WALKING IN THE VICARSTOWN AREA
There is a Heritage Trail in Vicarstown (see below) in an area strewn with historical buildings. The famous parliamentarian and orator, Henry Grattan lived here and the village benefitted from his kindness. Below is shown a “Neighbourwood” walk – one of many relaxing pastimes to be found here.
Grattan Heritage Trail:
1. Fort of Dunrally
Located ot the mouth of the Derryvarragh River where it joins the Barrow. Ninth century O’Moore stronghold that was seized by the Viking Rodalph in the 10th century who set up a major Viking stockade settlement and Longphort there. It was repossessed by the O’Moores in the 11th Century, controlled by the Normans in the 12th Century. Repossessed agoin by the O’Moores who held it until the 16th Century when it was granted to Francis Cosby. In 1782 Henry Grattan bought the Moyanna Estate and built a shooting Lodge at Dunrally. His lands stretched from Stradbally to the Barrow and he planted trees at his shooting Lodge at Dunrally and Beech trees in Vicarstown.
2. Dunrally Bridge 1820
Built by James Gratton. son of Henry and heir to the Moyanna Estate.
3. New Road
Built by James Grattan 1820-23
4. Grand Canal Barrow Line 1791
Built to link Lowtown on the Grand Canal Main Line with Athy on the Barrow. 4,400 people worked on the construction through Vicarstown 1789-91. Henry Grattan allowed the canal go through his Moyanna Estate free of charge. Vicarstown developed as an important inland post. Passenger service ceased in 1846.
5. Vicarstown Bridge 1790
Archibald Millor. the Canal’s chief engineer reckoned that it would not stay up when he saw it being built. He has been proved wrong so far!
6. Canal Stores
Built to store materials carried by barge on the canal. The two storey building was used for storing malt from Stradbally destined for Guinness in Dublin.
7. Kylemahoe Headstone
Now serving as a step up to the canal from the Vicarstown Inn. The headstone was previously used a front doorstep on the old canal company dwelling house which was demolished in the 1970s. The house had stables for boat horses underneath.
8. Grattan Aquaduct 1790
Built to take the canall over the Derryvarragh River. Named after Henry Grattan.
9. Vicarstown Market 1820
10. RIC Barracks 1801
Built in responsee to damage to the canal by insurgents during the 1798 Rebellion.
11. Vicarstown National School 1868
Built by Pauline Grattan Bellew, Granddaughter of Henry, for the education of her tenant’s children.
12. Church of the Assumption 1838
Designed with a similar layout to the earlier Carlow Cathedral. Site and financial assistance provided by the Grattan Family.
13. Moyanna Graveyard and ruined Church
Grattan coat of arms adorns the graveyard entrance. Henry Grattan requested to be buried here. but his peers felt the Westminster Abbey was more fitting. His granddaughter Pauline built the entrance and enlarged the graveyard.
14. Grattan Lodge 1882
Built by Pauline Grattan-Bellew on the site where her grandfather Henry planted his much-loved Beech trees at the turn of the l8th Century. Henry Grattan had a great love for trees and a visitor to his house at Tinnehinch, Co. Wicklow once remarked that one big beech was dangerously near to his house. ‘Yes’ said Grattan. ‘I have often thought that I must have the house moved’.