BACK GARDEN | WATER | TIGH SAMHRAIDH
THE FOUNTAIN COURTYARD
Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland | 1933
To folks in the the Boyne Valley, Samhraidh Cottage (Irish Gaelic; tigh samhraidh; 'summer house'; tig sow-rig) is the house of a witch, but the real story is far less straightforward. Constructed in 1875, the French Gothic style residence now belongs to a woman who has a long-time member of a small circus troupe known as Pandoro’s Travelling Fayre. Such association has only fuelled speculation over the owner’s background and interests, especially as this walled garden used to be the home of stout Catholic church-goers.
Evidence of its previous use as a Christian religious garden are everywhere, from the central gothic jardinière to the broken pieces of church stonework. Sitting above the village, the cottage overlooks the narrow riverside upon which the house and nearby derelict chapel sit.
The physical arrangement of the courtyard garden bears a close resemblance to a stage set, a similarly enclosed space for playing ou fantasy and transformations. In the middle ages, a courtyard of this type was known as a hortus conclusus (L. hortus, a garden or orchard, conclusus, closed off), with its most important ornaments being flowers, herbs and intricate trellis work.