Haunting images on show of abandoned castles

HISTORIAN and photographer, Tarquin Blake, has captured the beauty of an abandoned Kildare castle.

HISTORIAN and photographer, Tarquin Blake, has captured the beauty of an abandoned Kildare castle.

Carbury Castle is one of many ruins he has shot in his new book called Abandoned Mansions.

And an exhibition of photos from the book are currently on display in North Kildare.

From the mid-eighteenth century Irish country houses flourished. Landowners generated easy income leasing land to tenants.

As their wealth increased, so did the size of their country mansions. But factors such as the Great Famine, land reforms, the increasing expense of maintenance and the IRA targeting the houses during the War of Independence took their toll.

Gradually, abandoned and forgotten, the houses sank into decay.

In 2008 Mr. Blake found his first abandoned ‘Big House’ and began exploring the lost architecture of Ireland, often camping amongst the remote and sometimes dangerous ruins.

He has documented what is left of fifty mansion houses choosing chosen a couple of locations from each county.

He will hold an exhibition of these pictures at Castletown House, Celbridge, this month.

Mr. Blake said he has explored architectural relics from all over Ireland, often camping out in order to capture the feel of the place and the perfect image.

The photographs highlight remote and sometimes dangerous ruins from around the country, including two in County Kildare, Carbury Castle and Donore House.

The exhibition, which showed to great success in the Cork Vision Centre in November last year, runs from April 1 to May 2. It was launched by Desmond Guinness on Saturday April 2 next.

More images can be seen on the website, www.AbandonedIreland.com.