PHOTOGRAPHED IN 2016 BEFORE RECENT RESTORATION
On Tuesday I had intended to visit St Anne’s Park as I needed to photograph the 12 garden follies but I ended up exploring Dollymount Strand and the Bull Wall instead. I wanted to compare the condition of the structures as they are today and as they appeared in photographs from 16 April 2016. Despite not yet having current photographs I decided to begin publishing remastered versions of older photographs which have been downloaded from my Flickr catalogues. However, a few days ago I managed to find the original RAW files which are much superior to the processed JPEGS that I had produced back in April 2016.
The one thing that I stood out was the red sawdust so I asked Google Bard AI about it and got the following response: Both red cedar and European redwood are relatively rare in Ireland, so you are not likely to see them very often. However, if you do see a tree with red sawdust, you can be sure that it is one of these two species.
The Roman Temple (Herculanean House) is situated near what was originally the northwestern corner of the walled garden near the house. It was a perfect replica in classical Roman style, with a courtyard and interior paved with tiles copied from a design found during the excavations of the original Herculaneum. During recent restoration work these original courtyard mosaic tiles were unexpectedly unearthed and found to be remarkably intact and in very good condition. Works to the dome structure involved reinstating the stone parapet, reinstating the marble tiles and installing new stainless steel railings to the six bays. Works to the courtyard involved repointing and consolidating the surrounding brickwork and installing a new column at the entrance to match the existing.
Here are some additional facts about the Roman Temple:
It is made of limestone and granite.
It is 20 feet high and 15 feet wide.
The courtyard is paved with 2,000 square feet of mosaic tiles.
The temple was restored in 2016-2017.
St Anne’s Park has 12 garden follies.
St. Anne’s Well (Medieval)
Roman Tower ‘Tomb of Julii’
Annie Lee Bridge
Yew Circle (Yew Circle and Fountain)
Ornamental bridge / hermit’s cave (Bridge & Hermitage)
Rustic Hermits Cave and Footbridge (Rustic Grotto – Cave)
Arch (Rustic archway & bridge)
Four-sided arched gateway axial to rear of former house (Rustic Grotto – Archways)
Shell House / Dogs Graveyard
The follies were built by the Guinness family. The first folly to be built was Annie Lee Bridge, which commemorated the birth of Benjamin Lee Guinness’s daughter in 1837. The rest followed during the 1850’s and 60’s.
Most of the follies follow the course of the Naniken River which runs through the park, the rest can be found along an oak-lined avenue.
The condition of the follies deteriorated over the years. In 2016 Dublin City Council started conservation works to preserve the follies for generations to come. The works involved stopping decay, cleaning, clearing vegetation, removing graffiti and protecting the structures from future vandalism. Some of the follies also received new railings.
During the course of the works some interesting discoveries were made. The first was at St. Anne’s Well, the medieval well which gives the park its name. The well is on the Record of Monuments and Places and is a protected structure. The structure around the well was also built by the Guinness family. While clearing the ground by the well, an old limestone path was discovered.
The second was a tiled floor in the Herculanean Temple. The square tiles have been hand-painted to create the impression of small mosaic tiles, featuring Grecian motifs, in contrast to the Temple’s Roman design.