Architecture Fashion

The Old School Gortin + Rylagh Limekiln Tyrone

Best Days

The Auld Bank café and deli is such a roaring success that it will soon be joined by The Auld Forge, a country goods store. The Auld Bank is filled to the cornice with local produce: Armagh Bramley Apples, Black Fire hot sauce from a chilli pepper grower in Belfast, dulse from the North Antrim Coast, and wild garlic from Black Mountain Belfast. Who would have thought the single street Gortin deep in the Owenkillew River valley encircled by the Sperrin Mountains would become such a fashionable destination?

At the end of the winding mountainous road leading down from the Gortin Lakes into the village is a single storey white rendered slate roofed building. Provincial Ulster architecture at its best. It overlooks St Patrick’s Church of Ireland. The pillar box red painted doors at either end of the façade are a drive-by giveaway: it’s The Old School (gender segregated entrances for schoolchildren). Upon closer inspection a plaque over each door reads: “Beltrim National School 1899”. Beltrim Castle is the estate on the edge of the village. The eight bay Old School – or should that be Auld School? – is now a smartly kitted out holiday cottage to let. A combined reception room and kitchen is open to the beamed ceiling and there are two guest bedrooms.

The most idiosyncratically located picnic table in the area is next to the roof of Rylagh Limekiln. Down a narrow road leading nowhere in particular, this square stone stower built into the roadside slope encases an egg shaped chamber made of brick. A hole in its base opening to the road facing front allowed in air to assist combustion, and at a later stage in the process, the removal of the end product. Limestone from a neighbouring quarry was burnt with peat for a week inside the limekiln to produce a white powdered form – lime – suitable for agricultural and building use. Erected in 1800, the limekiln was restored 215 years later by a local group of volunteers ‘Friends of the Glens’. The lime may have gone, but the stone structure stands as a reminder of Auld Times.

14 replies on “The Old School Gortin + Rylagh Limekiln Tyrone”

Good Evening Ewelina, great to hear from you again. You have a great way with words! Waterford is such a wonderful part of the world . We have another Irish article coming up tomorrow which we hope you enjoy. We do like being people’s cup of tea! Enjoy the read tomorrow… with pics of course. Best, Stuart

Hopefully they’ll create a piece of heaven up there…As some people says, life is rocky sometimes if you are a real gem… exactly as Mount Congreve.. So let’s keep fingers crossed..
Thank you so much for your message.
I’m truly delight that I found Lavender’s Blue.. its really my cup of tea :)..
Kind regards,

Dear Ewelina, what a wonderful message . We completely agree it is such a magical place from the outset. The house wasn’t open when we visited but the gardens really opened our eyes to its beauty. Thank you for sharing your fascinating if heart breaking experience of the interior. The state of the rooms do truly sound disrespectful to Mr Congreve. We do hope Waterford City Council come to their senses and start to treasure this incredible asset which, to put it commercially, would make an even better tourist attraction if properly looked after. Thanks again, Best, Lavender’s Blue
Waterford is my home since 17 years and Mount Congreve was always my soft point.. The moment when you enter the place is simply magical..
I’ve been inside the house recently, just before yesterday.. I was inside of the Blue Wedgwood room.. well.. only the pale blue walls and the beautiful but sadly empty china cabinets reminded me about past grandeur of this place..
It’s really, really heartbreaking to see the empty rooms, stripped from anything.. even the curtains.. the books allover the floor in the library..totally without the respect for Mr.Congreve..
I hope that Waterford City Council didn’t forget that was someone else’s home…
As Mr. Yeats said “Tread softly because you tread on my dreams”…
Thank you so much for your review 💙
Kindest regards from Waterford

Hi, I couldn’t agree more with Ewelina. I’m enjoying my new discovery Lavender’s Blue. I must have spent half the night trawling down the months links 💌 I love the fresh approach to everything. Ref Chatsworth I knew Stella Tennant professionally…. Holland & Holland were PR clients of mine. Her sister Issy is a gilder and went to City & Guilds Art School. Time for The Old School now 💌 Sophie

Good morning Sophie many thanks for your kind messages and we are thrilled to have you on board LVB readership / admirers of our photographic galleries. How interesting – that fits in well with the Chatsworth article (the gilding theme) so we have added a line on the late Stella’s sister Issy. Enjoy LVB. We’re back in Kent next! LVB X

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