Places to visit and stay in County Tipperary, Munster

On the map above:

blue: places to visit that are not section 482

purple: section 482 properties

red: accommodation

yellow: less expensive accommodation for two

orange: “whole house rental” i.e. those properties that are only for large group accommodations or weddings, e.g. 10 or more people.

green: gardens to visit

grey: ruins

Munster’s counties are Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford.

For places to stay, I have made a rough estimate of prices at time of publication:

€ = up to approximately €150 per night for two people sharing (in yellow on map);

€€ – up to approx €250 per night for two;

€€€ – over €250 per night for two.

For a full listing of accommodation in big houses in Ireland, see my accommodation page: https://irishhistorichouses.com/accommodation/

Tipperary:

1. Beechwood House, Ballbrunoge, Cullen, Co. Tipperary – section 482

2. Cahir Castle, County Tipperary – OPW

3. Carey’s Castle, Clonmel, County Tipperary

4. Clashleigh House, Clogheen, Co. Tipperary – section 482

5. Cloughjordan House, Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary – section 482

6. Fancroft Mill, Fancroft, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary – section 482

7. Farney Castle, Holycross, County Tipperary

8. Grenane House, Tipperary, Co. Tipperary – section 482

9. Killenure Castle, Dundrum, Co Tipperary – section 482

10. Nenagh Castle, County Tipperary

11. Ormond Castle, Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary – OPW

12. Redwood Castle, Redwood, Lorrha, Nenagh, North Tipperary – section 482

13. Roscrea Castle and Damer House, County Tipperary

14. Silversprings House, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary – section 482

15. Swiss Cottage, County Tipperary – OPW

Places to stay, County Tipperary

1. Ashley Park, Nenagh, Co Tipperary – accommodation

2. Ballinacourty House, Co Tipperary – guest house and restaurant

3. Birdhill House, Clonmel, County Tipperary

4. Cahir House Hotel, Cahir, County Tipperary €

5. Cashel Palace Hotel, County Tipperary €€€

6. Clonacody House, County Tipperary €€

7. Croc an Oir, Mullinahone, County Tipperary € for 4-15

8. Dundrum House, County Tipperary €€

9. Lissanisky House, County Tipperary

10. Hotel Minella, Clonmel, County Tipperary

11. Raheen House Hotel, Clonmel, County Tipperary €€

12. The Rectory, Cashel Road, Cahir, Co. Tipperary – section 482

Whole house rental/wedding venue County Tipperary

1. Bansha Castle, County Tipperary – whole house rental €€€ for 2; € for 7-16

2. Clonacody House, County Tipperary – whole house

3. Cloughjordan House, Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary – section 482

4. Inch House, Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland – whole house rental €€€ for 2; €€ for 7-10

5. Killaghy Castle, Mullinahone, Tipperary – whole house rental €€€ for 2; € for 11-14

6. Kilshane, Tipperary, Co Tipperary – whole house rental

7. Kilteelagh House, Dromineer, Lough Derg, County Tipperary – whole house €€€ for 2; €€ for 10-12

8. Lisheen Castle, Thurles, County Tipperary €€€ for two, € for 11-14

9. Lismacue, County Tipperary, ihh member, whole house rental

Tipperary:

1. Beechwood House, Ballbrunoge, Cullen, Co. Tipperary – section 482

contact: Maura & Patrick McCormack
Tel: 083-1486736
Open: Jan 10-14, 17-21, 24-28, Feb 14-18, May 6-9, 13-23, Aug 13-21, Sept 2-5, 9- 12, 16-19, 23-26, 10.15am-2.15pm

Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €2, child free, fees donated to charity

We visited during Heritage Week 2022 – write up coming soon!

2. Cahir Castle, County Tipperary – OPW

See my OPW write-up: https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/06/26/opw-sites-in-munster-clare-limerick-and-tipperary/

3. Carey’s Castle, Clonmel, County Tipperary – a ruin, owned by Coillte:

https://www.coillte.ie/site/careys-castle/

This is a beautiful mixed woodland that lies close to the Glenary River, a tributary of the Suir. The main feature of this site is the ruins of the castle that gives the forest its name. It is just 500m from the car park down a mixed woodland trail that leads to the river. It is believed to have been built at some stage during the 1800’s by the Carey family, who were local schoolmasters in the Clonmel area. A number of architectural styles are still evident in the ruined remains, including; Gothic windows, a Celtic round tower, a Norman Keep, and both Romanesque and Gothic arches. The remnants of a walled garden can be found to the southern side of the castle. An ice-house is located just off the trail beyond the castle. This is a stone-lined pit which used to serve as a ‘fridge’ when the castle was inhabited. Carey’s Castle was occupied by monks and up to recent years the ruins of the alms house was still in evidence. A real gem of a site for local historians.”

4. Clashleigh House, Clogheen, Co. Tipperary – section 482

Clashleigh House, County Tipperary, photograph from the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

contact: Elizabeth O’Callaghan
Tel: 086-8185334
Open: April 5-28, May 3-31, Tues & Thurs, June 2-30, Tue, Thurs, Sat & Sun, Aug 13-21, Sept 1-29, Oct 4-27, Tues & Thurs, 9am-1pm

Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €4

The National Inventory tells us it is a “detached three-bay two-storey over basement country house, built c. 1810, with recessed lower irregular-plan four-bay two-storey 1930s extension to south, full-height bowed bay to rear and flat-roofed porch to front. Used as rectory 1920-1976. ..Rendered and timber porch with Doric-style portico and fixed windows with decorative consoles. Timber panelled double-doors having limestone steps and cast-iron bootscrape. Segmental-arched doorway with spoked fanlight and panelled shutters to interior. Folly and remains of walled garden to site. ..

This house is carefully-proportioned with widely-spaced diminishing windows and centrally-placed chimneystacks. The bow provides a sense of grandeur to the rear elevation, enhanced by the finely-crafted sash windows. One of several projects in the area commissioned by the Grubb family, it retains much of its demesne architecture, enhanced by mature grounds and planting, including the remains of a walled garden, finely-made entrance piers, and an interesting folly.

5. Cloughjordan House, Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary – section 482

Cloughjordan House, County Tipperary, photograph from the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

contact: Sarah Baker
Tel: 085-2503344
www.cloughjordanhouse.com
Open: May 2-31, June 1-30, Sept 5-30 Mon- Sat, National Heritage Week Aug 13-21, 9.30am-1.30pm

Fee: adult €6, OAP €4

The website tells us: “An 800 year old French style manor house set in the lush countryside of North Tipperary. Cloughjordan House is at heart a place of wholesome home-grown food, warm, welcoming rooms, gardens to explore and wide lawns to play on.

The website tells us a little about the history of the house: “You can’t walk around the grounds of Cloughjordan House without feeling steeped in Irish history. The house itself has been there for over 800 years, dating back to as early as 1214. It’s covered in a colourful Virginia creeper residual from the historic Hodgins’ Arboretum and nursery gardens that the grounds were once famous for. The property has been in the hands of The Baker family since 1914 when they purchased it from the Hodgins family. In 1922, free state soldiers occupied the house and evidence of their target practise can see be seen on an ancient tree outside.

Peter Baker, his wife Sarah and their children; Julie, Holly and Sam are the proud residents of Cloughjordan House today. Over the past decade or more, they have transformed Cloughjordan House from a dairy farm into a magical destination with the best in food, atmosphere and accommodation. The family live in their own wing of the main house and welcome guests as though they are friends and family, even the family dogs Louis and Monty are available for a belly rub during your stay.”

The National Inventory tells us it is a “Detached multi-period country house, comprising five-bay two-storey central block, built c.1675, having rear stairs return, flanked by two blocks that advance forwards, eastern being medieval tower house and western being ballroom block built c.1850. Flanking blocks are gable-fronted and two-storey with attic, and middle block has pitched slate roofs with massive rendered chimneystacks. Rendered walls, with battered base and dressed quoins to tower house...Round-headed doorway with petal fanlight and replacement timber and glazed door to ballroom block. Part of original staircase with barley-twist balusters survives. Various gabled and lean-to additions to rear. Detached L-plan stable block, built c.1860. Wrought-iron gates set on limestone plinth to entrance. Remains of moat to north and east. 

Cloughjordan House is a substantial farmhouse that contains significant fabric from the medieval period to the nineteenth century. Its form, detailing and original fabric provide important information about rural architectural development in Ireland. The house also contains fine joinery and plaster work and the barley-twist staircase is a rare survival. It has one of the few surviving nursery gardens for which there is substantial documentation that is now preserved in the National Botanic Gardens.

6. Fancroft Mill, Fancroft, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary – section 482

Fancroft Mill, County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

contact: Marcus & Irene Sweeney
Tel: 0505-31484, 087-9263300 

www.fancroft.ie

Open: May 11-31, June 1-2, 9-30, Aug 13-22, Oct 3-7, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP/student €6, child free under 5 years, adult supervision essential, group rates available

Fancroft  Fancroft Gardens are not open to visitors for the seasons 2021/22.

The website tells us:

An extensive conservation project, commenced in 2006 by Marcus & Irene Sweeney, has resulted in the rescue from dereliction of this mill complex which is of noted industrial heritage importance. A set of new mill stones were installed in 2010. Milling capability is now restored for domestic   purposes. A recently installed generator contributes to the household heating system. All of the buildings at Fancroft are included on  the  Offaly County Council list of  Protected Structures.

The rescue from dereliction of the mill complex at Fancroft received public recognition in 2017 when the Irish Georgian Society awarded the owners one of their Conservation Awards. The inaugural Norman Campion award for Best Restored Industrial Site or Museum was conferred on Fancroft Mill & Gardens by the Industrial Heritage Association of Ireland in 2019.

Approached by the winding  road  one has no idea of what lies behind the hedge  and across the stream which drives the water wheel  in the corn mill. Consequently the extensive gardens, created mostly in the 1990’s by previous owner Angela Jupe, unfold as a series of delightful surprises as one proceeds beyond the pebbled courtyard leaving the busy world behind.

In recent years Fancroft  Mill & Gardens has proven to be a wonderful venue for successful  heritage seminars, classical and traditional music events, sponsored walks and visits by interested individuals and groups from Ireland and overseas.

Eircode: E53 ET72.
e.mail: millgardens@gmail.com

7. Farney Castle, Holycross, County Tipperary

Farney Castle, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

https://cyrilcullen.wordpress.com/farney-castle/

The website tells us:

Farney Castle Visitor centre

As well as being the Cullen family home, Cyril Cullen Knitwear and porcelain is designed and produced in the converted ‘old stables’ in the castle courtyard. The unique parian/porcelain designs are sold in what was the old dairy at Farney castle, the knitwear boutique is situated in the original kitchen of the castle and a coffee shop is situated in the 15th century round tower.It is the only Round Tower in Ireland occupied as a family home. Tours of the castle are available daily and harp recitals take place in the drawing room by arrangement.

