Category Archives: Know Thy Place

Know Thy Place Team Up With TheJournal.ie

Know Thy Place have teamed up with Ireland’s online news site thejournal.ie to bring some of the stories we have researched to their readership. The work we undertake while producing the charts often provides fascinating insights into Ireland’s history and reveals some of the country’s lesser known heritage. In the first post we looked at Yola, an incredible dialect once spoken in parts of Co. Wexford. You can read it here.

 

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Whiskey Galore in Midleton (Part 1)

Know Thy Place MD Colm Moloney describes the history of a famous attractions in his home place 0f Midleton, Co. Cork- the Jameson Distillery. In Part 1 of the post Colm outlines the history of the distillery and its main attractions. 

As a native of Midleton, I grew up under the shadow (and the aroma!) of the largest whisky distillery in Europe. It is a great employer for the local population and a great friend to the town. However the history of this ‘place’ and its industrial heritage provides a fascinating insight into the social history of the town and the industrial development of the country. Acknowledging this fact, Irish distillers opened the Jameson Heritage Centre in 1992 in order to promote both the industrial archaeology of the site and the story of the development of Irish whisky and its growth to be a global leader in the drinks industry.

The Jameson Centre in Midleton, Co. Cork

The Jameson Centre in Midleton, Co. Cork

The distillery in which the heritage centre is based was established by James Murphy in 1825 on the site of a woollen mill founded by Marcus Lynch in 1793.  The site was also used as a military barracks during the Napoleonic wars and there is a local tradition that soldiers destined for the battle of Waterloo were trained at the site. The majority of the surviving range of buildings date from the 1830s onwards and include three malting kilns. The complex is dominated by a six-storey grain store built c. 1830, each floor of which can hold up to 250 tonnes of grain. The original wooden floors have been preserved, which makes it the most complete surviving distillery grain store in Ireland. A late 19th century brew house, complete with steel mash tuns and vats also survives intact in its original form. The late 18th century woollen mill was converted for use as a malt mill and mash house, powered by both water and steam. Its extant 6.70 m diameter waterwheel was fabricated by William Fairburn of Manchester and was installed in 1852, when it was used in conjunction with two steam engines, one of which, a six-column independent beam engine by Peele and Williams of Manchester installed in 1835, has been retained in situ. The Midleton distillery also boasts the largest pot still in the world, a wash still with a capacity of 31,648 gallons, installed in 1826, which required 4 tonnes of coal every 24 hours. Two more recent feints and low wine stills were built by D. Miller of Dublin in 1949 and are preserved in an adjacent still house.

The old distillery survives almost completely intact as it was replaced by an entirely modern successor in 1975 on a neighbouring site.  The completeness of the site makes it one of the most significant industrial heritage sites in the country. The promotional brochure which accompanies the tour (From Grain to Glass: The story of Jameson Irish Whiskey) claims the site is ‘the only self-contained 18th century industrial complex of its kind in Britain or Ireland’. Although the original whiskey distilled in the plant was Powers, Jameson is now produced exclusively in Midleton together with premium products such as Midleton Very Rare and Redbreast.

The next installment of this two-part post will follow Colm and his wife Louise as they took a tour of the distillery. Colm was persuaded to sacrifice some of his time to conduct the visit in aid of ‘scientific research’, and bravely accepted his fate. He further impressed all who know him by showing great resilience during the excursion when he was forced to face the prospect of tasting some of the whiskey the distillery produces….

Midleton distillery is included in the Know Thy Place chart for Midleton which can be purchased from http://www.knowthyplace.com

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Bealtaine, the beginning of Summer (we hope!)

The Celtic calendar had two main seasons, warm and cold. The end of the cold season and the beginning of summer were marked by one of the most important festivals of the year, Bealtaine. The corresponding festival for the end of the Summer and beginning of the winter was Samhain which has now become Halloween.

