5 Curraghmore

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Stop 5:  Curraghmore House

Curraghmore House, seat of the Marquis of Waterford, was originally a castle built by the Power family in the 12th Century. Curraghmore, unlike many other estates in Ireland, is unique because it has been owned by the same family since the 12th Century. When Lady Catherine Power married Sir Marcus Beresford in the 18th Century, they made changes to the house. The front hall and the billiard room above are the only parts of the original castle that remain and they are on a different level than the rest of the house. There are fine statues in the grounds. At the back there are houses in which some of us pupils at Portlaw N.S. live.

There was supposed to be a curse on all the lords of Curraghmore. An old woman was really angry with the first marquis of Waterford because her grandson was hung for stealing on the estate. When she gave out to him, he flicked her out of his way with his whip. She put a curse on all the lords right up to our present one. Ironically, every marquis since has died tragically. The present one is said to be free from the curse. There is also a ghost story attached to the house which we put on our website.

Curraghmore means “great marsh.” There are 5,000 acres surrounding the house.

Curraghmore is very much a little world on its own. It is sealed off from the outside world by its woods and hills, and by the 16 ring of its demesne wall. On the west side of the estate, there is a gap where you can see the Comeragh Mountains. On the south side, the Clodagh River runs for four miles through a secret valley. It has many ancient trees growing along its banks. You might still see pink martens in this area. As you go in from the Waterford City side, you drive down a long valley and through the woods. You will come straight into the courtyard, which is between long rows of pink chestnuts, workers’ houses and stable buildings, and lo and behold, you will see the front door of Curraghmore House, with the stag of St. Hubert above it.


Our Natural Heritage

Take a visit to the tallest tree in the Republic of Ireland. It is in Curraghmore, a lovely place to go for a walk. The tree is at least 50 metres high. It is a Sitka Spruce and was planted in the 1830s. It is called after the island of Sitka off the coast of Alaska. Other trees to be found in the Portlaw area include: conifers, the Norway Spruce, the Japanese Larch, the Poplar European Larch, Scot Pine, Mountain Pine, Silver Fir, Douglas Fir, Beech, Oak, Alder, Sycamore, Elm, Horse Chestnut, Spanish Chestnut and Birch. The Portlaw area is especially noted for its old oak trees.

In Curraghmore, you can also see the remains of a beautiful rhododendron ride, which was planted in 1882. The two most common plant/wild flowers in Curraghmore are wild bluebells and heather. They smell beautiful and look really pretty. Other flowers that grow there are hydrangeas, snowdrops, sunflowers, daffodils, primroses, dog roses, bluebells and honeysuckle. You can also look for the Japanese Garden that was set in 1910 by the 7th Marquis on the site of an old quarry

Tallest Tree King John’s Bridge This is the day  we were exploring Curraghmore.

The Curraghmore Crystal Ball

There is a mysterious crystal ball which was said to have curative properties and was the property of Lord Waterford who had the object preserved at his Curraghmore estate. 

It is described as a globe of almost transparent crystal, two and a half inches in diameter, the crystal ball was bound by silver and protected by a leather cover. According to a nineteenth century article, the ball was a
Power-Beresford heirloom and had been in the family for as long as anybody could remember.

Presumed to be of Eastern origin, there is a reference to the crystal ball in the 'Ancient and Present State of Waterford' which was published in 1746 and, even then, the report said it had been ''time out of mind in the family''.

Whatever about its benefits on human beings, by the 1800s the Curraghmore Crystal was almost exclusively sought by tenant farmers who believed it could cure murraine or 'black leg'. They placed the so called magic crystal into the drinking water of the infected cattle and it must have cured at least some of the animals otherwise the farmers would not have kept coming back looking for it.

However, by 1881, the family had stopped handing out the crystal globe and, when farmers came asking for it at the estate office, they were handed a printed card which outlined how to prepare a medical compound for 'Black Quarter' using, among other things, 'Rue, Savin and Garlic"

The crystal globe is still preserved at Curraghmore and in good shape.  The Marquis of Curraghmore, Lord Waterford still allows the use of the crystal to cure and protect cattle. It was, he said, used extensively to good effect during World War II and during the bad Foot and Mouth crisis of the late 1960s.

 Lord Waterford claims that the cattle treated with the crystal remain healthy afterwards and
nobody had ever disproved its curative powers.  Many people believe in the curative powers of crystals today and they can be bought at many alternative health shops and 'New Age' shops and even places like the Ulster Museum sell a variety of crystals from quartz to amethyst.

                                 To Stop 6



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