The History of Farney Castle

The first castle was built at Farney in 1185 and this would have been a timbered structure. The present round tower was built in 1495 by Thomas Butler, 7th Earl of Ormond, and it was part of a defensive system created by the Butlers to protect their land in Tipperary. The Butlers were in Farney Castle for 500 years but in 1536 the castle was confiscated by King Henry VIII of England. He returned the lands again to the Butlers in 1538 when he married Anne Boleyn who was the daughter of James, 3rd Earl of Ormond. Subsequently the castle was occupied for short periods by two other English monarchs namely King James 1st from 1617 – 1625, and King George 1st from 1716 -1721.

In 1649 Cromwell landed in Ireland and shortly after 1650 a Cromwellian soldier named Hulett took over the castle. Then in 1660 Capt. William Armstrong, a Cavalier who supported the Stuarts and who fought against Cromwell, acquired the castle and lands, and there were Armstrongs in the castle for the next 200 years. William Armstrong came from a Scottish Border country family which was famed in the sixteenth century for its ferocity, and in 1677 he purchased large estates in the area including Holy Cross Abbey and Holy Cross lands.

The round tower is 58 ft. high and has five stories. It is unusual in being circular whereas the majority of this sort of tower were square or oblong. It possesses a mural staircase (built within the thickness of the walls) off which it appears that secret rooms still exist undiscovered. The main door was opened up by Cyril Cullen having been closed for 200 years. There is a “murdering hole” over the main door and this enabled the castle defenders to shoot from above at any intruders. The tower castles were built to safeguard the Butler lands during the long periods when the family was away in England.”

8. Grenane House, Tipperary, Co. Tipperary – section 482

Grenane House, County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

contact: Philippa Mansergh-Wallace Tel: 062-52484 

www.hfhtours.ie

Open: May 2-7, 9-14, 16-21, 23-28, 30-31, August 27-31, Sept 1-3, 5-10, 12-17, 19-
24, 26-30, Oct 3-5, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €8, student/OAP €6, group rates available.

Mark Bence-Jones tells us it is: “[Mansergh] A 2 storey 3 bay late-Georgian house with a long 2 storey service wing. Enclosed porch with roundheaded windows; a Wyatt window on either side of it.

The National Inventory adds: “three-bay two-storey country house, of at least two phases, front elevation rebuilt c. 1820, with entrance porch. Rear part of east elevation of main block, together with lower two-storey wings, five-bay to north-west and two-bay to north-east, may be early eighteenth century. Additional double-pile three-bay two-storey block having pitched slate roof to north-east…A pleasing middle-sized house of balanced Georgian proportions, existing largely in its early form and retaining much of its original fabric. This house is elevated above other typical early nineteenth century middle-sized country houses by the inclusion of ornate features including the elaborate entrance porch with round-headed openings and the tripartite windows with delicately proportioned engaged clustered timber columns. The house, its yards, walled and terraced gardens, together with its monumental entrance piers, form an attractive and interesting group on a slightly elevated site in the landscape.” [1]

9. Killenure Castle, Dundrum, Co Tipperary – section 482

Killenure Castle, County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

contact: Eavaun Carmody
Tel: 087-6402664
www.killenure.com
Open: Feb 1-20, May 1-31, Aug 13-21, 10.30am-2.30pm Fee: adult €10, child /OAP/student €5

Mark Bence-Jones tells us (1988): p. 170. “(Cooper/IFR) A large tower-house of the O’Dwyer family, burnt by the Cromwellians but still very well preserved, with a plain and unassuming C18 house of two storeys over basement alongside it. Sold in recent years, now a private school.” 

The National Inventory adds: “Detached two-storey country house, comprising T-plan five-bay block, c. 1770, with central pedimented breakfront and rear return, with four-bay block built to south-west, c. 1800, to give overall L-plan. Two-storey pitched addition to north gable, with single-storey lean-to extension to rear and having catslide addition to rear of later block. Early seventeenth-century fortified house located to west….Fortified house has round-plan corner towers and three-bay four-storey gable-fronted façade, triple-gabled rear elevation, rubble limestone walls, dressed limestone string courses, loops to towers and ground floor of main facades, upper floors of latter having square-headed one-and mullioned two-light and three-light windows, some blocked, to main facades with chamfered limestone surrounds and label-mouldings. Pointed-arch doorways to front and rear walls, and flight of external steps up to north-west tower. Conical slate roof to north-eastern tower, rubble limestone chimneystacks and dripstones. Some later square-headed window openings to south-east tower, with red brick surrounds, one having carved timber traceried casement windows. Lofted stable and coach house to rear of house with half-hipped slate roofs and rendered rubble limestone walls and having square- and segmental-headed openings. Three-bay single-storey gate-lodge with hipped slate roof and rendered walls and entrance gates with dressed limestone piers to vehicluar and pedestrian entrances with wrought-iron gates and flanking rubble limestone walls. 

This multi-period country house was formerly the home of the antiquary Austin Cooper. Its setting, next to a substantial fortified house, indicates considerable continuity of living at this location, and reflects the transition in attitudes to living patterns with a concentration on defence shifting to one of comfortable living. The later wing is typical of an early nineteenth-century country house with centrally-placed chimneystacks and tall sash windows. The fortified house retains mainly notable feature features including defensive elements such as the gun loops. The fortified house, country house and associated outbuildings make an impressive complex in the landscape.”

The Killenure website tells us:

Nestled in the spectacular scenery of South Tipperary, Killenure Castle the home of Killenure Dexter beef is a truly stunning gift from times gone by. It has held a central place in the local community for over five centuries, as a stronghold; a school; an artistic retreat; a visitor attraction; and vitally, a family home. 

Since its purchase in 2007, the house has been lovingly restored and updated. The renovations reflect the family’s role as both inhabitants and custodians of the castle, and have successfully balanced the needs – and responsibilities – that come with both. This continues the organic pattern of development that Killenure Castle has enjoyed for the over 450 years. From the original castle whose ruinous remains now dominates the space, to a charming ‘Hansel and Gretel’ style tree-house that is built around a 300-year-old living Irish Beech tree, the eclectic range of buildings reflects the fascinating range of almost five centuries of lucky inhabitants. 

As well as providing shelter for generations of owners and their families, Killenure Castle represents the centre of a community. Its survival through 500 years is testament to the strength of the community it represents, and Eavaun and her family are delighted to share the castle with visitors. As custodians of Killenure Castle, we have built a sustainable, community-orientated business, ensuring the survival of the castle and Killenure Dexter beef for future generations. 

Whilst the spectacular medieval castle and grounds have previously been open to visitors during the summer, they will remain closed in 2017 due to ongoing restoration works. If you would like to learn more, a guidebook is available for those wishing to learn more about this extra-ordinary castle, and the community that surrounds it. 

You can purchase a short history of Killenure which documents the history of Killenure from the O’Dwyer Clan up to the contemporary Killenure of today. The cost of the book is €5.00 plus postage. To order a copy please contact info@killenure.com  

10. Nenagh Castle, County Tipperary

See my OPW write-up: https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/06/26/opw-sites-in-munster-clare-limerick-and-tipperary/

11. Ormond Castle, Carrick-on-Suir, County Tipperary – OPW

See my OPW write-up: https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/06/26/opw-sites-in-munster-clare-limerick-and-tipperary/

12. Redwood Castle, Redwood, Lorrha, Nenagh, North Tipperary – section 482

Redwood Castle by irishfireside on flickr constant commons.

Redwood is off the Birr/Portumna Rd

contact: Coleesa Egan
Tel: 087-7479566 

www.redwoodcastleireland.com

Open: June 15-30, July 1-17, Aug 9-31, Sept 1-7, 2.30pm-6.30pm Fee: adult €10, OAP/student/child €5

Redwood Castle from flickr constant commons Discover Lough Derg.

The website tells us:

Welcome to Redwood Castle in Co. Tipperary, ancient home of the MacEgan’s and O’Kennedy’s.

Today the Castle is one of the main historical attractions in the midlands of Ireland. Come and take a guided tour around Redwood Castle and learn about the history of the Castle and surrounding area.

The website tells us more about the castle:

Redwood is a complex structure made up of two main sections. Firstly, there are a series of main chambers stacked one above the other that form the core of the tower house. These are accompanied by a series of smaller ancillary rooms at the front of the building, which were used as bed chambers.

This layout may seem fairly straightforward but it is complicated by each room being on different levels. While we normally think of castle walls as thick and strong for defensive purposes, they were in reality riddled with passageways and staircases that served the larger rooms inside. Irish castle builders generally made very economical use of walls for domestic purposes rather than military strength, meaning that castles were far less impenetrable than they appeared.

A series of defensive features on the exterior such as battlements and machicolation were instead used to convey a certain military bravado to those who approached the castle. The occupants of these castles were aristocratic warriors who participated in an ancient martial culture, and castles played an important part in dramatising and expressing their identity.

The earliest recorded occupants of Redwood are the O’Kennedy sept who are referred to in possession of the castle in the 1540s. However, it was likely to have previously been in possession of the O’Maddens whose east Galway lordship once extended into the north of Ormond and the parish of Lusmagh beyond. They seem to have lost this territory in the 1440s and it would appear that the sept of O’Kennedy Roe came into possession of the castle around that time.

The Mac Egans were a prominent bardic family in their day, and they were one of only seven Irish families to practice the ancient Brehon Law. Of these seven, five served just one ruling family, one served five senior lords, and members of the Mac Egan clan served as the chief advisors to all of the remaining thirteen lords and chieftains. The position of the “Brehon” was one of great importance. They served as a kind of first minister for their master, functioning as his chief advisors on legal matters as well as those of a more general nature. In addition, they served as ambassadors and negotiators, brokering deals and treaties between the feudal lords of medieval Ireland. As such, they were widely respected and were treated as neutrals in any conflicts. There is only one medieval record of a Brehon being killed by an Irish chief, and even that was a case of mistaken identity. Finally, the Brehons sat in judgement on the Brehon courts, which ran in conflict with the English Common Law system which was theoretically the one and only legal system.

The website gives us more information about Brehon Law.

Redwood Castle was originally constructed around 1210 by an Anglo-Norman family by the name of De Cougan. Redwood’s strategic position was of the utmost importance owing to its close proximity to the River Shannon. The Anglo-Normans made several attempts to cross the Shannon and administer the west of Ireland, but none were successful enough to allow the invaders to settle on a permanent basis. As a result, the Anglo-Normans faced the constant danger of being attacked themselves from across the Shannon, leading to a long line of castles and towerhouses being constructed along its eastern bank. The original structure here at Redwood was only two storeys tall, and there were no entrances or exits here on the ground floor for security reasons. The original doorway would have been on the second floor, accessible by a retractable ladder. The main entrance you see today dates from the mid-1300s. For many years ivy covered all of the castle except this doorway, and so a lot of tourist material still mistakenly dates the entire castle from this period.

