Photographer's Note

Pictured here is the remains of Kenure House in the rural seaside town of Rush in North County Dublin. Where once stood an impressive mansion that would have rivaled any across the country, today all that remains is its impressive Corinthian columned portico, standing alone in a public park.

Kenure House began life in 1703, built to the designs of architect George Papworth. In 1827 a fire destroyed a large part of the structure and it was rebuilt and extended substantially to create the better known Kenure House of more recent times and of whom images can be found online. The house was occupied by the Palmer family who had come to Ireland from Norfolk in England in 1681.

It was for hundreds of years that the impressive mass of Kenure dominated the skyline in this small town, but unlike many of the land owners who lived in the great houses of Ireland, the Palmers enjoyed very positive relationships with the local people. The people of Rush had always relied on the sea as a way of making a living, so the dependence on the land was lesser here than in other parts of the country.

The house passed through the lineage of the Palmer family for hundreds of years, and along with its demesne and walled gardens were considered among the most impressive estates in the Fingal area of Dublin.

It was in 1964 that the last of the Palmers who lived in the house, Colonel R. H. Fenwick-Palmer decided that the never ending battle against rising costs, dry rot, damp and deterioration was one he could no longer fight. It was that year that the contents of Kenure house were auctioned off and the estate was sold to the Irish land Commission. Soon after this, the house was handed over to Dublin County Council.

The council were unable to find a buyer for the immense building and it soon fell into disrepair. The house was damaged and vandalized until eventually the council took the horrible decision in 1978 to demolish the building for safety reasons.

Without a doubt, as we look back now on pictures of the impressive mansion that once stood here we can see that this decision to destroy the building was a horrendous one and a very important and beautiful structure was lost forever. Sadly in those times, the councils of Ireland could not be considered enlightened when it came to protecting the countries built heritage. At this time, many horrendous decisions were made across Ireland in relation to planning and most of them are still rued today.

At the time of its ultimate destruction, the people of Rush did protest and their efforts led to the retaining of the portico of the house, which we see here in this picture.

It makes a strange sight, looking a little like a Greek or Roman temple and standing alone in the middle of a park; the rest of the house now a distant memory.

Since its demolition a residential area called St Catherines has sprung up, and the parkland in which the portico stands features a new children's playground and football pitches. It seems strange to see this historic structure standing in the midst of that modern development. If nothing else though, it acts as a memorial to the destructive folly of past years.

To see the house in all its glory, and to get an idea of the size of this portico, please visit this link which has pictures of the house when it stood proud.

Picture dedicated to Ourania, whose wonderful shots of the Gate of Athena Archegetis in Plaka inspired me to finally go and photograph this place! Thanks Ourania, and thanks for your note about Athens of the North, I had never ever heard that before!

Thanks for looking!

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4173 W: 26 N: 9238] (33764)
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