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Places On Parade... Gormanston

This text was originally a newspaper article written by 'Special Correspondent' C.W. Cummins, the newspaper is unknown and the image that the text was recovered from had the date 20 06 1946 written on it in ink. The source of the image was www.balbriggan.net I have re-coded it as a webpage so that the text can be indexed by search engines. I have also removed the columnar format for easier display on a screen.



Places On Parade

A series of articles embodying the impressions of our Special Correspondent, C.W. Cummins, who has been visiting towns and villages on the East Coast between Drogheda and Dublin, and now tells our readers what he found on his travels.


For six hundred years the village has lain in the shadow of its stately castle - home of an ancient family whose adherence to the Old Faith through attainder and outlawry spoke of an integrity that was rare among an aristocracy which, for the most part, had retained their estates at the sacrifice of religious principles.

Sans Tache reads their motto "Without Stain" - and not ignobly have played their part in the history of Meath and of Ireland since the first of their name came to this quiet countryside from Drogheda, whence had arrived Adam de Preston, from Lancashire, not so many years before.

Let us look at this castle, its old grey walls lit by the westering sun, its green sward vivid in the last bright of day. Tower rises upon tower, the buttressed walls speak of siege and, a little detached stands the chapel dating from the 17th century, which was a rallying point for people hereabouts during the dread penal days.

Eastward lies the sea, becoming a deeper azure as the light begins to fail, and between the castle and the serried rows, now alas depleted, stand the immemorial ranks of trees - the historic Cromwell's Walk, which epitomizes a famous episode in Gormanston's storied tale when a brave woman defied the Lord Protector and saved not only the castle but its heir, whom Cromwell wanted for his Court of Wards.

The Parish Priest of that time, whose name I have not been able to trace, took the infant boy to France, where he was brought up in the Faith of his fathers, subsequently becoming the 7th Viscount - his father, the 6th Viscount, was attained and outlawed for his part in the war of 1641.

How distant this appears from the quiet little village of to-day! Apart from the intermittent interruptions of wars it has remained strangely remote and quiescent during the passing years, a survival of an older way of life, more gracious than our present harried existence in towns and cities.

In the comfortable farmhouses, the cosy cottages, there is the tranquillity of an established order. A Virgilian peace breathes over the quiet pastoral scene. Orchards are heavy with fruit, the golden corn bends to the evening breeze and all along the hedgerows the birds sing their songs of eventide.

Then quite suddenly, there is another sound, deeper, more menacing, than anything that Nature produces, and swooping over the tree tops comes an army plane making for the aerodrome, and one realises that there is a modern side to Gormanston fittingly symbolized by this stranger of the skies.

In fact the Camp may well be taken as the focal point of Gormanston's reaction to the modern world. In the Great War English and American accents were heard speaking in the lanes and roads, but during the World War it was men from all counties of Ireland who trained in arms beside the sea.

In the 1930's Dublin people began to discover Gormanston Strand. Cars brought families out from Town for the day and owners of land near the seashore began to think in terms of building sites.

It is certain that this tendency will develop and that this part of the coast will become a popular holiday centre. It is earnestly to be hoped that some regard will be paid to aesthetic standards when building begins, for there is no real reason why so many seaside resorts should be so architecturally revolting.

There is no sound reason why progress should not go hand in hand with beauty, for the new can be made to blend with the old, and thus avoid the glaring contrast between mellow growth of centuries and the strident emphasis of today.