The De Cougans eventually vacated Redwood, and the castle was granted to the O’Kennedy family in 1350. It was then that the other floors were added to the castle. The local branch of the O’Kennedy family were based in Lackeen Castle, approximately 3 miles south of here, and so they turned this castle over to their chief bardic family, the Mac Egans. The bardic families played a crucial role in medieval Ireland, serving Gaelic chieftains and English lords alike. They fulfilled many functions, including those of advisors, administrators, lawyers, musicians, poets, physicians and ambassadors. However, each individual family tended to specialise in just one or two specific areas of study. The Mac Egans of Redwood were experts in historical study and the practice of the ancient Irish Brehon law. Only seven families in medieval Ireland practised and studied this ancient legal system. Most of these served only one master, whilst the Mac Egans served at least thirteen lords and chieftains, giving them a virtual monopoly over medieval Irish law. They founded a school of history and law here at Redwood, and some of Ireland’s foremost medieval thinkers had close links to this centre. Michael O’Cleary led a team of historians which compiled the famous Annals of the Four Masters, an enormous and comprehensive text which gave an account of all recorded Irish history up until the early seventeenth century. Upon its completion, Michael O’Cleary brought the text to some of the most influential men in the country, including the Archbishop of Dublin and the Bishop of Tuam. However, the first approval he sought was from a Flann Mac Aoghain, one of his former teachers and the lord of Redwood Castle.

However, by this time, Redwood Castle had reached its apex, and its decline began with a tide of political and religious unrest which culminated with Oliver Cromwell’s invasion of Ireland in 1649. The development of artillery effectively ended the reign of castles and towerhouses in Ireland, which had previously only had to deal with the occasional uprising by poorly armed peasants. Nearby Lackeen Castle was forfeited to Cromwell’s troops in 1653, whilst records of 1654 state that by that date, the castle at Redwood was nothing more than a ruin. It therefore seems likely that Redwood was besieged sometime in 1653. There are no obvious signs of damage from heavy artillery on the outside of the castle, and therefore it seems likely that the castle was forfeited without a fight once the Mac Egans saw what they were facing. Whatever the circumstances of the castle’s seizure, we do know that once it was in the possession of Cromwell’s troops, it was fired and practically burnt to the ground. The roof and most of the floors were wooden, and so only the walls and the spiral stone stairway were left standing.

The castle remained in ruins for over 300 years. At the turn of the twentieth century, a local farmer cut a second opening into the ground floor, just wide enough to let through a horse and cart which could be sheltered from the elements under the stone-barred vaulted arch. It is believed that it took three men a fortnight to cut through the 11 foot thick western wall. In 1972, a lawyer from Castlebar, County Mayo by the name of Michael Egan bought Redwood Castle and undertook its restoration. He was a descendant of the Mac Egans of Redwood, and so was determined to restore his family seat to its former glory. The government refused to support the project with any grants, believing the ruins to be beyond redemption. Michael Egan therefore funded the entire restoration project out of his own pocket. His ultimate goal was to have the castle as a second family home, which could also be used for important family occasions. To avoid tax burdens, the castle was opened to the public for sixty days a year as a site of historical interest, beginning in the early 1980s.

To this day, Redwood Castle continues to host the Clan Egan Rallies, and to educate the public.

13. Roscrea Castle and Damer House, County Tipperary

Damer House, Roscrea, Co Tipperary, Photographer/Creator: Kerry Kissane – All Around Ireland, 2021, Courtesy Tipperary Tourism.

See my OPW write-up: https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/06/26/opw-sites-in-munster-clare-limerick-and-tipperary/

14. Silversprings House, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary – section 482

Silversprings House, County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

contact: Jim Gilligan
Tel: 086-2539187
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, Aug 13-21, 12 noon-4pm Fee: adult €6, OAP/student€3, child €2

The National Inventory tells us: “Detached nine-bay two-storey former charter school with projecting pairs of end bays, built 1747, with projecting barrel-roofed porch addition…Patronised by Sir Charles Moore and John Dawson, this former charter school retains much of its original form and is a notable feature in the urban landscape. In the nineteenth century it was occupied by Charles Bianconi, who ran a coach transport enterprise throughout Ireland from his headquarters in Clonmel. It displays evidence of fine stonework in the window surrounds and eaves course which contrast with the limestone of the walls to enliven and offer textural variety to the façade.

15. Swiss Cottage, County Tipperary – OPW

See my OPW write-up: https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/06/26/opw-sites-in-munster-clare-limerick-and-tipperary/

Places to stay, County Tipperary

1. Ashley Park, Nenagh, Co Tipperary – accommodation

 https://hiddenireland.com/stay/bed-breakfast-guesthouses/

Ashley Park, County Tipperary, December 2016.
Ashley Park, County Tipperary, December 2016.

The Hidden Ireland website tells us:

“Ashley Park House has a magical quality that is particularly appealing. The avenue winds along the shore, through deep woods of oak and beech, until–suddenly–you reach the Georgian house, surrounded by tall trees, with beautiful views over a private lake. Inside, the rooms are large, comfortable and well equipped so offering a truly relaxing break away from the busyness of modern life.

Ashley Park, County Tipperary, December 2016.
Ashley Park, County Tipperary, December 2016.
Ashley Park, County Tipperary, December 2016.
Ashley Park, County Tipperary, December 2016.

The owners, Margaret & David McKenzie  run their home in a relaxed and informal way in the style of the traditional Irish country house, ideal for family and friends taking a break to celebrate a special occasion. Guests like nothing more than losing themselves in the woods and gardens, or rowing around the lake and exploring the ruins of the ancient fort on the island.

Ashley Park House sits peacefully in the middle of 76 acres of beech woodland and formal gardens in the heart of County Tipperary, in the centre of Ireland six miles north of the busy market town of Nenagh with its famous circular keep, on the road to Borrisokane and Birr. This beautiful 18th century country house, with its sweeping Edwardian verandas overlooking the lake, is approached through a rusticated stone arch, down a long tree-lined avenue with lovely views across Lough Ourna (‘the lake of the barley’), framed by ancient ring-forts on the shore, towards Keeper Hill in the distance

Ashley Park, County Tipperary, December 2016.

Ashley Park House retains many of its original Georgian fittings and has been faithfully restored to its original appearance, with fine period furniture and all modern comforts, giving visitors the opportunity to appreciate truly authentic Irish country house accommodation. The main rooms are spacious and relaxing, while the large bedrooms either overlook the lake in front, or have views over a series of walled courtyards at the rear where there are hens, ducks and peafowl. Recent renovations have created stylish new rooms in the Coach Houses next to the main house where modern comforts link with traditional styling.

Ashley Park House has a fantastic in house culinary team who prepare delicious suppers using fresh local ingredients to the highest standard. Enjoy a romantic break away with four course dinner in the Main House dining room overlooking the lake and then move into the luxurious drawing room to enjoy a digestif from the residents bar. Wake up refreshed to enjoy a delicious breakfast, which is Highly Recommended by the Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards.

Our wonderful bedroom suite at Ashley Park, December 2016.
Our wonderful bedroom suite at Ashley Park, December 2016.
Our wonderful bedroom suite at Ashley Park, December 2016.
Our wonderful bedroom suite at Ashley Park, December 2016.
Ashley Park, County Tipperary, December 2016.
Ashley Park, County Tipperary, December 2016.

2. Ballinacourty House, Co Tipperary – guest house and restaurant

The original house has been demolished, but the stables has been converted into a guest house and restaurant. https://www.ballinacourtyhouse.com/bed-breakfast

The website tells us:

Mary and family look forward to welcoming you to Ballinacourty House. Whether you are coming to explore the local walking or hiking that Aherlow has to offer, visiting the ancient historical sites of Tipperary, or perhaps just passing through on a flying visit- you will be most welcome in our home.

We strive to ensure that your stay in the Glen of Aherlow is a memorable one. We offer our Guests comfortable overnight accommodation, hearty home-cooked breakfasts and personal attention, offering local expertise if required, all part of the unique Irish Home B&B experience you will receive at Ballinacourty House.

3. Birdhill House, Clonmel, County Tipperary

https://hiddenireland.com/house-pages/birdhill-house-gardens/

Birdhill House & Gardens offers the ultimate mix of homeliness and grandeur. The perfect place to reflect and re-energize. Enjoy the welcoming warmth of this mid 1700’s Georgian country house. Nestled in the Suir valley with panoramic views of Knockmealdown and Comeragh mountains.

Explore the tranquil and breathtaking beauty of the gardens. Take the time to relax on one of the many terraces. Sip a glass of wine or dine al fresco around the fire pit. If you feel like a little exercise you might stroll along the river bank, be tempted to take out the rowing boat/kayak. Or maybe enjoy an energetic game of tennis. On a chilly day sit by a roaring fire in the drawing room or gather friends and family around the kitchen table to play games. Hide away in the library for a quiet read surrounded by relaxed elegance. Retire to the delightfully decorated bedrooms and snuggle down for sweet dreams, but be warned: the morning chorus here at Birdhill House & Gardens is quite spectacular. Oh! And watch out for Millie and her daughter Hettie, the sweetest of dogs.

Birdhill House and Gardens offers guests luxury accommodation with the option to add breakfast and dinner if you wish.

The west wing of the house also can be exclusively rented where guests can enjoy the freedom of self-catering and is an ideal house for family breaks. Contact the house directly to check availability for the exclusive rental of Birdhill House & Gardens.”

4. Cahir House Hotel, Cahir, County Tipperary

https://www.cahirhousehotel.ie/en/

The website tells us:

Cahir House Hotel is a Historical Town House and the leading hotel in Cahir, County Tipperary. This former manor house offers luxury  hotel accommodation in Cahir and is the ideal base for your hotel break in the South East of Ireland.

Situated centrally in Cahir, Co. Tipperary, with views of Cahir Castle, Cahir Main Square. Cork, Waterford & Shannon Airport and Cities such as Kilkenny, Cork, Waterford, Limerick, a mere 1 hour drive away.

Cahir House Hotel is the perfect location at the crossroads to the south.

The National Inventory tells us that it was built c. 1770: “This impressive townhouse, designed by William Tinsley on a prominent corner site, which became the residence of the Earls of Glengall when the family ceased to live in Cahir Castle [The first Earl of Glengall was the 10th Baron Cahir, Richard Butler (1775-1819). He married Emilia Jefferyes, daughter of James St. John Jefferyes of Blarney Castle]. Although it has undergone many alterations and a change of use, it retains much character and interesting fabric, such as the stone to the window and door dressings.

5. Cashel Palace Hotel, Cashel, County Tipperary – €€€

https://www.cashelpalacehotel.ie

The website tells us it is: “A Palladian manor, in the heart of Ireland, Cashel Palace is a luxury hideaway, meticulously restored and exquisitely reimagined. Spectacularly located by the Rock of Cashel in picturesque Co. Tipperary, the hotel is enveloped in nature and overlooked by ancient history.

Cashel Palace hotel, County Tipperary, photograph by Brian Morrison 2014 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. [2]

The website tells us of the history:

Built in 1732, as the home of Church of Ireland Archbishop Theophilus Bolton, Cashel Palace was designed by the eminent architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearce. Lovett Pearce was one of the most celebrated architects of the time, and would go on to design Dublin’s impressive Parliament House – now the Bank of Ireland in College Green.

