Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Villierstown. A village of the river.

Recently, while taking a trip along the Blackwater valley I found myself passing through the small village of Villierstown. It was quiet early on a Sunday morning and the village looked so lovely on that cold foggy morn that I decided to stop and take a few pictures.
       
                 
Villierstown on a cold foggy morning.

Villierstown has an unusual history in that rather than growing from small beginnings as a couple of traditional Irish cottages it was actually planned out and developed by the Villiers-Stuart family who were the landed gentry of the area. In the time period of the 1700s there was a substantial linen industry in the area and the village was set up to provide accommadation for the linen workers some of whom were brought from Lurgan in the northern part of the country.  Most of these buildings were put up in the 1740s and the majority of them are still standing today. The Villiers-Stuarts were a well liked family at the time and still to this day there are signs of their interest in the village to be seen.
      In 1826   Henry Villiers-Stuart  caused quiet a stir when he was elected to parliament championing the cause of Catholic Emancipation which did not go down well with his fellow protestant MPs. He later married a catholic lady from Austria.

                    


The above picture shows a memorial to the Villiers-Stuart family in the foreground, with the original church to the rear. The church is no longer a place of worship but has been given to the local community for public use.

The linen industry is now long gone and the industry of salmon fishing has followed it but the river Blackwater still plays an important role in the community, and during the summer months the pier which was built by the Villiers-Stuarts is a hive of activity for water-skiers and other leisure boaters many of which come from Youghal downstream or Cappaquinn upstream on a Sunday and stroll up to the village for a pint. 
     A more modern champion of Villierstown is undoubtably the athlete John Treacy who had an illustrious career as a long distance runner including a silver olympic medal in the marathon at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984. To this day he still has an involvment with the Irish Sports Council.

                                                                       
Villierstown, a small village of only a few hundred people, but an interesting place to include in any spin around the countryside.

                                                               
Villerstown school tucked under Dromana hill as a wispy fog lingers in the cold of the morning.




 These two pictures are some of the inscriptions on the Villiers-Stuart monument in the main street.








                                       
       The original church built for the village in the 1740s.





     A close -up of the plaque under the clock in the picture above.




   The main street of the village showing some of the original buildings.









This picture is showing the gateway into Dromana Estate at the northern end of the village. Another interesting place. We`ll leave that for another day.









The following is a link to a company which does cruises on the River Blackwater from Youghal to Cappaquinn. The captain is Mr. Tony Gallagher who is a great raconteur and a lover of all the history and folklore of the river. Highly recommended!  http://www.blackwatercruises.com/

Another usefull link here. It`s for a company based in Cappaquinn who do canoeing trips for large or small parties. Instruction is given for those who are inexperienced. The mans name is Dennis Murray.
A nice fellow.http://blackwaterboating.ie/