The Bottle Tower, Churchtown. County Dublin        1742

This odd looking structure is known as The Bottle Tower or Hall’s Barn. It was commissioned by Major Hall in 1742 as a miniature replica of the Wonderful Barn which was erected at the same time by Katherine Conolly at Castletown House in Co.Kildare. They were built as famine relief projects after the freak weather that hit Ireland in 1740-1741. Extremely cold weather was followed by severe flooding and this again was followed by freezing cold temperatures that lasted for months. It led to crop failures, fuel scarcities and livestock dying of starvation. It came to be known as the ‘Year of the Slaughter’ and possibly 480,000 people died. This was 28% of the population which was a far higher death rate than in the ‘Great Famine’ a century later. This structure had two main purposes: to give employment to impoverished local people and to act as a store for grain that could be used should in the event of future famines. There are suggestions that the design is based on rice stores in India or it was designed as a ‘dovecote’ so that shooting parties could take aim at game from the top of the tower. It has been owned by some prominent figures including William ‘Speaker’ Conolly, The Archbishop of Dublin and the Archbishop of Armagh. The Bottle Tower was converted into a boarding house in 1795 but has been unoccupied for 150 years. Air BnB is calling!