Posted in 14th century, Anglo Norman, Annals, Archaeology, audiobook, Bishop of Ossory, Black death, castles, Civil war, Dublin, Dublin history, Economy, famine, Gaelic Ireland, Gaelic revival, Hall House, historical tours, Irish history, Medieval Europe, Medieval history, Medieval Monasticism, Norman Invasion, Plague, The Black Death, tagged Art Mc Murrough, Castlecomer, Dublin, Edward Bruce, hall house, John Clyn, Kilkenny, Richard de Clare, St Mullins, Strongbow on July 4, 2012 |
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In the 14th century Europe experienced one of the worst crises in recorded human history which saw war, famine and plague decimate the population. In Ireland this crisis developed in a society already wracked by deep divisions and political upheaval.
Although brewing for decades this crisis began in earnest in 1315 when one of the worst famines of medieval history gripped Ireland.This was followed by a period of extreme violence between the resurgent Gaelic Irish and the Norman Barons. The crisis reached its zenith when the Black Death struck Ireland killing between 30% and 50% of the population in 1348 and early 1349.
This 14th century crisis is the subject of an upcoming audiobook I am writing at the moment and here’s a taste of what to expect!
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Have you ever wondered what people did before modern fridges? Obviously the vast majority did without, but for those who could afford one, ice houses were as good as it got up until the mid 19th century. Ice houses were a primitive if lavish form of fridge and gave those who could afford them the ability to preserve perishables in hot summer months.
These massively labour intensive and costly constructions were obviously limited to the rich and wealthy and unsurprisingly were a feature of landlords mansions until the late 19th century in Ireland.
One such mansion was Castlecomer House. Although by no means large when compared to the large estate mansions in England it was owned by the wealthy Wandesforde family, colonists from the 17th century. At Castlecomer the Wandesfordes built an impressive mansion (above) close to the site of an earlier 13th century castle. Amid the ruins of the castle protected by a canopy of trees they sunk an ice house. This impressive brick structure is almost completely hidden from view but beneath the surface lies a chamber over 20 feet deep.
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