Palladian in style, Cashel Palace’s handsome red brick facade contrasts with its limestone rear. While the rear façade mirrors the front, the use of different materials makes it exceptionally rare for this period. Carved limestone dressings enhance the house’s symmetry, with the triple-opening Venetian – or Serlian – windows a typical feature of the Palladian style.

If you look closely at the front elevation, you will spot a crowned harp over the entrance. A fire mark issued by the Hibernian Insurance Company of Dublin, they were in business from 1771 to 1839 and were the first company in Ireland to offer fire insurance.

No expense was spared in the Palace’s construction, with dozens of skilled craftsmen hired to complete the ornate and capacious interiors. Thanks to generations of mindful custodians, many of the house’s original features were well preserved. Described as ‘a place of notable hospitality’ in Loveday’s Tour of 1732, it is clear the residents enjoyed the finest comforts of the day.

The large entrance hall retains its original wood panelling, and two imposing fluted Corinthian columns. Off the hall, stands the remarkable staircase, an early Georgian style carved from red pine and featuring hundreds of intricately hand-turned ‘barley sugar’ banisters.

Photograph from Mark Bence-Jones, A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988).

Occupying 25 acres, with an impressive driveway and gardens, a private walkway, ‘The Bishops Walk’ was constructed, to give residents private access to the Rock of Cashel, ancient seat of the Kings of Munster and home to a 13th century Cathedral. Cashel Palace was not impervious to political upheaval, and suffered damage during the turbulent Wolfe Tone Rebellion of 1798. The 1st Earl of Normanton, then Archbishop of Cashel, oversaw the room repairs, with the modifications reflecting the fashionable Regency style of the time.

To the rear of the Palace beautiful gardens were planted, including two ancient mulberry trees. Predating the house, these striking trees stand tall today, planted in 1702 to commemorate the Coronation of Queen Anne.

During the construction and excavation the builders stumbled upon the opening of an ancient well. Perfectly formed and completely intact, the 15-foot well was historically used to provide water to the Main House of the Cashel Palace during the period when the Archbishops occupied the house from the 1730’s to the 1900’s.

Every period house in this time had a land agent who would brew beer for the owners, and it was Richard Guinness, who was the land agent for Archbishop Arthur Price, who used hops from the Palace Garden and water from this well to brew ale for Cashel Palace. His son Arthur Guinness, who was the Archbishop’s godson, was left £100 in his godfather’s will – the same £100 he used to secure the lease on the site of St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin. This same well can be seen in The Glass Well at our sister property, Mikey Ryan’s Bar & Kitchen adjacent to the hotel.

101 years after it was built, the last Archbishop left Cashel Palace. In 1833, under the Church Temporalities Act, the dioceses of Cashel and Emly were merged with Waterford and Lismore. This act saw the then present resident, Archbishop Richard Lawrence, relocate to Waterford, where he and future successors would make their home. Without an Archbishop in residence, Cashel Palace was divided for use by the Dean of Cashel and a Canon of the Church of Ireland.

For more than 200 years, the Palace had found itself at the heart of religious life, hosting many powerful families and their guests. That all changed in 1959, when the Church of Ireland sold Cashel Palace to Lord Brockett, a man of some means. Opened as a luxury hotel in May 1962, Lord Brockett also owned the Wicklow Hotel in Dublin and Benner’s Hotel in Tralee at the time.

Over the years, Cashel Palace hosted many glamorous guests, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, Ronald Reagan, Diana Spencer and Prince Joachim of Denmark.

The hotel has enjoyed a long association with the horse-racing community and was once owned by the legendary horse trainer Vincent O’Brien before being sold to local entrepreneurs Pat and Susan Murphy who took stewardship and operated the hotel until its closure in 2014.

Then, in 2016, the iconic house was purchased by the Magnier Family, also owners of Coolmore, the world’s largest and most successful thoroughbred breeding operation. Since then, the house as undergone an incredible transformation which will see it transformed a magnificent five-star Relais & Châteaux property.

The doors of Cashel Palace opened more on 1st March 2022 after a long slumber, ready to welcome guests from across the globe, thus ushering in a new era in the legacy of a building already steeped in such incredible history.

6. Clonacody House, County Tipperary €€

https://www.clonacodyhouse.com/home

7. Croc an Oir, Mullinahone, County Tipperary € for 4-15

https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/6651715?adults=1&children=0&infants=0&check_in=2023-04-18&check_out=2023-04-25&federated_search_id=06207691-0de5-49ec-8323-71f088df9e7c&source_impression_id=p3_1654355901_X6OQQUqoSRlCkOnM

Crocanoir is a home away from home tucked away down a leafy boreen. This beautifully restored house offers a truly relaxing holiday where hospitality and a traditional Irish experience is offered in abundance. It enjoys stunning views of Slievenamon mountain and there are lovely countryside walks only a stroll from the doorstep. Guests are welcome to wander the woodland paths and leave the world behind. The Old House has oodles of character and is ideal for large families or groups of friends.

8. Dundrum House, County Tipperary – hotel is temporarily closed but there are self-catering cottages. €€

https://www.dundrumhousehotel.com

Dundrum House, County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
Dundrum House, County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The Inventory tells us it is a Palladian-style seven-bay three-storey country house over half-basement, built c.1730, third storey being possibly an addition requiring removal of pediment c.1890. Three-bay breakfront and single-bay single-storey over half-basement links to similar flat-roof wings and having U-plan perron at ground floor reached by cut limestone curving staircases with cast-iron railings.

An elegant classically-proportioned building, the house retains much of its original character and form, and remains substantially intact within its demesne. The site is historically and socially important as the seat of the O’Dwyer family, who were dispossessed during the era of Cromwellian confiscation, and subsequently the Maude family, who built this house. The Maudes rose to great eminence attaining ranks of Viscounts Hawarden and Earls of Montalt. As principal landowners in the area, they were generous benefactors of Dundrum village in the mid-nineteenth century.

9. Lissanisky House, County Tipperary

https://www.lissaniskyhouse.com/

Lissanisky House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The website tells us:

Lissanisky House is a listed Irish Georgian country house just outside Nenagh in Tipperary, Ireland. Built in approx. 1770 on the site of the 12th century O’Meara castle, it boasts a pedimented breakfront, five bays and three storeys over the basement. It is also renowned for its glorious cobweb fanlight above the front door. It was once a huge estate, but this was carved up by the land commission and now retains 10 acres of the original grounds, including the Victorian walled garden. ​The trees planted in the walled garden are still producing the tastiest apples, pears, quinces, plums and hazelnuts. If you’re around at the right time, you’ll get to enjoy one of our scrumptious homemade apple and toffee puddings with fresh cream. Delicious!

The house itself is full of history, with some interesting previous owners, like Dr Barry O’Meara, Napoleon’s doctor in St Helena and author of the definitive book on Napoleon, ‘Napoleon in Exile’; The Hon Otway Fortescue Graham-Toler, son of the second Earl of Norbury and relation of John Toler, the infamous ‘hanging judge’ and R Smithwick who is believed to be of the Kilkenny brewing family. We also recently discovered that former owners, the Cleeve family, were related to a member of the Guinness brewing family via the matriarch Heath Otway Waller of Priory Park.

THE FUTURE

We fell in love with Lissanisky House and made it our joint life goal to ensure that it would be restored to its full potential and secure it for future generations. By staying with us in our bed and breakfast or celebrating your wedding here, you are helping to fund all future restoration work to the house and outbuildings, making a huge contribution to the preservation of such an important building.

10. Hotel Minella, Clonmel, County Tipperary

Hotel Minella, Clonmel Co Tipperary, photograph Courtesy Tipperary County Council 2022.

https://www.hotelminella.com

The National Inventory tells us it is a five-bay two-storey over basement country house with three-bay entrance breakfront, three-bay side elevations and having bowed end bays to rear, built 1863. Now in use as hotel, with later three-bay flat-roofed porch. Built for the Malcolmson family by J.S Mulvany, this neo-classical house is located on a fine site on the banks of the River Suir. Its form is enhanced by well-crafted decoration such as the window surrounds, balustrade and channelling and by the retention of features such as the timber sash windows and timber panelled door. It forms a group with the similarly executed gate lodge and well-crafted boundary walls and piers.

11. Raheen House Hotel, Clonmel, County Tipperary €€

https://www.raheenhouse.ie/

Raheen House Hotel is one of the leading hotels in the vibrant town of Clonmel, County Tipperary. This captivating hotel, with a history dating back to the 17th century, offers visitors the opportunity to relax and luxuriate in exquisite surroundings.

The Hotel offers 15 elegant bedrooms within the tranquillity of its own 3.5 acre gardens. The refinement extends throughout the whole house; have a drink in front of the open fire in the bar, take afternoon tea in the sumptuous Drawing Room or enjoy a delicious formal dinner in our restaurant.”

The tranquil atmosphere at present day Raheen House Hotel belies a turbulent and violent history that spans over nine centuries.The annals of the area stretches from the early thirteenth century to modern day times whilst the house can be chronicled to the middle of the 17th century.

The earliest grantee of the land was William Fitz Adelm, Lord Lieutenant under King Henry the Second, who was granted the “Golden Vale from Cashel to Limerick and the alluvial districts from Clonmel to Carrick in 1220. His property then passed to his son Baron de Burgh [Richard, died abt. 1243], who is largely responsible for founding the town of Clonmel and whose descendants retained commercial interests in the town for generations.

Political upheaval over the intervening years meant that by 1650 ownership of the land was with the Earl of Ormond. It is in connection with the Earl that we find one of the earliest mentions of the name Raheen, though it was spelled “Rahines” during this time. The name is thought to mean ” Little Fort” a combination of “Rath” being fort and the diminutive “een”.

As Ireland was a subject of Great Britain, any political changes there were reflected here, thus, when the monarchy was overthrown, with the execution of King Charles the First, and Cromwell came to power this had a dramatic affect on the history of Raheen. It is thought that it was during the rule of Cromwell that the original Raheen House was built. It is believed that Col Solomon Richards [1636-1691] was the builder of the first house, which still stands today and shows many architectural features of that era. It is estimated that the house was built between 1652 -1654.

Col Richards was a prominent member in Cromwell’s army and sat on his War Council. He was appointed Commissioner of Revenue at Clonmel on December 25th 1652. By April 1655 he was appointed Governor of Clonmel. He operated out of Raheen House in his role of Revenue Commissioner. A daughter of Colonel Richards, Elizabeth, went on to marry Capt. Samuel Foley who had a registered interest in the property of the Revenue Commissioners. Indeed, one of his own grandchildren, Charles Blount held the office of Revenue Commissioner under the reign of King Charles the Second. The descendants of Colonel Solomon Richards produced branches of the Foley, Oliver and Dominick families. In fact his great, great, granddaughter, Elizabeth Dominick became Lady St. George, a peer of the Realm when her husband, St.George Ussher was named Baron St.George in 1773 by King George the Third. It is this king who purchased present day Buckingham Palace.

