All of the film that I used to take photos during this tour proved to be faulty. So I have been unable to scan any transparencies to provide images for this account. However, Ann Johnston made some sketches during the tour and I offer some of them as illustrations
Friday 17 February
At the Grand Canal to the north of Milltown (O028322) there is a fine lock and a mill. Nearby is a typical lock-keeper's house which is still occupied.
Saturday 18 February
Corbally Harbour (N842137), at the end of a branch of the Grand Canal, consists of a ruined two-storey house with some smaller ruins around it. The canal basin is silted up and overgrown and the canal branch is in similar condition. About 50m to the north of the basin is a lime-kiln.
The abbey at Connellmore (N818140) consists of a single gable in a small graveyard. The site is greatly overgrown and was not closely inspected. Nearby is a water mill. At Athgarvan (N820120) there is a very fine corn mill with two kilns and a good stream wheel. This is metal with wooden paddles, most of which are rotten. The mill as four storeys high by six bays long with a double gable. One of the kilns is separate from the main building. The central section of the mill has been largely replaced by silos and storage bins. The mill does not appear to be operating but is in use as a feed store and fertilizer depot. No trace was found of the castle to the north of Athgarvan.
Levittstown Lock (S707877), on the Barrow Navigation, stands beside a large castellated mill, which is seven storeys high by seven bays long and three bays deep. It has a double-gabled outshot at the back, three storeys high. The mill was driven by water from the navigation. The sluice-gate and overflow are intact but there is no trace of the wheel. A short distance upstream from the lock is a fine lifting bridge.
Ballyadams Castle (S630909), examined on a previous occasion, was noted in passing. Ballyadams Church (S625906) was investigated. There is no sign of the double- effigy slab mentioned in the Shell Book, although the tomb can be seen and some of the weepers are visible. The single-effigy slab is on the other side of the church.
The lock at Clogrenan (S702740) was inspected. The lock-house has been extensively modernised. A short distance downstream is a very fine bawn with four circular flanking towers. Two of these have been incorporated into a house which is possibly modern. All the towers have conical caps and some fine pointed defensive slits.
At Killeshin (S673780) there are remains of a small rectangular church consisting mainly of east and west gables and other fragmentary walls. The east gable features a two- light ogee-headed window and the west gable has a very fine Romanesque doorway with four orders. This is surmounted by a round-headed window. There is another round- headed window in the north wall and both of these have pointed moulding on the outside. The doorway is richly decorated with chevrons, beading, masks etc. There is a good stone font outside the church. In a field to the south is a good motte.
About 2km north of Goresbridge (S684558) there is a very fine castellated mill with turrets and bartizans. It is six storeys high by three bays wide and 14 bays long. There is a corn kiln at the east end.
At Ullard (S724481) there is a small nave and chancel church featuring a very fine Romanesque west doorway. This originally had a three-order arch but the inner order has been totally rebuilt. Part of the rebuilding involves insertion of some small carved fragments including a weathered mask. The doorway has the usual decoration including human and animal heads, but it is greatly weathered. It is surmounted by a small pointed early window which is round-headed on the inside. There are some small round-headed windows in the south wall of the nave. The chancel has a later two-light east window and there is a crypt below the altar. There are some remains of a piscina in the south wall of the chancel and beside it are traces of a possible sedilia. There is an ambry in the north wall and in the NE corner a stone stairway leads to the upper level (now missing). There is evidence of a possible north transept. The chancel arch has been rebuilt from a large pointed arch to a smaller round arch. There is some carving evident on the pillars of the original arch. Attached to the east gable is a ball alley and just outside the SE corner of this is a greatly weathered High Cross. This features a Crucifixion on one side and the other side is plain. There are some carved spirals on the base of the cross and part of the shaft is modern. The ring of the cross is unpierced and the arms are quite short.
