The North Prospect of Bunratty Castle from the Parke belonging to the Castle

Artist(s) : Thomas Dineley (Draughtsman)

North view of Bunratty Castle. In the centre of the image is the main building, with two other structures, one roofless, all within an enclosing wall, near the confluence of the Shannon and the ‘Sixmilebridge river’, now known as the Owenogarney or Ratty river. A further roofless building stands outside the wall, to the right, and further out there is what appears to be a lighthouse on a headland. In the foreground, to the left, a seated stag is a reference to the Bunratty deer park. On the bottom right corner of the image is pasted a fragment of printed plate, partly obscuring a word written there, possibly ‘road’ or ‘Clonroad’. It represents a frog and a mouse, standing on their hind legs and locked in armed combat.

Dineley’s humorous visual reference to the Battle of Frogs and Mice (or Rats), recounted in the Batrachomyomachia (5th century BC), long synonymous with disputes over trivia, plays on the ‘rat’ element in ‘Bunratty’. Alternatively, it may be an allusion to Aesop’s fable of ‘The Kite, the Frog and the Mouse’, where the emphasis is on the vulnerability of those who quarrel. Apart from the humour, it may be taken as a more serious comment by Dineley on the signs of strife which he could read in the landscape and in his sources.

Inscribed in Image

  • Caption within boundaries of image – The North Prospect of Bunratty Castle from the Parke belonging to ye sd Castle
  • Text within boundaries of image – River Shanon or mouth of six mile Bridge river / Shanon / Carrigogunnell / Shanon / The Shanon / [ro]ad

Image Details

Genre Landscape
Technique Collages, Engravings, Pen and ink drawings
Subject(s) Antiquities and archaeological sites, Architecture, Forts and fortifications
Geographical Location
  • Bunratty Castle - Castle
  • Clare - County
  • Munster - Province
Keywords(s) Archaeological sites, Birds, Boats, Buildings, Castles, Deer, Hills, Lands, Rivers, Ships, Towers
Colour Handcoloured
Dimensions 14.5 cm x 9.2 cm
Published / created 1681

Bibliographical Details

Travel Account Observations in a Voyage through the Kingdom of Ireland
Print or manuscript Manuscript
Location of image in copy p. 173
Source copy National Library of Ireland MS 392
Rights Courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

Related text from travel account

This is the Principall seat of the most noble Family of the O Briens Earles of THOMOND adjoining to a very fair park with deer;
This whole County being a Peninsula and a kind of Parke all over environ’d with the Shannon River and the sea except a narrow neck in the county of Galloway, abounding with Staggs & fallow-Deer.
[p. 173]
[image: The North Prospect of Bunratty Castle from the Parke belonging to ye sd Castle]
BARONY of IBRICHAM and in the Barony of CORCUMRO in this County of CLARE, both which Baronyes belong to the Rt Honble. Henry Earle of Thomond it is sayd that no Mouse or Ratt Will live by any meanes 24 hours: and it is likewise given out that a clod or piece of the Earth of either of those Baronyes is a sufficient Antidote and preservative placed in any other House or Castle in this Kingdome against these Vermine.
[p. 174] Over against Bunratty Castle on the other side of the Shannon is a fair Castle called Carrig o Gunnel scituate upon an hill belonging to his Royall Highness, rented by the present Primate and Chancellour of all Ireland, neer which in a marle pitt was lately taken up the Skeleton of a monstrous man whose thigh bone was seven foot long and all other pts proportionable, whose skull could conteine two Bushells which is half a Bristoll Barrel of Grayne. [pp. 172-174]
The North Prospect of Bunratty Castle from the Parke belonging to the Castle