The Georgian addition to Raheen House was constructed in the early 1840’s and as was common practise at the time it was built adjoining the original Cromwellian structure. The 19th century owners of the house, the Greer family put the house for sale in 1878 for £55 when the legal owner, William Greer, was declared insane.

Another military element was again associated with Raheen House when Col E George Cobden took ownership of the house. As nobility, the Colonel was part of the ruling class in post-famine Clonmel and he was an Ex-Officio Guardian on the Board of Guardians for the Union (workhouse) as well as a Magistrate.

Trouble came to Raheen House in July 1914 due to Cobden’s connection with the house. His son George E Cobden, Jnr, was one of the officers at the Bachelors Walk massacre in Dublin where three people were killed and 38 injured. It is thought he was the officer who gave the order that resulted in these deaths. Nationwide outrage at the slaughter was mirrored locally and an angry mob descended on Raheen House, still home to Cobden Snr, where a violent riot erupted. Fortunately, there were no deaths as a result of the incident.

In more recent times Raheen House was the home of Clonmel senator, Denis E Burke, a Fine Gael politician who held two terms in the 1960’s. The public park opposite Raheen House was named after the late politician.

The current owners, Elizabeth and John Day, purchased the house in 1988 from the Burke family. After raising their three daughters, Catherine, Lois and Orla, in the house they decided, in 1996, to establish Raheen House as a hotel. The house, including the gate lodge at the entrance, opened its doors as a hotel to the delight of the public. The hotel underwent an extensive re-vamp of both the interior décor and the grounds in 2014, and rightly holds the position of one of the finest manor hotels in Ireland.”

12. The Rectory, Cashel Road, Cahir, Co. Tipperary – section 482 accomodation

The Rectory, Cahir, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

contact: Richard Fahey
Tel: 087-2601994
(Tourist Accommodation FacilityOpen: May 1-Oct 31

The National Inventory describes the house: “A substantial former rectory with an attractive bowed bay which dominates the principal elevation and creates interest in an otherwise austere design. The placement of the entrance doorway in an end elevation is unusual. Of significance also is the range of outbuildings to the north, with an attractive arched entrance and retaining much interesting fabric.” [20]

Whole house rental County Tipperary

1. Bansha Castle, County Tipperarywhole house rental €€€ for 2; € for 7-16

Bansha Castle, County Tipperary by Kerry Kissane 2021 for Tourism Ireland (see [2]).

https://www.banshacastle.com

Mark Bence-Jones writes (1988):

p. 30. “(Butler/IFR) A two storey Victorian house with a round tower at one end, a square tower at the other and a gabled porch. Odd-shaped windows and a few blind loops; but no castellations or other pseudo-medieval features.” 

The website tells us: “If you’ve ever dreamed of staying in an Irish castle, then 300-year old Bansha Castle is exactly what you’ve been looking for. This gracious castle with elegant period features is beautifully positioned amid mature private parkland by the Glen of Aherlow, framed by the famous Galtee mountains. Built in 1760 and recently lovingly restored to full former glory, Bansha Castle is the perfect location for a private family gathering, birthday celebration or friendly get-together.

It tells us of the history also:

Bansha Castle was built circa 1760 on the site of the original 11th century castle. Extensively remodelled around 1830 and also in the early 1900s, it originally consisted of a late Georgian wing attached to a medieval tower house. The castle was the home of the O’Ryan family until late 1800s, when it was acquired by the British Government as a grace and favour house for General Sir William Butler on his retirement following the Boer war.

General Butler was born in Ballycarron, about three miles from Bansha village. After joining the British Army he saw service initially in Burma and India and was subsequently posted to Canada where he was responsible for submitting the report which led to the setting up of the North Western Police- the Mounties. Although a brilliant soldier, Butler hated war. As Commander-in-Chief of the British forces in South Africa in the 1890s, he tried to dissuade the British Government from taking on the Boers, knowing it would be a long and costly war, whereas the Government thought they were only up against inexperienced farmers. In 1899 he was forced to resign having been accused of having pro-Boer sympathies. He was made the scapegoat for the bloody war which followed and suffered intense humiliation.

Butler retired to Bansha Castle and happily was able to clear his name before he died in 1910. He carried out a number of alterations to the house – removing the castellations around the roof, demolishing the early tower, and replacing it and re-roofing the house. He was buried in Kilaldriff cemetery, not far from Bansha.

If General Sir William Butler was famous then his wife, Elizabeth Thompson was equally distinguished. She became Lady Butler, The Battle Artist. Never having witnessed war at first hand, her battle scenes won her the popularity and critical success that no other female British painter has ever approached. Among her most famous paintings are The Roll Call, Scotland Forever, and The Charge. Many of her paintings were completed in Bansha Castle. She used the top room of the North tower as her studio.

She continued to live on in Bansha Castle after her husband’s death. During the troubles in 1922, the house was occupied by the IRA. In great indignation Lady Butler walked out of the house, leaving everything behind. She was never to return. It was left to her son, a colonel in the British Army, to retrieve her paintings. One of her paintings, The Camel Corp, is rumoured to have a bullet hole in it,
received in Bansha Castle. She went to live with her daughter, Lady Gormanstown, at Gormanstown Castle where she died in 1932. An account of this episode can be read in her book A Little Kept.

Bansha Castle then became the property of Mr.Tom Givens, retired Chief of Police in Shanghai, before it was acquired in the early fifties by Dr.James Russell He ran it as a stud farm and bred the famous 1970s racehorse Rheingold on the lands. In 1975 there was a major fire and the house was closed for a number of years.

In 1982 John and Teresa Russell decided to renovate the house to provide luxury accommodation in Ireland. As can be observed, this renovation has become an ongoing labour of love.

2. Clonacody House, County Tipperary – whole house

https://www.clonacodyhouse.com/home

Clonacody has six spacious bedrooms, all boasting genuine antique interiors. Expect the good-old fashioned hospitality of the bygone days, curious family history, artwork and photographs to pour over. Curl up on our squishy sofas with a good book while enjoying an open fire on our ground floor, or have a bath beside an open window taking in the glorious surrounding views of Co. Tipperary’s mountains for endless relaxation. All include quality bedlinen, towels and toiletries.

3. Cloughjordan House, Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary – section 482, wedding venue

Cloughjordan House, County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

https://www.cloughjordanhouse.com/accommodation

The website tells us: “Cloughjordan House has a variety of colourful accommodation options for guests. There is on-site accommodation for up to 86 guests. The attention to detail leaves each finished room with a sense of its own personality and flair, meaning every lodger has a unique experience of the venue. The bathrooms are stocked with The Handmade Soap Company toiletries and the property is littered with Nespresso machines so that guests can take a break during their stay to sit back and smell the coffee.

There are four double bedrooms with ensuites in the beautifully elegant main house. The bedrooms have all the glamour of period features but with modern adjustments for a more comfortable stay. Guests staying here are steeped in luxury with; super king sized beds, crisp Egyptian Cotton sheets, soft cashmere blankets from Hanly Woollen Mills and under floor heating in the bathrooms. They also have use of the sitting room in the main house for relaxing and tea/coffee facilities with homemade cookies. Sleeps 8.

There are two double bedrooms with ensuites above the cookery school in the Coach House. These rooms are an extension of the accommodation available in the main house. Guests have access to the living rooms there for relaxation. This building was originally a store for horse-drawn carriages, hence its name The Coach House. Sleeps 4.

There are four double bedrooms with ensuites located in the Dairy. The structure was the original milking parlour for 150 dairy cows which is why each room; Daisy, Bluebell, Buttercup and Primrose are named after the animals. The décor here is rustic with unique features making use of Cloughjordan farm wood and other farmyard materials like galvanised sheeting. The beds are traditional farm structures with super comfortable mattresses. The handcrafted nature of these rooms means you are guaranteed to have never stayed anywhere like this. Sleeps 8.

There are 18 bedrooms with ensuites located in the Cowshed. The bedrooms are farmyard inspired with wood used from the Cloughjordan House forest and wooden sinks and rugs from South Africa, where both Sarah and Peter love spending time. The beds are large and luxurious and the showers are powerful. The common room is like something out of a novel, spacious and bright with an Argentinian feel. The veranda opens out onto the property with big, comfortable couches complete with blankets for the ultimate in chilling-out and when the sun is shining this is the best spot in the house (or shed)! Sleeps 45.

The glamping area in the walled garden has 11 newly arrived wooden “pod” cabins offering Scandinavian comfort and style. Mattresses and bedding are the same as any of the other rooms in the house. In order to keep our guest’s stay as premium as possible, we have built a Pamper Room so that ladies can get ready in comfort for the day ahead. This Girlie Room is bright and spacious and comes complete with mirrors and plugs for appliances. Glamping guests have access to The Cowshed lounge for relaxing and chilling-out. Sleeps 22.

4. Inch House, Thurles, County Tipperary, Ireland – whole house rental €€€ for 2; €€ for 7-10

http://www.inchhouse.ie

Inch House County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The website tells us:

The Egan Family are proud owners of Inch House since 1985. The family bought the house & farm that surrounds it with no idea as to the real treasure that lay inside this Georgian mansion. John, a farmer, and Nora, a nurse, along with their eight children have worked tirelessly to bring their dreams for Inch House to fruition and opened their home to guests in 1989 following a major restoration project.

Having run an  award winning restaurant for some 25 years since then, John and Nora now embark on a new journey and for the first time this year are offering their magnificent house to holiday makers for their exclusive hire. this is an exciting new venture for the Egans’ and given their extensive experience in the hospitality and food sector they aim to bring their experience into this new venture and bring their plans to fruition.

Inch House was built in 1720 by John Ryan [1692-1723] on the site of a previous structure. John, who had inherited extensive lands from his father, Daniel, married Frances Mary Mathew of Thurles in 1723. Frances was daughter of George Mathew, and granddaughter of Lady Thurles (1587-1673), formerly Elizabeth Poyntz.

Lady Thurles was married twice, firstly to Thomas Butler, Viscount Thurles (who, had he lived would have succeeded to the Earldom of Ormonde), and secondly to George Mathew. Her eldest son by the Butler marriage was the remarkable James, 1st Duke of Ormonde and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Her daughter was an ancestor of the late Princess of Wales. The descendants of her Mathew alliance were equally notable for they included the saintly Nano Nagle, Foundress of the Presentation Sisters in the 18th Century.

Nano Nagle was a daughter of Garnet Nagle and Anne Mathew granddaughter of Thomas Mathew of Anfield, a mere stone’s throw from the Ryan seat at Inch. The Capuchin priest, Rev. Theobald Mathew, the renowned “Apostle of Temperance” also descended from this Stock.

Ryans of Inch were one of the few landed Catholic families in Tipperary and in the late 18th Century and owned up to 5,000 acres of land. Inch remained the property of the Ryan family until 1985 when it was sold to the present owners, John and Nora Egan.

