Cromaboo Bridge & White Castle

Cromaboo Bridge & White Castle, Athy

‘The Pale’, as it was called, was an area around Dublin which was directly under the control of England in the Middle Ages. The Normans who had invaded Ireland, starting in 1169ad, had become assimilated into the Irish culture and became ‘more Irish than the Irish themselves’. By the 15th century they were not answering to English control and England’s interests had shrunk to the fortified area known as ‘The Pale’. Easily defended borders were established these included rivers. Elsewhere ditches were built, all to protect the English settlers from the wild Irish.

This bridge was an entrance into ‘The Pale’. The castle and surrounding town were the defensive structures. It is known as ‘White Castle’ possibly because it was extended and restored a few centuries ago by a man called White or maybe because the lime mortar used in the building seeped out of the stonework producing a white stain. Nobody knows for sure. This bridge was built in 1795, long after ‘The Pale’ was no longer needed, replacing an earlier structure. It was named after the Fithgerald war-cry ‘Cromaboo’. The Fitzgeralds were the local Norman aristocracy who figured prominently in Irish history over the centuries.

Painting a well known area, especially involving structures, is very restrictive. The proportions of relative sizes of buildings will be noticed if not correct. This painting may need retouching which I might do after it dries for a few days.

I used three colours, Raw Umber, Cerulean Blue, Cadmium Yellow, which were added to my usual range used in previous paintings (Three Cows, etc.). At the end I included touches of Cadmium Red which adds a busy ‘peopled’ look to a landscape. The surface was a Daler-Rowney Oil Painting Canvas which I’m trying out at the moment. It seems to be OK. So far, so good. In a few days the usual dull patches will appear but these are peculiar to the different paints used. Recently, I’ve been ‘oiling’ the dry paintings with a light coat of ‘Liquin’ to add a uniform sheen and restore the dull patches. This appears to be working well.

The time to completion, so far, was about 2 hours in a single sitting. Please excuse the ‘gaps’ as I sometimes forget to turn the camera back on after I stop to clean brushes etc.

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