The stables curtain wall encountered along the Western Avenue were built according to a design by R.J. Stirling in the 1860’s after several of the out buildings, including stables, on the south and west side of the Royal Hospital were demolished in 1856. Military Officers treasured their horses and demanded better facilities on site to accommodate them.
In the 1930’s the stables were converted into the Kilmainham garda station and sealed off from the RHK grounds. When Lord Wolseley was the Master 1891-1896 several of the horses were named in an article in Strand Magazine. The horses names over the stable doors were, Chance, Sir Redvers, Brown Bess, Blue-bell, Blackberry, Paddy and Chem. Miss Frances Wolseley picture on Blackberry went on to set up a horticultural college for women gardeners and was disinherited by her parents.
With the importance of horses to the site heritage Artist Stephen Taylor organised a workshop with the help of the Garda Horse unit and they brought Donagh to our art studios, the site of former Royal Hospital stable buildings, for a comparative anatomy drawing class.
Victorians were not only sentimental about their horses but their other pets were also treasured. The Wolseley’s also had their dogs Caesar, Bully and King Coffee with them. Caeser died while the Wolseley family were in residence and he was buried in the Royal hospital Garden under a mulberry tree. There was also a headstone for a dog found on the grounds that commemorates Dot, a little white dog.
Our contemporary affection for pets has not changed and a for dogs in particular a dedicated dog walking trail has been developed in the Meadow of the IMMA Campus with dog Poop bins provided.
The IMMA Heritage Trail is kindly supported by An Chomhairle Oidhreachta / The Heritage Council and the Office of Public Works. OSI Historic map details are provided courtesy of Tailte Éireann.
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