The Lonely Sentinel


A solitary obelisk standing on raised ground in what was once the parkland of Dangan Castle, County Meath. Dangan was the seat of Richard Wesley, created first Baron Mornington in 1746. He spent a great deal of money improving his house and grounds, and Bishop Pococke in his 1752 Tour in Ireland described the former as being ‘situated on a most beautiful flat, with an Amphitheater of hills rising round it, one over another, in a most beautiful manner; at the lower end is a very large piece of water, at one corner of which is an Island, it is a regular fortification, there is a ship a sloop and boats on the water, and a yard for building; the hill beyond it, is improved into a beautiful wilderness: on a round hill near the house is a Temple, and the hills round are adorned with obelisks: Pillars and some buildings, altogether the most beautiful thing I ever saw.’ Mrs Delany also visited Dangan several times, being godmother to Mornington’s heir Garret, future first Earl of Mornington and, in turn, the father of Arthur Wellesley, future Duke of Wellington who likewise spent much of his childhood here. Yet before the end of the century the family had sold the estate, the house was accidentally destroyed by fire and in 1841 J. Stirling Coyne could write ‘The noble woods, too, which adorned the demesne, have shared in the general destruction; and all the giants of the sylvan scene have been prostrated by the ruthless axe.’ Today there remain few signs of Dangan’s former splendour other than this obelisk rising in the midst of a field, and another not far away, the latter restored of late with help from the Meath branch of An Taisce.

3 comments on “The Lonely Sentinel

  1. TomGowans says:

    I am too thick to have anything profound to say so rarely comment on your blog,

    I just want you to know that I read every single one of your posts with a mixture of delight (they’re poetry) and sadness (you invariably describe the demise of yet another bit of Irish heritage).

    • You are kind to write, but I must insist that no one is ‘too thick’ to appreciate the beauties of our architectural heritage and therefore you have a right, if not indeed obligation, to comment on future posts. Thank you for your appreciation of this site.

      • Tom says:

        Goodness, you sound so like my old English teacher. Mind you the only ‘A’ grade I was awarded was for English. I was a complete tosser at Maths and Chemistry and on one of my Annual Confidential Reports in the Army my Commanding Officer wrote about me saying that, ‘Keeping this man on the Army’s ration strength is depriving his village of its idiot’. I thought that was almost as harsh as my previous Commanding Officer’s comment that he would, ‘Hesitate to advocate breeding from me’. I went through a lot of Commanding Officers but travelled a lot in my short military career.

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