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The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Contents Page
The Inquisition by Ronan McDonnell - Semper Quarens - Always Looking

An Oubliette 2

Enniscorthy Castle as it appears today (if you are wearing green sunglasses).

Enniscorthy Castle as it appears today (if you are wearing green sunglasses).

In the most recent issue of Dublin Review Colm Tóibín quotes an obscure tract which casts further examining light on a topic The Inquisition has previously glossed over in its usual glib manner; the oubliette. Discussing his father’s part-ownership of Wallop’s Castle in Enniscorthy, Tóibín quotes Hore’s History of County Wexford, written by Herbert Hore and published many years later by his son;

“…a circular oubliette, lit only by a small opening about six inches by four inches, close to ground-level. The chamber is connected with a second chamber; rectangular in plan, also underground. Stone steps led down from within the castle to this second chamber. Both chambers have the solid rock for floor out of which they are in part cut. The rock is similar to that of which the castle is mostly built… Incised in the plaster of the wall of the circular chamber under the south-west tower is an interesting graffito. It is three feet four inches high, and represents a young (unbearded) man in, apparently, the dress of a halberdier of the sixteenth century. His doublet is full above shoulders and body, fastened in at the waist, and ends above the elbows. He wears a ruff, or large collar. His hosen are tied in above the knee. With his left hand he flourishes a sword over his head, the scabbard of which sticks out at nearly right angles to his body… Even if he be not a halberdier, the dress is undoubtedly Elizabethan, and the graffito may be ascribed with mush probability to the time shortly after 1585…”

Enniscorthy Castle, Co.Wexford by Francis Grose, Published by S.Hooper in 1792. Available from

Enniscorthy Castle, Co.Wexford by Francis Grose, Published by S.Hooper in 1792. Available from

Visit the castle – information here
Number 43, Summer 2011, Dublin review
Wikipedia entry for Herbert Hore

This article was posted by on Tuesday, September 13th, 2011 at 21:09.
It is archived in Architecture, History, Ireland, Wild Places and tagged , , , , , .

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