New Book's Gorgeous Photos of Deserted Cottages and Abandoned Castles in Ireland
As timeless as Ireland's lush landscapes may appear at first glance, the many ruined castles, churches, ancient sites, houses, and mills scattered across the island reveal the folly of thinking the place (any place) exists outside history. What remains of these structures tells the tales of early religious orders, foreign invaders, clan wars, mass emigration, 20th-century partition—in short, the story of Ireland itself.
Abandoned Ireland, a new photo book from Amber Books, takes readers to dozens of intriguing deserted sites across the island, showing them off in 180 remarkable images and putting them in context with informative descriptions provided by author Dominic Connolly. The book invites travelers not only to admire the ruins but to seek out their forgotten histories as well.
Scoll on to see a selection of photos from the book, along with captions provided by the publisher.
Pictured above: According to Abandoned Ireland, the 13th-century Castle Roche in County Louth was built for Lady Rohesia de Verdun, who supposedly promised to marry the architect. But when he went to claim her hand, she had him thrown out of what's known today as the structure's "murder window."
From Abandoned Ireland: "Doagh is still called an island but the channel between it and the mainland has silted up. Despite this, it still shows signs of rural depopulation, including this house. Donegal is sometimes known as the 'forgotten county' because it is remote and difficult to access."
From Abandoned Ireland: "Constructed in the mid-16th century for the Fitzgerald clan, the structure of this castle was so strong that it withstood four charges being detonated at its corners by Oliver Cromwell’s English troops in the 1650s. However, all occupants were killed in the attack and the castle was rendered uninhabitable."
From Abandoned Ireland: "This house was built at the end of the 18th century by George Moore, who had made a fortune in Spain in the wine and brandy trade. His descendants continued to live here until the house was burned in 1923 by opponents of the Anglo-Irish Treaty (the then-owner, Maurice Moore, was pro-Treaty). Moore Hall was designed by John Roberts, who was also the architect for Tyrone House in County Galway as well as both the Protestant and Catholic cathedrals in Waterford. The Moore estate stands amid the limestone karst landscape of County Mayo, which provides the conditions for various exotic plants to grow."
From Abandoned Ireland: "Built for landowner John D’Arcy in 1818, this Gothic Revival–style house fell on hard times when the Great Famine struck. Many tenants could not pay their rent or emigrated. The D’Arcys went bankrupt. In the 20th century, the house was leased to joint tenants who stripped it of its remaining valuable assets."
From Abandoned Ireland: "Across Ireland there are many derelict cottages—signs of rural depopulation, as people have been drawn elsewhere by better prospects than living off the land. Ironically, this dwelling is in a village that acted as a focal point for the Irish side of the first transatlantic cables."
From Abandoned Ireland: "The castle is most famous as the home of the Blarney Stone, said to give the gift of eloquence if kissed. The edifice was built by chieftain Cormac MacCarthy in the 15th century. Legend has it that England's Queen Elizabeth I coined 'blarney' as a word for 'coaxing talk'—exasperated at excuses regarding taking the castle, she purportedly called them all blarney."