Sunday 19 February
The ruins of Newbawn Castle (S826221) were viewed from the roadside. They consist of a lower floor with an arch, set in a pile of rubble, surrounded by trees. There was no sign of Yoletown Castle (S798167). Rathumney Castle (S768164) consists of a large rectangular hall, about 22m by 7m internally, with a number of large window openings. This appears to be a two-storey building. There is evidence of one fireplace. The projecting tower at one corner has traces of a double latrine chute.
Dunbrody Castle (S713148) is a long rectangular bawn, aligned approximately E- W, with four good corner towers. Inside there are remains of many buildings but it is greatly overgrown. There is a lot of brickwork in evidence, particularly at the corner towers. The castle is beside some stables which may date from the late 18th century.
Dunbrody Cistercian Abbey (S710148) is an extensive ruin. The large cruciform church has three east chapels in each of the transepts. The present entrance is through one of the chapels in the south transept. There are traces of the south aisle arcade and the north aisle arcade is now blocked. Above the pillars are some single and double windows with some decoration. The west doorway is blocked. Only half the moulding here is in place and it features some weathered masks. There are traces of a three-light west window and a good three-light east window. A spiral stairway in the NW corner leads to the roof of the north transept. A good allure leads to the tower which has a series of mural stairways and passages. The room above the tower crossing is now a dove-cot. The site of the cloister is clear but there are no traces of the cloister arcade. A series of vaulted rooms run along the east side of the cloister garth. These are now locked and house fragments of carved stone. A large rectangular building runs along the south side of the cloister garth. There is a carved mask above the present abbey entrance.
The doorway of Ballyhack Castle (S705108) is in the west wall. It is protected by a machicolation just below roof level. There is also a chimney in this wall and the corbels of a bartizan at the SW corner. A latrine chute exits at the base of the north wall. The gate is locked but through it can be seen a large vaulted room with deep recesses. There is a murder hole and a stairway rises to the right of the doorway. There are many small windows throughout the castle and some have ogee heads. There are some two-light windows near the top of the west wall and a large window opening above the doorway at about second floor level. The tower is about five storeys high.
Fethard-on-sea (S793052) has a large ruined house with a very fine round flanking tower at the SE corner. This has a good full machicolation around the top. At the base is a vaulted room with a rectangular hole in the vault. There are very good traces of wicker centering. The tower led to the upper storeys of the attached building which runs E-W. There are two large vaulted rooms at the ground floor of this building.
Slade Castle (X746985) consists of a two-storey building with a high tower attached. The doorway, in the south wall, of the lower building was protected by a murder hole which is now blocked. To the left of the doorway is a large mural chamber with a good corbelled ceiling. There is a window opening to the tower but there is no other connection at this level. The ground floor has a series of very fine vaulted rooms with a least one fireplace. A straight mural stairway rises to the right of the doorway. The first floor has three rooms with a very fine fireplace. There is attic space above but the roof is now missing. There are some very good single- and double-light windows with seats. Access to the tower at this level is through a hole in the wall. The doorway to the tower is in the south wall and is protected by a murder hole and a machicolation. A spiral stairway rises on the right. Both sections of the castle have very fine crenellations.
Tintern Cistercian Abbey (S794100) has had many major alterations. Both north and south aisles are now missing and the aisle arcades have been blocked up with inserted pointed windows and doors. Both transepts are also missing but there is a long south chapel leading from the chancel. Originally the chancel had three lancet windows on each side. Some of these have been blocked up and others have been remodelled as three-light windows. A floor has been inserted to change the chancel to a two-storey building and there is a fireplace at the upper level. There is a large east window. Around the eaves of the chancel is a fine collection of carved masks. In the 16th century the chancel and tower were converted to living quarters and in the 19th century the nave was converted to a residence which was in use until the 1960s. The bridge downstream from the abbey has good crenellations and at the east end is a castellated lime kiln.
The buildings at Clonmines (S843128) were viewed from a distance. They include a church and a tower-house, with possible fragments of a town wall.
