Mills 1963.
By 1963 the use of decoration on modern buildings was becoming more acceptable again. Here, a massive recreation of the last supper was commissioned from artist Oisin Kelly and mounted as a screen across the front of the building. It is not as much decorated building as building displaying artwork. The building is designed to mimic a classical temple, a form used for many churches in the past.
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West of Ireland and further afield with a little information about their history.