The Wings of the Dove

On a rise to the north-west of the main house at Waterstown, County Westmeath can be seen one of the former estate’s most distinctive features: a mid-18th century dovecote: like other buildings on the site, its design has traditionally been attributed to Richard Castle and, once again, the building features a decidedly eccentric use of classical motifs. On top of a square base rises an octagonal tower, each with a blind window. The tower is in turn topped by a spire concluding in a delicate weather vane. Near the summit of the spire are a series of square openings with landing ledges: the only overt evidence of the dovecote’s function.

Holding a great vaulted chamber, the square base was originally open to the elements: about two-thirds up each side a key-stoned arch sprung from the projecting string-course. However, at some later date, most of the openings were filled with rubble stone, and smaller windows inserted on three sides: a large fireplace was created on the fourth. Presumably the intention was to convert the space into a summer or tea house. Alas, like everything else at Waterstown, the building’s present condition is perilous.

4 comments on “The Wings of the Dove

  1. Vincent Delany says:

    This eye catcher shares many features with the tower on Killiney Hill, near Dublin.
    Square base with arched openings.
    Upper storey square in stead of octagonal.
    Upper spire circular instead of hexagonal.
    But a similar spirit and overall size.

  2. Gerald McCarthy says:

    Splendid articles on Watertown House and demesne, wondering did you observe the Bench Mark 202.4 feet above sea level on the base of the Dovecote?

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