Belenus- The go-to God for all things Bealtaine

Belenus- The go-to God for all things Bealtaine

Bealtaine traditionally fell on the first of May and was highly symbolic for the indigenous population of Ireland. This corresponded to the date when cattle could be driven to open grazing and was therefore a time of great importance for pastoralist societies.  The lighting of great fires in prominent locations was central to the celebration of this festival, presumably to reflect the rebirth and rejuvenation of the sun. It was also customary to drive cattle between large fires in order to protect them from disease. TGE Powell in his book The Celts believes that the word is a combination of the celtic word for fire (tine) and reference to a god called Belenus known widely in Northern Italy, south-eastern Gaul, Nordicum and south-west Britain. Belenus is thought to have been a sun-god and his name is believed to have meant ‘Brilliant’ or ‘Bright’ one. In modern Irish Bealtaine is still the name given to the month of May.

Fire, a key component of Bealtaine

Fire, a key component of Bealtaine

More recently a particular raucous festival has become very popular in Edinburgh know as Beltane which involves naked dancers, drums and massive fires on Carlton Hill on the eve of the 1stof May.

Dramatic scenes at the Beltane Fire Society's annual festival on Edinburgh's Calton Hill

Dramatic scenes at the Beltane Fire Society's annual festival on Edinburgh's Calton Hill

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Titanic Sites in Cobh: A Photo Journey

To celebrate the launch of our new Titanic Chart, the Know Thy Place team paid a visit to Cobh (formerly Queenstown), the last port of call for the White Star liner. While there we took the opportunity to visit some of the sites associated with the Titanic in the town, and photographed them for our readers. We were fortunate to also be accompanied by Master Reuben Moloney, who took time out from his busy schedule to tell us what life was like for a boy of eight in 1912…

The former train station at Cobh, where many of the passengers destined to board the Titanic arrived. Today it serves as the towns Heritage Centre.

The former train station at Cobh, where many of the passengers destined to board the Titanic arrived. Today it serves as the towns Heritage Centre.

The former offices of James Scott and Company, the agents of the White Star Line in Cobh. Steerage passengers queued beside this building to board the Titanic. Today it is home to the Titanic Experience.

The former offices of James Scott and Company, the agents of the White Star Line in Cobh. Steerage passengers queued beside this building to board the Titanic. Today it is home to the Titanic Experience.

Master Reuben with a model of the Titanic in the Titanic Experience. (Photo: Gerard McCarthy, Thanks to Titanic Experience Cobh)

Master Reuben with a model of the Titanic in the Titanic Experience. (Photo: Gerard McCarthy, thanks to Titanic Experience Cobh)

Master Reuben at the back of the James Scott offices. The pier in the background is 'Titanic Pier' where steerage passengers embarked for the Titanic aboard the tender 'America' (Photo: Gerard McCarthy, thanks to Titanic Experience Cobh)

Master Reuben at the back of the James Scott offices. The pier in the background is 'Titanic Pier' where steerage passengers embarked for the Titanic aboard the tender 'America' (Photo: Gerard McCarthy, thanks to Titanic Experience Cobh)

Another view of 'Titanic Pier'. Sadly it is today in urgent need of restoration.

Another view of 'Titanic Pier'. Sadly it is today in urgent need of restoration.

St. Colman's Cathedral, Cobh. This would have been visible to passengers as they pulled out towards the Titanic on the tenders 'America' and 'Ireland', although the tower had not been completed in 1912.

St. Colman's Cathedral, Cobh. This would have been visible to passengers as they pulled out towards the Titanic on the tenders 'America' and 'Ireland', although the tower had not been completed in 1912.

The Deepwater Quay beside the former train station in Cobh, where the tenders 'Ireland' and 'America' put in for their final stop before travelling out to the Titanic, anchored off Roches Point.

The Deepwater Quay beside the former train station in Cobh, where the tenders 'Ireland' and 'America' put in for their final stop before travelling out to the Titanic, which was then anchored off Roche's Point.

The Memorial in Cobh to those lost aboard the Titanic in 1912

The Memorial in Cobh to those lost aboard the Titanic in 1912

For anyone who would like a sneak preview of our Titanic Chart, or is interested in obtaining a copy, please see our website here.