Coolhull Castle (S895098) is a two-storey building with attic, aligned approximately E-W. At the west end is a tall slim tower of similar date. Both sections have very good crenellations. The lower portion has some fine single- and double-light round-headed windows and there is a bartizan at the NE corner. There is a good fireplace in the north wall at first floor level and traces of another fireplace in the east wall. The tower has a north doorway protected by a machicolation at roof level. Just inside, on the left, is the doorway to the hall, now partly blocked. A fine broad spiral stairway rises within the tower but it is not accessible beyond first floor level. Here there is a garderobe and the latrine chute exits at the south base of the tower. There is also a fine slopstone.
Ballyteige Castle (S967043) was viewed from the roadside. It is possibly a five- storey tower with some crenellations. There is at least one machicolation and some lower buildings. It is completely integrated into modern buildings and was not closely inspected. A small tower attached to a modern farmhouse was viewed near Newcastle Cross Roads (S983138).
Monday 20 February
Foulkesmill (S853186) is a very fine flour mill, five storeys high and five bays long. It was erected by Richard Purcell & Son and built by Martin Bowes in 1851. The outshot at the back of the mill houses a corn kiln. The excellent breast-shot wheel is in full working order and drives the machinery which is housed in the basement. The stone-floor above is entered from the rear of the mill. There are two sets of stones one of which has a metal rim inscribed Pearson, Dublin 1860. There is evidence of two other sets of stones, now removed. At the first floor are hoppers which feed the stones and the second and third floors are grain stores. The drying floor of the corn kiln is at the first floor level.
The castle near Hawkshaw's Bridge (S888195) was viewed from the roadside. It appears to be the lower two storeys of a tower-house with a pointed doorway and some small windows.
The partly blocked doorway of Taghmon Castle (S918197) is in the east wall. There are corbels of a machicolation at roof level and bartizans at the SE and NW corners. Above the doorway is a large murder hole or possibly the space for a portcullis. The tower is vaulted above the first floor and there are three storeys above the vault. A straight mural stairway rises to the right of the doorway. It becomes a spiral in the NW corner above the third floor. There is a garderobe in the SW corner above the vault. There are two fireplaces in the west wall. In the nearby churchyard is the head and base of a cross. The head has an unpierced ring and one arm is missing. The base has a cross carved in relief.
The castles marked near Malmontry Bridge and Browncastle Bridge were not located. The castle near Turner's Cross Roads (S939188) stands to full height minus crenellations. The doorway in the east wall was protected by a machicolation of which there are remains at roof level. A spiral stairway rose in the NW corner but it is not easily accessible from the ground floor and is fragmentary at the higher levels. The ground floor room is well provided with small musket loops as well as the usual defensive slits. The castle is vaulted above the first floor but the upper levels are not accessible. There is a latrine chute exit at the base of the south wall.
The West Gate in Wexford (T045222) has the appearance of a small tower house. A mural stairway rises in the north wall to the NW corner where it becomes a spiral rising to the top. There is a fireplace at the second floor and windows with seats at the second and third floors. A garderobe above the vault leads out of the north wall. A good section of town wall runs south from the tower.
Rathmacknee Castle (T031140) is a very fine tower house set at one corner of a five-sided bawn. The gateway in the east wall is protected by a good machicolation and there is a fine bartizan at the NE corner of the bawn. Most of the south wall is missing and there is a house built against the west and SW walls. The wall walk is intact and accessible along the east and north walls. The tower has a good batter and traces of crenellations. However the interior was not accessible during this visit.
The castle at Ballycogly House (T037112) was viewed from the roadside. It is a fragment of a few walls, greatly overgrown. Bargy Castle (T030089) is incorporated into a large house and was not closely inspected. Near the roadside is a small round tower, This has two entrances and appears to have been a windmill. The castellated top is modern. Butlerstown Castle (T045087) was viewed from a distance. It is roofed and apparently occupied.
Another castle was inspected (T063070). It is attached to a two-storey, relatively modern, brick-built house. The original doorway to the castle was in the north wall and is now blocked. There is no access to the tower which is about five storeys high and has no crenellations. There are traces of a machicolation over the doorway and a chimney in the south wall seems to lead from the third floor. There is a latrine chute exit at the base of the east wall. The castle is lit throughout by many defensive loops including some good corner slits.
