When the Past Collides with the Future

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Tucked off a minor County Wexford road that emulates the river Barrow as it sinuously wends its way south to the Irish Sea, is a complex of buildings that were evidently once part of an ancient estate. Stokestown, as this area is called, contains a large, late Georgian house built for the Deane-Drake family. But the range shown here evidently predates that property, and suggests it served as a residence that until the present Stokestown House was erected.

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The complex at Stokestown has been developed around a large, sloping courtyard but focuses on a four-storey castellated block located at the centre of the south range. This would appear to be a tower house much modified by diverse occupants: the condition of the interior indicates that it was occupied until relatively recently. The domestic accommodation it formerly provided was further extended by a two-storey block to the immediate east but the rest of the buildings served as stables, coach houses, barns and so forth. A mixture of rubble stone, red brick and cut granite (for certain features such as sills) have been used, often in such a way as to indicate changes of purpose over the centuries. What remains consistent throughout has been the calibre of the craftsmanship involved: despite neglect these buildings survive because they were so sturdily constructed throughout their evolution.

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Hitherto Stokestown has, as mentioned, been tucked off a minor road but these circumstances are about to change since the lands on which the complex stand are adjacent to the New Ross Bypass currently under construction. As a result of this development, the buildings will be cut off from another part of the former estate, an octagonal, two-storey summer house located on rising ground to the east. Now roofless and derelict but still retaining some of the slate that once covered its exterior walls, this pavilion is said to have been built so that the owners of Stokestown could admire the view of the surrounding countryside. Unfortunately the only prospect soon to be offered to anyone in the spot will be of cars speeding past, since the new road has been cut into ground just a matter of feet away (although the relevant Environmental Impact Statement insists the by-pass will only have ‘indirect impact’ on this listed building). Stokestown has a history going back many centuries, but its future looks to be of shorter duration.

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2 comments on “When the Past Collides with the Future

  1. Another sad beauty … (Sigh)

  2. Ellen Tonetti says:

    My great-great grandfather was a gamekeeper on this estate in the 1800’s. I know this is called “progress”, but knowing a super highway is going through this beautiful countryside makes me sad!

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