Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Kenure Portico Co Dublin

                                                    Above Image: Initial view

                                     Above Image: Fine stone work on the columns

                                       Above Image: Some of the rebars exposed

Well you don’t come across something like this every day. At first I thought this was some sort of folly but in fact this fine portico is all that remains of Kenure House a large mansion that was built in 1827 on the site of an earlier house that was destroyed by fire. The house was designed by architect George Papworth who also amongst others designed Knights Bridge in Dublin (now known as Sean Heuston Bridge). The portico was added to the house in 1840. Kenure was the ancestral home of the Palmers the last one to reside there being Colonel Roderick Henry Fenwick-Palmer who strived to upkeep the property but in 1964 rising expenses on the estate drove him to auction off all the contents and sell the house to the land commission. Most of the land went to Dublin County Council who would eventually build St Catherine’s housing estate there. From 1965 to 1967 the house was leased for use in film productions and film producer Harry Alan Towers filmed parts of three films there namely “Ten little Indians”, “The Face of Fu Manchu” and “Jules Verne’s Rocket to the Moon”. The film "Ten Little Indians" in particular extensively used the house as a location. Subsequent to this period the house fell vacant and the Council found it hard to find a buyer. It remained vacant for more than a decade suffering dilapidation and vandalism. An act of arson put the house in a worse state and so in 1978 the council decided to demolish it. The only remaining part left standing was the portico and thanks to some local Rush residents who protested strong enough the Council reconsidered its proposed demolition. It now stands isolated and strange looking in the centre of a green area surrounded by modern housing.
I have to say it is quite sad to see these ruins as the once great house might have made a great visitor attraction if it had not suffered the fate it did. Walking around the great columns gives almost a sense of being in some huge Grecian ruin. The rebars (reinforcing rods) stick out of the top displaying how the mansion was wrenched away from the portico. Some of the rods are beginning to show on a couple of columns as well where the stone has crumbled. The inevitable graffiti artists have left their mark by curiously daubing the letters A L O N  E on the bases of the columns. Seems a bit apt as the portico does look so lonely and abandoned. This strange remnant has the effect of real surprise as you drive around a bend in the approach road and it suddenly comes into view. If in the area take a little time out to have a look at this unusual site.
To find the ruin take the R128 heading Northwards from Lower Main Street in Rush. This is the road opposite Hackett's Victuallers. Drive for approx 1.8Km until you reach the old graveyard on your left. There is a left hand turn just past this with a sign pointing to St Catherine's Estate. Turn left and continue up this road which is called The Drive. You will see the Portico at the top of this road in a green area. You can park at the shop which is located adjacent.  

For an image of what Kenure House originally looked like visit here. 

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