Last Saturday I visited the site of the 1848 Ballingarry Famine Warhouse a two storey farm-house in the wilds of east Tipperary. It gets the name warhouse as it was the location of the principle scene of action in the 1848 Young Irelander rebellion. A visit to the house is a must for anyone interested in this period of Irish history. The exhibition is very well done and it is free entry too.
I am very interested in Irish folk art especially art relating to personal devotion in the 18th-19th century. As I wander around the exhibition within the house, I came across a small wooden plaque sitting above the fireplace now painted in a thick yellowish paint. The plaque has a cross design with a hand craved image of the the sacred heart above it. It has two tin metal straps on either side that were originally used to attach it to a wall. There is also a loop at the top which may also be have been used for attachment to a wall. At the base there is a strip of timber with nails which appears to be a more recent addition.
According to the tour guide this plaque was found within the house during renovations but its original location within the house is unknown. This piece likely dates to the late 19th early 20th century and it is an example of devotional folk art.
Similar type artefacts were found in vernacular house around the country during the 19th -early 20th century unfortunately few survive today.