5. Killaghy Castle, Mullinahone, Tipperary – whole house rental €€€ for 2; € for 11-14

https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/41229269?source_impression_id=p3_1646849021_iHJka1F69OaEkVKZ

Mark Bence-Jones tells us (1988):

p. 169. “An old tower-house of the Tobin family, with a two storey five bay C19 castellated wing attached. Doorway with segmental pointed arch, mullioned windows with hood mouldings, bartizan. Forfeited by the Tobins 1653, passed to the Greene family, from whom it passed through marriage to the Despards; it was garrisoned by Lieut Despard 1798. It then passed by inheritance to the Wright family, by whom it was sold. Since then, it has been owned successively by the families of Watson, Fox, Naughton and Bradshaw.” 

The National Inventory describes it: “Detached T-plan five-bay two-storey country house, built c.1760, façade remodelled and octagonal turret added to southwest corner c.1825, and having four-storey tower house, built c.1550, adjoining to east. Lower two-storey extension to north gable of return. Adjoining outbuildings to rear….The turret, crenellations and label-mouldings applied to this building are a witty reference to the original defensive nature of the tower house to which it has been added. This combination of structures of various eras is familiar in large rural houses in Ireland. The later parts form an interesting horizontal counterpoint to the very tall tower house. The house forms an interesting group with the outbuildings and walled garden. “

6. Kilshane, Tipperary, Co Tipperary – whole house rental for weddings.

Kilshane, County Tipperary, photograph from the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

https://www.kilshanehouse.ie

Mark Bence-Jones tells us (1988):

p. 299. “(Low/LGI1912) A Classical house of ca 1830; two storey, 6 bay front with single storey Ionic portico; solid roof parapet with central die. A very large and handsome conservatory with curvilinear roofs, in the style of th Dublin ironmasters Richard and William Turner, was added to one end of the house ca 1880; it has an interior of cast-iron columns supporting delicate fan-like arches with. Central fountain. The seat of the Low family; afterwards owned by a religious order, which made some institutional additions to the house. Now owned by Mr and Mrs Ian Horst.

The National Inventory tells us this impressive country house was built by the architect C.F. Anderson for John Lowe. 

Kilshane, County Tipperary: the impressive conservatory – see the website for a better picture, photograph from the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

7. Kilteelagh House, Dromineer, Lough Derg, County Tipperary – whole house €€€ for 2; €€ for 10-12

https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/16299584?source_impression_id=p3_1646849122_v85eLlk0Y7hZDOYc

Kilteelagh House, County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Mark Bence-Jones writes (1988):

p. 176. “(Gason/IFR) A house rebuilt in High Victorian style 1863 by Lt-Col W.C. Gason. Two storey; steep gables with bargeboards; rectangular plate glass windows and large two storey Perpendicular window in centre. High-pitched polychrome roof. Fine demesne along the shore of Lough Derg. Sold 1962 by Col A.W. Gason to Lt-Col J.A. Dene.” 

Kilteelagh House, County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
Kilteelagh House, County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

8. Lisheen Castle, Thurles, County Tipperary €€€ for two, € for 11-14

airbnb https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/337170?adults=2&category_tag=Tag%3A8047&children=0&infants=0&search_mode=flex_destinations_search&check_in=2022-05-16&check_out=2022-05-21&federated_search_id=e5acaa55-1906-41d1-92c4-e1dcc2012c70&source_impression_id=p3_1652454843_bH11BQ6b7Xq9YDK0

Lisheen Castle, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The entry tells us: “In 1996, Michael and Joan undertook the complete restoration and renovation of the Castle, their son Zane now runs and manages the castle since 2009. This has been a real labour of love for them, as they have a wonderful appreciation of history and things beautiful. It was specially pleasing to Michael and Joan that all the craftsmen needed to carry our this momentous task were available locally. They have left no stone unturned to ensure that Lisheen Castle would be restored to its former glory, a residence fit for a Lord.

During your Irish castle vacation you will enter the beautiful hallway, through the Great Oak Door,you will be immediately impressed by the opulance of the diningroom, reception rooms and library. At the end of the long corridor visitors will see a beautiful Ash Carved Stairs. Upstairs, there are currently 9 luxury bedrooms, 8 of which are en-suite. While the emphasis in Lisheen Castle is historical, the facilities are up to today’s standard with wi-fi and pc/printer available for use by the guests.

One of the two kitchens is fully fitted to the highest catering standard. Of interest to the guests will be the “old-style kitchen”, which is furnished with pine furniture and terracotta floor.

Even though the Castle is centrally heated throughout, you can still experience the special ambience of the “open turf fires” which are in all the reception rooms.

Lisheen Castle is available for your Irish castle vacation on a weekly or monthly basis. So, go on, if you would like to experience the wonderful opulance of past times, while still having all the modern conveniences.

9. Lismacue House, Bansha, Co. Tipperary – section 482, whole house rental, up to 10 people

Lismacue House, County Tipperary, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

contact: Katherine Nicholson
Tel: 062-54106
www.lismacue.com
(Tourist Accommodation Facility) Open: Mar 18-Oct 31

Mark Bence-Jones writes (1988): p. 185. “[Baker/IFR] A late-Georgian house with battlements and other mild Gothic touches. 2 storeys;  entrance front of three bays with Gothic porch, prolonged by lower wing ending in a gable with tracery window. Side of five bays has a battlemented pediment with pinnacles. Another pediment on the rear facade.” 

The National Inventory adds: “This is an imposing and diverse country house, which has been enlivened through the addition of many Gothic-style elements. The early nineteenth-century middle wing provides a foil for the classically-designed original block, in its use of unrendered stone walls. The extensive and well-designed courtyard reflects the grandeur of this dwelling, which is set in landscaped grounds. The retention of early wallpaper to two ground floor reception rooms is an indication of the sympathetic maintenance this house receives.

The website tells us: “Lismacue House is a Luxury Georgian Country House set in the heart of Ireland.

This is the ideal property for anyone wanting to rent a luxury home for a quiet country break.

Approached by the gracious lime tree avenue, Lismacue House looks out on the splendour of the Galtee mountains.

Standing in 200 acres of parkland with the excellent ‘Ara’ trout fishing, this is the ideal location to relax and explore the wonders of Ireland.

The website tells us more about the history:

The original dwelling, situated in the “Oak Paddock” had  five chimneys and therefore incurred a hearth tax of 10/- according to the records of 1665.

On the 15th October, 1704 Lismacue was purchased by William Baker, ancestor of Kate Nicholson, for the sum of £923. Since then the house has been continually occupied by the family. Sir Augustine Baker, a solicitor, was President of the Incorporated Law Society in 1903. He compiled the family history in 1922, just before the Public Record Office was burned down.

The present house was completed in 1813 to the design of architect William Robertson. It is a classically proportioned Irish country house set in 200 acres and approached by one of the most impressive lime tree avenues in Ireland, planted c.1760 by Hugh Baker.

Lismacue is a beautifully maintained model of country house splendour with high ceilings and intricate plasterwork, broad staircases and gloriously stained pine floors. Differing architectural styles can be discerned between the main building, the wing and Coach House.

At the turn of the century guests were collected at Bansha railway station by trap.

The accommodation consists of a classically proportioned drawing room, dining room, breakfast room and library. The house is centrally heated throughout, with traditional warm and welcoming log fires in the reception rooms. All windows have the original pine shutters that are closed each evening.

The plasterwork in the Drawing Room is of unusual pendulous Gothic design and coupled with the gilt pelmets, mahogany doors and original wallpaper give it an air of timelessness and tranquillity. In the Dining room the elegant dining room table surrounded by the original Hicks chairs, which can seat a party of 12, is West facing thereby getting the benefit of the evening sun.

The library, overlooking the croquet lawn, contains original wallpaper, which is French in design, and is now almost two hundred years old. The architects preparatory sketches hang above the bookcase.

All bedrooms contain a King or Queen size bed and are especially designed for perfect rest. Each spacious room features antique furniture, direct dial telephones, fresh cut flowers all year round. There’s a sumptuous deep soaking bath and shower in all bathrooms. Each room enjoys panoramic views over the surrounding landscaped gardens and estate.

[1] Bence-Jones, Mark. A Guide to Irish Country Houses (originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988 Constable and Company Ltd, London.

[2] https://www.irelandscontentpool.com/en

Blarney Castle & Rock Close, Blarney, Co. Cork

contact: C. Colthurst

Tel: 021-4385252

www.blarneycastle.ie

Open dates in 2022: all year except Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, Jan-Feb, Nov-Dec, 9am-4pm,
Mar-Oct, 9am-5pm.
Fee: adult €18, OAP/student €15, child €10, family and season passes.

Blarney Castle, County Cork, June 2022.

We visited Blarney Castle on a trip to Cork in June 2022, choosing to visit on a date when we could also visit Blarney House – see my entry (on its way!).

We have all heard that kissing the Blarney stone gives us the “gift of the gab,” but where did the story come from? Randal MacDonnell, in his book, The Lost Houses of Ireland, tells us that Queen Elizabeth I said of Cormac mac Diarmada MacCarthy (1552-1616), Lord of Muskerry, ‘This is all Blarney; what he says he never means!’ so the term was used as far back as Elizabethan times. The Blarney Stone, set high in the castle under the battlements, was said to have been a gift to the MacCarthy family after sending 5,000 soldiers to help Robert the Bruce (who died in 1329) in battle. It was reputedly the stone that gushed water after Moses struck it, or else it is said to be part of the Stone of Scone, on which the Kings of Scotland were inaugurated. It is also said to be the pillow that Jacob slept upon when he dreamed of angels ascending a ladder to heaven, that was brought from the Holy Land after the Crusades. Frank Keohane tells us bluntly in his description of Blarney Castle in Buildings of Ireland, Cork City and County (published 2020) that it is in fact the lintel to the central machicolation on the south side!

An Irish person can be reluctant to visit Blarney castle, thinking it “stage Irish” with its tradition of kissing the Blarney stone but it is really well worth a visit, including queueing to get to the top of the castle (to kiss the stone, which you can of course skip!), because along the way you can see the interior five storeys of the castle with its many rooms and corridors. Each year around 550,000 tourists visit Blarney Castle.

It is also worth visiting just to wander the seventy acres of gardens, which are beautiful. There’s a coffee shop in the stable yard.

Map of the extensive estate and gardens.
The Stables and Coach Yard have a coffee shop.
This sign board tells us that the castle we see today is the third structure that was erected on the site. In the tenth century there was a wooden hunting lodge. Around 1210 this was replaced by a stone structure, which was demolished for the foundations of the third, current, castle, built by Cormac MacCarthy in 1446.

The castle we see today is the third structure that was erected on the site. In the tenth century there was a wooden hunting lodge. Around 1210 this was replaced by a stone structure, which was demolished for the foundations of the third, current, castle, built by Cormac Laidir (‘the strong’) MacCarthy in 1446. To put it into chronological perspective, this is around the same time that Richard III deposed King Edward V and nearly fifty years before Christopher Columbus “discovered” the “New world” in 1492 (see the terrific chronology outlined in James Lyttelton’s Blarney Castle, An Irish Towerhouse). He built a slender self-contained four storey tower house, which is now called the northwest tower.