Tacumshane Windmill (T076073) was built in 1846. It is three storeys high with a thatched roof. At the top floor the power from the sails drives a vertical shaft. This leads to the bottom floor where the power is given to the two sets of stones which are on the first floor. A hoist, driven from the sails, is no longer operating but the evidence for it is clear. A fine curved stairway leads to the stone-floor. There is a good tail pole and wheel.
At the head of Lady's Island Lake (T107075) is a fragment of a small tower leaning over at a very steep angle. It features a couple of good defensive loops. Nearby is a much more complete tower attached to a gateway and a wall fragment. It is about four storeys high and looks like a small tower house. It is not accessible. There is a single room above the gateway which is protected by a murder hole. There are some traces of a machicolation. Beyond the castle is a small graveyard with a fragment of a church.
Near Churchtown (T120055) there is a very fine tower house with complete crenellations. The doorway in the north wall is protected by a good machicolation and a murder hole. The castle is vaulted above the first floor. A mural stairway rises to the left of the doorway to the first floor. It continues in the east wall to above the vault where there are another three storeys plus attic. There is a good fireplace at the third floor and part of the top storey is now a dove cot. There is a secret room within the vaulting which may be entered through the floor of a small chamber in the south wall. There is a garderobe in the west wall above the vault. The stairway continues to rise in the south and west walls and emerges at the allure where there are good roof weepers. The ground floor has good deeply-recessed windows and there is a ?coal-hole? under the stairs. Attached to the north wall of the tower is a fine three-storey house. The lower storey of this has a good batter and the upper portions may be 18th century. The doorway in the west wall has a square hood mould and may be 16th century. In the yard is a bake-house and the well uses a millstone as a cover.
Near Carnsore Point (T120038) is the ruin of a small rectangular church with east and south windows and a north doorway. It is set within a small enclosure with one early 19th century gravestone. The marshy hollow at the bottom of the field across the lane from the church may be St Vogue's Well.
Tuesday 21 February
The Church of Ireland occupies the site of the nave of St Mary's Church, New Ross (S722277). The ruined chancel and transepts remain. The south transept has two east chapels and a two-bay west aisle. There is also a very fine effigy slab and a poor one. There are some good coffin lids and some relatively modern box tombs. The crypt was not accessible. There is a piscina in the south wall and a three-light window. At the west doorway of the north transept is a good carved mask with a knot on the forehead. There is a three-light north window and within the transept are some carved fragments including some effigies. This area of the church is locked. The chancel has a good three-light east window and some fine lancet windows in the north and south walls.
At Graiguenamanagh (S709437) the church of the Cistercian Abbey of Duiske has been mostly restored (nave, chancel, transepts and part of the north aisle). The very fine wooden roof features no nails. Inside the church is the effigy of a cross-legged knight and outside are two ancient crosses.
On the way to Kilteel a motte was noted at Rathmore (N960195). The castle marked near the village was not located. Kilteel Castle (N984212) is a very fine gatehouse - a strong tower with attached gateway. It is about five storeys high. The door is locked but leads to a vaulted chamber. A stairway, housed within a projecting round tower, rises on the left. On the other side of the village is a fragment of a High Cross and other carved stones. A short distance from this (N996222) is a ruined nave and chancel church with fragments of a richly decorated chancel arch of three orders. There is also an early cross slab. It is surrounded by a small graveyard. To the north are three fragments of a town wall with a gateway.
The Church of Ireland at Newcastle (N996288) occupies the western half of a rectangular church with a strong west tower. The original east window has been moved to form the east window of the present church. The ruined section had three windows in the south wall, two are now blocked and one has an ogee head. The north wall has a smaller two-light window with ogee head. The tower has a bell cot in the west wall and traces of a parapet. It is lit by small windows some of which have ogee heads. There is a small motte in the field beside the church.
A typical Dowdall wayside cross was inspected (O045662). It has a crucifixion on the east side and a very long inscription. The cap features angels with books, beasts and foliage.