Both the history of Mitchelstown and Elizabeth Bowen’s representation of the fictional Danielstown represented the crumbling power of the Ascendency brought about by the rash decisions of the families who owned the castles. Our project goes past this superficiality as we found an underlying theme of fragility due to this sense of liminality of the Ascendency.
The White Knights, the first rulers of Mitchelstown Castle, soon fell out of favor with the Irish public, due to their self-righteous attitudes and irrational decisions. The attitudes of these rulers, and those long after, were partly due to their need to overcompensate by exerting power, whether it meant creating the biggest castle of all or Ireland or nearly bankrupting themselves to show their dominance. This was due to the sense of liminality so many of the upperclass families felt. The Irish though, did not care. They felt like these rulers had been in power for too long and wanted to reclaim their land.
Danielstown, albeit fictional, shows another side of the sense of liminality. The Anglo-Irish, metaphorically, had one foot in England, and one in Ireland. They built extravagant homes and threw gigantic parties to prove to others, and perhaps to themselves, that they truly belonged…in Ireland, and in power. However, this liminality helped pave the way for the decline of the Ascendency.
The wealthy had been in power for centuries and seemed to have a tight reign on their power. When events like the Irish Civil War and other unrest brewed against them, their immense power and control turned superficial and crumbled to dust around them.[Home Page] [Mitchelstown] [Bowens Court] [Danielstown] [Burning and Destruction]