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Mapping the Irish Lost in the Titanic Disaster

After extensive research and hard graft from all the team at Know Thy Place, we are delighted to say that our R.M.S. Titanic Chart is now complete. It tells the story of the ill-fated luxury liner’s connections with Ireland in a unique and informative way. The centre-piece is a map of Ireland, marking the home places of 129 people from the island that our researchers identified as being lost. Know Thy Place Director Damian Shiels describes some of the intriguing details we found out.

The story of the Titanic’s connections with Ireland begins with the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast, where she was designed and built. We explain her building with the aid of a Belfast docks map, showing the key sites associated with the White Star Liner. One of the interesting stories we were able to uncover was the involvement a number of Irish businesses had with the Titanic’s fit-out, such as William Liddell & Company from Co. Down who produced the linen for the vessel, and the Kildare Carpet Company in Co. Laois which made the state-room carpets.

A key part of the Titanic story is that of her last port of call, Queenstown (now Cobh). A total of 123 passengers embarked from here on the doomed ship, and we look at their journey from ‘Titanic Pier’ behind the James Scott and Company offices aboard the tenders that took them to the liner anchored off Roche’s Point. As with Belfast, a map of Cobh highlights a number of the key areas in the town associated with the Titanic’s brief visit.

The Know Thy Place Titanic Chart (Copyright Know Thy Place Ltd. 2012)

The Know Thy Place Titanic Chart- Click to enlarge (Copyright Know Thy Place Ltd. 2012)

The central part of the chart’s story looks at the Irish passengers and crew who were aboard the Titanic, telling some of their stories. We spent a long time trying to generate a comprehensive list of people from Ireland who were lost when the Titanic went down, as we discovered that many publications cite wildly different numbers in this regard. There are many reasons for this- some exclude Irish crew members from their totals, while others fail to include Northern Ireland in their calculations. We found the only solution was to create our own list of individuals specifically for the chart.

We eventually generated a list of 129 passengers and crew from the island who were lost, a number that was almost certainly higher as only scant details survive for many of the crew. For the first time, the cities, towns and townlands where these people were from were used to create an at a glance image of the human cost to Ireland of the ship’s sinking. This unique map allows you to see which parts of the island were most affected, and brings home the scale and range of the impact that the loss of the Titanic must have had. For anyone interested in the Titanic Chart you can find order it direct from our website by clicking here.

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Croagh Patrick, County Mayo: St Patrick’s Place

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches once more, Know Thy Place take a look at one of the sites that is most associated with the Irish patron saint- Croagh Patrick, in Co. Mayo.

Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo (Wikimedia Commons)

Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo (Wikimedia Commons)

Croagh Patrick or ‘The Reek’ is one of the most famous places in Ireland. Rising to 2507 feet, it is an imposing feature on the landscape and visible for miles in all directions. It is reputedly the location of Saint Patrick’s 40 day fast, and it remains a major centre of pilgrimage to this day. On the last Sunday of July every year,thousands of pilgrims climb the mountain- many in bare feet- in commemoration and adoration of Ireland’s most famous saint. Archaeological excavations on the summit in 1994 and 1995 identified the buried foundations of a dry stone oratory which was radiocarbon dated to AD 430-890- a time not too distant from St. Patrick’s life.

The Pilgrim's Path on Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo

The Pilgrim's Path on Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo (Wikimedia Commons)

There is also some archaeological evidence indicating that the mountain was an important site prior to Patrick’s arrival, and was possibly a Celtic Hillfort, although further research is needed to confirm this. Tradition has it that the mountain was sacred to a Celtic deity Crom Dubh and was the location of a festival related to the harvest festival of Lugnasa. This pre-Christian Croagh Patrick was known as Cruchan Aigli. Certainly it was common for early Christian missionaries to Ireland to make good use of pre-existing traditions and beliefs to sell their own brand of religion! Indeed it has been claimed that until relatively recently some Irish-speaking locals murmured ‘In ainm Crom’ (in the name of Crom) instead of the normal Christian ‘In ainm De’ (In the name of God).