The MacCarthy clan had vast estates, and were recognised as Kings of Munster by the lesser Irish chiefs, the sign boards at Blarney tell us. They trace their ancestry back to a chieftain who was converted to Christianity by St. Patrick. Cormac MacCarthy built Cormac’s Chapel on the Rock of Cashel, 1127-1134, before the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169.

The second, larger, five storey tower was built in the early to mid 16th century.

In 1628 King Charles I created Cormac (Charles) MacCarthy (1564-1640/41) Viscount Muskerry. His father was the 16th Lord of Muskerry – the family gained the title from the English crown in 1353 – and his mother was Mary Butler, daughter of the 1st Baron Caher (of second creation), Theobald, of Cahir Castle in County Tipperary. Viscount Muskerry inherited Blarney in 1616 and undertook alterations, perhaps adding the tall machicolated parapets, and enlarging windows, fitting them with hooded twin and triple light mullioned windows. He married Margaret O’Brien, a daughter of the 4th Earl of Thomond, and secondly, Ellen, widow of Donall MacCarthy Reagh, and daughter of David, seventh Viscount Fermoy. [1]

Viscount Muskerry died in 1640/41, passing the title 2nd Viscount to his son Donnchadh (or Donough). Donough MacCarthy based himself in Macroom, County Cork, and Dublin. Donough and his father were Members of Parliament and sat in the House of Lords in Dublin. He was loyal to the crown in 1641 during the rebellion but afterwards supported the Catholics who sought to be able to keep their lands. The Duke of Ormond sought negotiation between the Confederate Catholics and the crown, and 2nd Viscount Muskerry played an active role in these negotiations. [2] Negotiations were complicated because the lines of disagreement were unclear and as time progressed and more negotiators became involved, goals changed. For some, it was about Catholics being able to own land, for others, to be able to practice their religion freely. Factions fought amongst themselves.

Donough MacCarthy (1594-1665), 2nd Viscount Muskerry and 1st Earl Clancarty, Painted portrait (oil on canvas) at the Hunt Museum, Limerick, Accession number HCP 004. The portrait is part of the original collection donated by antiquarian John Durell Hunt and wife Gertrude Hunt. Other sources suggest it is Donough MacCarthy the 4th Earl Clancarty. I will have to check this!

Further complications arose as Parliament in England was unhappy with the reign of Charles I. Viscount Muskerry was firmly Royalist, along with his brother-in-law the Duke of Ormond. It was at this time that Donough MacCarthy the 2nd Viscount married Eleanor Butler, twin sister of the 1st Duke of Ormond. In 1649, Lord Broghill (Roger Boyle, later created 1st Earl of Orrery) persuaded the towns of Cork, Youghal, Bandon, and Kinsale to declare for Parliament. The division was no longer between Catholics and English rule, but between Royalists and Parliament supporters.

Blarney Castle was taken by Cromwell’s army under Lord Broghill in 1646 and again in 1649 by Oliver Cromwell. The inhabitants and defenders fled via the passageways below the castle and escaped.

It is said that the inhabitants of the castle escaped Cromwell’s army by these routes under the castle.

The 2nd Viscount became the 1st Earl of Clancarty in 1658, raised to the title by the exiled son of King Charles I, who in 1660 became King Charles II. MacCarthy’s property was restored to him by the King.

Charles 3rd Viscount died in the same year as his father (1665), having joined first the French army when in exile from Ireland, and later, the regiment of the Duke of York (who later became King James II). It was therefore his son, Charles James MacCarthy, who became 2nd Earl of Clancarty. The 2nd Earl’s mother was Margaret de Burgh, or Bourke, daughter of the 1st Marquess Clanricarde. The 2nd Earl died in the following year, so the 1st Earl’s second son, Callaghan (1635-1676) became 3rd Earl of Clancarty in 1666. Callaghan converted to Protestantism. He married Elizabeth FitzGerald, daughter of the 16th Earl of Kildare. His younger brother, Justin, was given the title of Viscount Mountcashel.

Jane Ohlmeyer writes of the MacCarthys of Muskerry in her book Making Ireland English:

p. 108: “[the MacCarthys of Muskerry] The family thus enjoyed a formidable range of kinship ties that included the Butlers, of Ormond and Cahir, and the houses of Thomond, Fermoy, Buttevant, Courcy of Kinsale and Kerry. Like Viscount Roche, Muskerry enjoyed a close friendship with the earl of Cork and stood as godfather to one of his youngest children. …Blarney Castle..was the family’s principal residence…. They also resided at Macroom castle in mid-Cork…Though Muskerry retained the traditional customs associated with Gaelic lordship, he also acted as an anglicizing speculator, loaning money and securing lands through mortgages, and as an improving landlord who encouraged English settlers to his estates and especially his main town of Macroom, in mid-Cork.” [see 1]

We saw many means of defense illustrated on our tour of Cahir Castle recently during Heritage Week 2022, and many of these were utilised at Blarney. [see my entry on Cahir Castle in https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/06/26/opw-sites-in-munster-clare-limerick-and-tipperary/ ] One can see the heavy machicolation, a series of openings in the floor of projecting parapets in castles and tower-houses through which offensive or injurious substances can be dropped on the enemy below.

See the machicolation at the top of Blarney Castle.

The castle rises formidably from the bedrock of solid limestone. Its height gives a view all around for defense.

The castle is built on a bedrock of solid limestone.
Ground level openings.
The ground level entrance we see was a gatehouse that defended the tower. Below the castle is a labyrinth of underground passages and chambers. One chamber may have been used as a prison. Another housed a well.

A bawn surrounded the tower house: a defensive area of about eight acres surrounded by a wall. Maurice Craig tells us in his book The Architecture of Ireland from the Earliest Times to 1880 that the word bawn comes from the Irish name “bádhún” meaning an enclosure for cattle. Animals and people took shelter within the bawn in times of danger. The castle was self-sufficient and the bawn would have been a hive of activity with tanners, blacksmiths, masons, woodcutters, carpenters, livestock keepers, horses, cows, pigs, poultry, butchers, cooks, gardeners and attendants. Part of the bawn wall remains.

View of the bawn wall from the castle.
Defense measures include an Oubliette for unwanted guests, and a murder hole if you gain entry to the tower house.
The tower house rising from the limestone bedrock.
The impressively intact casement oriel window we can see here was the Earl of Clancarty’s bedchamber, probably added in 1616 when Cormac (Charles) MacCarthy (1564-1640/41) Viscount Muskerry inherited and undertook major alterations. Further up, there is a two-light window, which was not made to be glazed so is therefore very old.

Blarney was a typical tower house with four or five storeys, with one or two main chambers and some smaller rooms on each floor. A vaulted stone ceiling served to keep the thin tower structurally sound by tying the walls together and also acted as a firebreak. Blarney was constructed as two towers, one built later (by about 100 years) than the other. At the bottom the walls are about 18 feet thick. When it was first built it would have been covered in plaster and whitewashed to protect it from rainy weather.

The MacCarthys retained Blarney Castle until forced to leave it in the years following the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. They were Jacobites, supporters of King James II, and not supporters of King William III, who was crowned King of England, along with his wife Mary, James II’s daughter, in 1689. Mark Bence-Jones tells us that the castle was fortified by Donogh MacCarthy (c. 1668-1734), 4th Earl of Clancarty, who fought for James II in the Williamite War. [3]

The Dictionary of Irish Biography tells us that Donogh MacCarthy the 4th Earl held the office of Lord of the Bedchamber to King James II in Ireland in 1689. MacCarthy fought in the Siege of Cork in 1690, where he was captured, and he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He escaped and fled to France in May 1694. In 1698 he secretly returned to England but was betrayed by his brother-in-law, Charles Spencer, 3rd Earl of Sunderland, and was again imprisoned in the Tower. The Dictionary tells us that Lady Russell obtained a pardon for him, on condition he stayed permanently abroad. Lady Rachel Russell, nee Wriothesley, had previously petitioned unsuccessfully for the freedom of her husband, William Lord Russell, who had been arrested as part of the Rye House Plot to kill King Charles II and his brother James.

In exile in France in 1707, Donogh MacCarthy was Lord of the Bedchamber to the titular King James III (so called by the Jacobites who continued to support the Stuarts for the monarchy after William III and Mary had taken the throne). [4] This means he would have known John Baggot of County Cork and Baggotstown, County Limerick, whom I hope was an ancestor of mine (I haven’t been able to trace my family tree back that far). John Baggot married Eleanor Gould, daughter of Ignatius Gould, and fought at the Battle of Aughrim, where he lost an eye. The exiled monarchy recognised his sacrifice and in gratitude, made him groom of the bedchamber to the titular King James III in France also. Those that left Ireland at this time were called the Wild Geese. His son John Baggot subsequently fought in the French army and the other son, Ignatius, in the Spanish army.

There is a terrific summary in plaques in the ground in Limerick city around the Treaty of Limerick stone, on which the Treaty of Limerick was signed in 1691, that tells of the series of battles fought between the troops supporting King James II and the troops supporting King William. One plaque tells us:

Sept 1690 King William returned to England leaving Baron de Ginkel in charge. Cork and Kinsale surrendered to William’s army. Sarsfield rejects Ginkel’s offer of peace. More French help arrives in Limerick as well as a new French leader, the Marquis St. Ruth. Avoiding Limerick, Ginkel attacked Athlone, which guarded the main route into Connaght. 30th June 1691, Athlone surrendered. St. Ruth withdrew to Aughrim. 12th July 1691 The Battle of Aughrim. The bloodiest battle ever fought on Irish soil. The Jacobites were heading for victory when St. Ruth was killed by a cannonball. Without leadership the resistance collapsed and by nightfall, the Williamites had won, with heavy losses on both sides. Most of the Jacobites withdrew to Limerick.

Plaques in the ground of Limerick City around the Treaty of Limerick Stone, about the War of two Kings.
There are many additions to the castle as well as the main keep. This round tower was part of a Gothic mansion built on to the side of the castle by James Jefferyes in 1739.

After the MacCarthys were forced to leave Blarney Castle, it was occupied by the Hollow Sword Blade Company from London. The Historic Houses of Ireland website tells us that this company was a forerunner of the disastrously speculative South Sea Company that was attempting to break the Bank of England’s monopoly over Government loans. [5] The Landed Estates database tells us:

The Hollow Sword Blades Company was set up in England in 1691 to make sword blades. In 1703 the company purchased some of the Irish estates forfeited under the Williamite settlement in counties Mayo, Sligo, Galway, and Roscommon. They also bought the forfeited estates of the Earl of Clancarty in counties Cork and Kerry and of Sir Patrick Trant in counties Kerry, Limerick, Kildare, Dublin, King and Queen’s counties (Offaly and Laois). Further lands in counties Limerick, Tipperary, Cork and other counties, formerly the estate of James II were also purchased, also part of the estate of Lord Cahir in county Tipperary. In June 1703 the company bought a large estate in county Cork, confiscated from a number of attainted persons and other lands in counties Waterford and Clare. However within about 10 years the company had sold most of its Irish estates. Francis Edwards, a London merchant, was one of the main purchasers.” [6]

In 1702 the castle was sold to Sir Richard Pyne, Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, who sold it the following year, in 1703, to the Governor of Cork, Sir James Jeffereyes (alternatively spelled “Jefferyes”). Richard Pyne also purchased land at Ballyvolane in County Cork, another section 482 property which we have yet to visit!

