Rathdrum Railway Station Drinking Fountain

Location: Rathdrum, County Wicklow, Ireland

The cast-iron drinking fountain built into a wall next to a railway platform is dated circa 1875. The font, casting number 17 (4ft 5 x 2ft 10) from Walter Macfarlane’s catalogue, was manufactured by the Saracen Foundry in Glasgow, Scotland The design utilizes features of the canopy used in drinking fountain number 8, and is surmounted by a palmette finial. Griffin terminals flank a highly decorated arch outlined with rope detail which also encircles a medallion hosting the image of a crane. The recessed interior of the arch contains a shell lunette from which a tap protrudes. A single drinking cup on a chain is suspended above a fluted demi-lune basin.

county W_Fountain_Rathdrum_Railway_Station

Symbolism was popular in Victorian times. Griffins are symbolic of guardians of priceless possessions, and cranes, recognized as a symbol of vigilance, are often depicted standing on one leg while holding a stone in the claws of the other foot. Legend states that if the watchful crane fell asleep the stone would fall and waken the bird.

Glossary

  • Demi-lune, half moon or crescent shape
  • Finial, a sculptured ornament fixed to the top of a peak, arch, gable or similar structure
  • Griffin, winged lion denotes vigilance and strength, guards treasure and priceless possessions
  • Lunette, the half-moon shaped space framed by an arch, often containing a window or painting
  • Palmette, a decorative motif resembling the fan shaped leaves of a palm tree
  • Terminal, statue or ornament that stands on a pedestal

 

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