The Summit of Croagh Patrick (Wikimedia Commons)

The Summit of Croagh Patrick (Wikimedia Commons)

Undoubtedly the impressive profile of Croagh Patrick overlooking Clew Bay was always an imposing sight and legends and rituals grew around it for as long as people lived in the surrounding area. As for its association with Ireland’s patron saint, Patrick is reputed to have climbed Croagh Patrick and fasted there for 40 days and 40 nights during Lent, following the example of Christ. It is during this time that he is supposed to have banished the snakes from Ireland after they attacked him during his fast. This is a story told in every class room in Ireland. The reference to snakes is highly symbolic and one wonders if they in fact refer to the Pagan Gods. The location of Patrick’s fast, in the lair of the Pagan deities, may have been designed to indicate his imperviousness to fear of the old Gods and his victory over their powers. Whatever the truth, the story stuck and the result is now one of the most iconic images in Irish culture: pilgrims climbing the Reek holding rosary beads while deep in prayer, many in bare feet and some on their knees. One would wonder what rituals took place there before the advent of Christianity….

St. Patrick Showing the Snakes Who's Boss...

St. Patrick Showing the Snakes Who's Boss...

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Know Thy Place team up with the National Museum of Ireland

We are delighted to announce that the National Museum of Ireland have decided to stock our Know Thy Place charts in their Museum Shop from this month. Now you will be able to buy County and Ireland charts while visiting some of the archaeological objects that inspired them! As professional archaeologists ourselves, it is great for the Know Thy Place team to have the quality of our work acknowledged, and we hope to continue to work with the Museum in the future! All our charts our still available from our website as well, which you can check out here.

Our Know Thy Place Chart for Co. Cork, now available in the National Museum of Ireland

Our Know Thy Place Chart for Co. Cork, now available in the National Museum of Ireland

We have issued a press release to mark the occasion:

Begin a Voyage of Discovery:

Uncover the story of Ireland and your ancestral home

with Know Thy Place at the National Museum of Ireland

 Ireland has a long and glorious history. People first settled this wonderful land 9,000 years ago and have left their mark everywhere. If you’ve ever wondered what part your home place played in this wonderful story there’s good news, as visitors to the National Museum of Ireland can now explore their chosen county thanks to a unique heritage service called Know Thy Place.

The National Museum is delighted to introduce Know Thy Place’s ‘Ireland’ and ‘County’ charts, which will be available to purchase in the Museum shop from the end of March. Know Thy Place uses high quality archaeological research to provide an overview of the history and archaeology of Irish towns and regions from the earliest human settlers right up to modern times. The company’s archaeologists trawl through archives to track down every known monument in ‘thy place’ and the information is compiled into the story of your place from the earliest times, producing an end product of a beautifully illustrated wall chart which provides maps and information about the archaeology and history of the place.

Our Know Thy Place Ireland Chart, now available at the National Museum of Ireland

Our Know Thy Place Ireland Chart, now available at the National Museum of Ireland

Studying our past has come a long way in recent years, particularly with regard to Ireland and Irish heritage, and Know Thy Place is perfect for anyone who really wants to explore the archaeology of Ireland. Speaking about the charts now available at the National Museum, Colm Moloney, Director of Know Thy Place said “If you want a general overview of the archaeology of Ireland, our ‘Ireland’ chart explains the development of settlement on the island from earliest times through to the present day, featuring some of the most famous archaeological sites in Ireland as examples; while our ‘County’ charts are ideal if you have not yet identified your ancestor’s exact town land, as they look at each of the 32 counties in more detail.”

Commenting on their introduction to the National Museum, Colm said This new partnership is a real coup our team at Know Thy Place, as one of Ireland’s major archaeological institutions has recognised the great appeal and accuracy of our charts, each of which is prepared for the general reader by a professional archaeologist. We are also currently exploring the potential for the production of a range of exclusive charts for the Museum, focusing on some of the major objects and exhibitions on display, and this could prove a very exciting project for all involved.”

Know Thy Place’s ‘Ireland’ and ‘County’ charts are available, and retail for €19.99 and €39.99 respectively, pre-rolled and packaged for ease of transport from the Kildare Street shop. If you want to find out more about these and other charts available visit www.knowthyplace.com.

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