The Gates to Nowhere


A gateway arch looking rather desolate on the side of the road at Northbrook, Aughrim, County Galway. This was not its original location, since the arch came from an estate in neighbouring County Roscommon, possibly Mote Park. The house there, belonging to the Crofton family, was demolished in the 1960s, its contents sold two decades earlier. Little now remains except another entrance gate, a much more substantial Doric triumphal arch surmounted by a lion which dates from c.1800 and is sometimes attributed to James Gandon. If the gateway shown here did come from Mote, it presumably marked a secondary entrance into the demesne.

11 comments on “The Gates to Nowhere

  1. Ciarán MacGonigal says:

    Robert,that Gate has been there since before I was a child,which predates(obviously)the demolition of Mote Park, Ursula Crofton was Sir George Mahon’s sister,and after the tragic death of her son,the estate dwindled away..p’raps Tim Mahon might know if and when,but if if did come from Mote Park,then it’s been there since at least the 1930’s ; the Ringling-Norths must have some idea where it came from,but p’raps not as they grew up least the Ringlings of my generation…worth pursuing..I was told somewhere that in fact it came from Garbally Park in the 1920’s but I’m not sure of that a fact I mean..

    • Thanks for your comments: I was advised that the gates had been moved more recently than the 1930s, but as you advise it might be worth asking Tim M or someone else. I don’t think Garbally Pk as I was around there a couple of weeks back and none of the gates/lodges are in similar style…

      • Ciarán MacGonigal says:

        there were more than 7 entrances to Garbally,starting at Cappataggle and Kilreekle,and over towards Clonbrock on the Aahascragh road; the Trenches were deeply unpopular and there are descriptions of the funeral of the last Trench to actually live in Garbally,which moved from the outer gate on the main Galway road along the Brackernagh road in the town to St.John’s Hill; they were known as ” Hell the Gun boys” Trenches, as they were Jacobite supporters,and in command of a Cannon position at Aughrim,when realising the day was lost,the senior Mr.Trench decided with his two sons to throw their lot in with the Williamites,and by tradition said..”Right boys,Heel the Gun for King William(in other words apply their heavy boots to sinking the loading Breach into the mud” ..and lo! it came to pass..they went on to acquire a lot of land in the Williamite re-settlements which followed.a number of the lodges and entrances which I remember as still standing in my late Teens and early 20’s were all of different styles marking this or that marriage to an Heiress.Just like the Leinster Gates at Carton inserted into the wall for a FitzGerald event(the wall on the back Dunboyne road); the local population are generally unreliable as most are post 1846 re-settlements(following the flight from the land post Famine)their sense of timelines are,at best unreliable,and there are sensitivities as to how many arrived there,and they often have a “folk” memory of losing the if you arrived in notebook in hand asking a question they’ll be deeply suspicious.You know if you went to Clonmel to ask about the “Wilderness” the information supplied would bear almost no relation to what you know as a family member.
        a number of more reliable guides are; the Ordinance Survey Office,give the place or townland name and get the map on the computer and blow it up to a large size you’ll often find the factual details there; the NLI did a series in the 1970’s of several landed Estates with photographs and there should be something there, the Architectural Archive;the National Archives in Bishop Street;the NI Archives which collected massively over the years;and Terence Reeves Smyth who knows factually anything to be known about almost every house,garden,cottage cottage Ornée,Castle,and view in all of Ireland,his family still live at Hardymount near Tullow Co.Carlow and have a great Garden and he’s the Senior Officer with the DOE of Northern Ireland.I’m not THAT old,wasn’t around in the 1930s but the Croftons were still in Situ in the late 1950s Ursula Crofton née Mahon( a sister of Sir George)and her younger brother were painters of some quality and showed in the RHA(she’s therfore the Aunt of Tim & JInny Moore(née Mahon)and she was in College of Art with me.I went to parties at Castlegar in the ’60’s and met her grandaunt the Hon.Miss(Ethel)Dillon at Clonbrock. I bought the Dillon Service and gave it to Luke for Strokestown(white paste,blue borders,with Coronetted “D”s.

      • Thank you Ciaran,
        I am of course familiar with, and regularly use, the diverse sources you propose, but perhaps they will be of interest to regular readers.

  2. Ciarán MacGonigal says:

    it was there I should have explained in all the years we travelled up and down that road to our house in Connemara,so it was a marking point…

  3. Zick, Steven says:

    Great seeing you last night–knock ’em dead in the Big D–!

  4. marcus says:

    There are some interesting gates still at Mount Talbot between Athleague and Ballygar near the Roscommon /Galway county border. You may have seen them but otherwise you might like to take them in next time you are in the West.

    • Dear Marcus,
      Yes, I know the gates, but have not yet photographed them. I covered a lot of ground on my last trip to that part of the world, and am now planning a return in the new year. So they shall appear yet…

  5. Marie says:

    These gates appear to be the
    entrance gates from Rookwood House.
    Rookwood was demolished in the’40s.

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