In 1739 James Jeffereyes built a four storey Gothic style mansion on to the side of the castle, which he called “The Court,” demolishing a former house the MacCarthys had added to the castle. Frank Keohane tells us that the architect may have been Christopher Myers, who had previously rebuilt Glenarm Castle in County Antrim. We can see glimpses of its appearance from the round towers and ruins to one side of the castle, which are the remnants of this grand mansion. The Jefferyes family also laid out a landscape garden at Blarney known as Rock Close, with great stones arranged to look as though they had been put there in prehistoric times. There is a stone over the “wishing steps” inscribed “G. Jefferyes 1759” which commemorates the date of birth of James Jefferyes’s heir. It was a popular tourist destination as early as the 1770s.

Blarney Castle, County Cork 1796 After Thomas Sautelle Roberts, Irish, 1760-1826, photograph courtesy of National Gallery of Ireland.
Pictures of the Gothic house that was built on the side of the castle, on a noticeboard at Blarney.
Ruins of “the Court,” the Gothic house added to the side of the castle by the Jeffereyes. You can see the plaster decoration of a horse over the door. This must have been put up by later owners of the castle as the horse, or colt, is a symbol of the Colthurst family.

We joined the queue to go up the tower. The ground floor is a large vaulted space. We saw the same sort of vaulting in Oranmore Castle in County Galway, which we visited later that week during Heritage Week 2022.

Ground floor of the Castle, a vaulted space.

This room would have been the cellar chamber when first built, and would have had a wooden floor above, supported by still-present stone supports in the walls. The room on the upper wooden floor was the Great Hall. Originally, an information board tells us, the lower storey probably housed servants or junior members of the household. By the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries it had become a wine cellar, as evidenced by some brick-lined shelves.

Ground floor of Blarney Castle.

We can see the arched vaulted ceiling from the ground floor, with indentations left from wickerwork mats that were used, on which the bed of mortar for the roof was set. We saw similar indentations at Trim Castle and the nearby house of St. Mary’s Abbey in Trim, in the basement [see https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/09/17/st-marys-abbey-high-street-trim-co-meath/ ]. The walls would have been covered in tapestries, which were put on the floor at some stage, becoming carpets. The arched ceiling tied the walls of the tower together.

See the remnants of the wickerwork on the vaulted ceiling, and an impressive fireplace remains in what would have been the Great Hall.

Next to the Great Hall was the Earl’s bedroom.

From here we have a good view of the remnants of the Gothic house remnants:

Remnants of the Gothic styled house which had been built onto the castle.

We climbed a stone spiral staircase inside the tower to see the upper chambers. As usual in tower houses, the narrow spiral staircase was built partly for defense.

We next reached the “Young Ladies’ Bedroom.” The noticeboard tells us that three daughters of Cormac Teige MacCarthy (d. 1583), 14th Lord, grew up here.

The room above the Great Hall in the tower would have been the family room.

Remaining plasterwork on the wall in the family room.
One end of the Family Room has a large fireplace, and the Banqueting Hall was on the storey above. The floor of the Banqueting Hall no longer exists, but you can see the fireplace of this room on the right hand side of the photograph.
Continuing our climb up to the top of Blarney Castle, looking down.

The floors of the banqueting hall, above the family room, and the chapel which would have been on the floor above the banqueting hall, are gone, so when you reach the top of the castle, you can look down inside.

Looking down from the battlements at what would have been the chapel (with the arched windows) and the Banqueting Hall below.

In the Chapel, mass would have been said in Latin, and the chaplain acted as tutor to the children also. The builder of Blarney Castle, Cormac Laidir MacCarthy, was a generous patron of the church and he built five churches, including Kilcrea Abbey where he was buried, which became the traditional burial place for the lords of Blarney.

I love how well-preserved the stone door and window frames remain.

The information boards tell us that feasting was part of the way of life at the time and a meal was combined with a night’s entertainment as part of the social life of the Castle. A series of courses would be served, with fish eggs, fowl and roast meat, all highly spiced to keep them fresh. Alcohol served included mead, beer, wine and whiskey. The high ranks sat near the Lord at the top of the table “above the salt” and others sat “below the salt.” As the meal progressed the Chieftain’s Bard would play his harp and sing songs celebrating the prowess of the MacCarthy clan.

The bell-tower, midway along the top of the eastern battlements. The north pilaster supporting the arch is built on top of a chimneystack that served the fireplaces in the Great Hall and the Banqueting Hall.

The Historic Houses of Ireland website tells us that in former times visitors were lowered over the parapet to kiss ‘The Stone’ while gripped firmly by the ankles. The process has become easier and safer today though one still has to lean very far back to kiss the stone, head dangling downward. It has been a popular tourist destination since the days of Queen Victoria. The keep and Blarney stone remains, “despite the osculatory attrition of the eponymous stone by thousands of tourists every year” as Burke’s Peerage tells us with verve! (107th Edition (2003) page 865)

Photograph dated around 1897, National Library of Ireland Creative Commons on flickr.
photo by Chris Hill, 2015, Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool.
Winston Churchill at Blarney Stone, 1912.
Photograph from National Library of Ireland Creative Commons.

One can see from the window embrasures how thick the castle walls are. There are passageways within the walls.

Passageways within the thick walls of the castle.

Some passageways lead to ancilliary rooms, sometimes to a garderobe or “bathroom.”

James St. John Jeffereyes (1734-1780) inherited Blarney estate at the age of six. St. John Jeffereyes was an “improving” landlord who sought to aid the welfare of his tenants and maximise profits from his estates. He took an interest in the linen trade developing in County Cork, which processed locally grown flax into linen. St. John Jeffereyes created a village near Blarney Castle in 1765 with a linen mill, bleach mill, weavers’ cottages and a bleach green. The River Martin powered the mills. The rise of cotton, however, proved the downfall of the production of linen. In 1824, Martin Mahon moved his woollen manufacturing business to a former cotton mill in Blarney, to develop Blarney Woollen Mills. James St. John also, with three other landed gentlemen, established the Tonson Warren bank in Cork city (1768). It was a prominent institution in Cork until its failure in 1784, after Jeffereyes’s death.

James St. John Jeffereyes first married Elizabeth Cosby (1721-1788). We came across her when we visited Stradbally in County Laois, which is still owned by the Cosby family. Her father was William Cosby (1690-1736), who was Governor of New York. She had been previously married to Augustus Fitzroy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, who died in 1741. James St. John and Elizabeth’s daughter Lucia served as Maid of Honour to Queen Charlotte, wife of King George III.

James St. John Jeffereyes married secondly Arabella Fitzgibbon, sister of the 1st Earl of Clare, John Fitzgibbon (1748-1802) (who, by the way, married the daughter of Richard Chapell Whaley, who had the house on St. Stephen’s Green built which now houses the Museum of Literature Ireland (MOLI) – see my entry for MOLI on https://irishhistorichouses.com/2020/06/06/covid-19-lockdown-20km-limits-and-places-to-visit-in-dublin/. He was the Lord Chancellor of Ireland who forced the Act of Union through parliament). With Arabella, James had a son and heir, George Jeffereyes (1768-1841).

James’s son George Jeffereyes (1768-1841) married Anne, daughter of the Right Hon. David la Touche of Marlay, the richest man in Ireland and head of the banking dynasty. George’s sisters also married well: Marianne married George Frederick Nugent, 7th Earl of Westmeath; Albinia married Colonel Stephen Francis William Fremantle; and Emilia married Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall.

The Court was destroyed by fire in 1820. Instead of rebuilding, George Jeffereyes and his family moved to Inishera House in West Cork. [7] George and Anne’s son St. John Jeffereyes (1798-1862) inherited Blarney. He had a son, also St. John, who lived in Paris and died in 1898. The estate passed to St. John’s sister Louisa, who married George Colthurst (1824-1878), 5th Baronet Colthurst, of Ardum, Co. Cork. He was a man of property, with another large estate at Ballyvourney near the border with County Kerry, along with Lucan House in County Dublin (currently the Italian ambassador’s residence in Ireland). Blarney remains in the hands of the Colthurst family. Blarney House was built for Louisa and George Colthurst, in 1874.

Blarney House, built for George Colthurst (1824-1878), 5th Baronet Colthurst and his wife Louisa Jeffereyes in 1874, as seen from the top of Blarney Castle.

George Colthurst’s maternal grandmother was Emily La Touche, daughter of David La Touche and Elizabeth Marlay, and paternal grandmother was Emily La Touche’s sister Harriet. Their sister Anne had married George Charles Jeffereyes, Louisa’s grandmother, so Louisa and George were second cousins.

Randall MacDonald tells us in his book The Lost Houses of Ireland. A chronicle of great houses and the families who lived in them:

p. 29 “The Colthursts had arrived in Ireland from Yorkshire towards the end of Elizabeth I’s reign and settled in Cork. Christopher Colthurst was murdered by the rebels in 1641 near Macroom in County Cork. By the 1730s, they were High Sheriffs of County Cork, and in 1744 John Colthurst, who had married the daughter of the 1st Earl of Kerry, Lady Charlotte Fitzmaurice, was created a baronet. It would be uncharitable to suggest that it was his father-in-law’s influence that procured him this advancement. He was Member of Parliament for Doneraile from 1751 (and afterwards for Youghal and Castle Martyr). His son Sir John Colthurst, the 2nd Baronet, was killed in a duel with Dominick Trant in 1787 and the title passed to his brother (MP for Johnstown, Co Longford and then for Castle Martyr until 1795), who married Harriet, daughter of the Right Hon. David la Touche. Sir Nicholas Colthurst, the 4th Baronet, was the MP for the city of Cork from 1812-1829.

It was his son, Sir George Colthurst, the 5th Baronet, who married Louisa Jefferyes of Blarney Castle in 1846.” [8]

The 9th Baronet Colthurst, Richard La Touche Colthurst (1928-2003) married Janet Georgina Wilson Wright, from Coolcarrigan in County Kildare, another section 482 property [ https://irishhistorichouses.com/2020/05/31/coolcarrigan-house-and-gardens-coill-dubh-naas-county-kildare/ ]. Their son is the current owner of Blarney Castle and House.

We headed for the coffee shop after our perusal of the Castle. In the yard they have beautiful barrell vaulted wagons, and in the cafe, lovely old travel advertisements.

Individual stables have been made into “snugs” for snacks.

The seventy acres of gardens offer various landscapes. The bawn contains a Poison Garden, or medicinal garden, where various medicinal plants are grown, including poisons such as wolfsbane, ricin, mandrake, opium and cannabis.

The bawn wall and poison garden.

The Rock Close is the garden that was developed by the Jefferyes in the 1750s and echoes Ireland’s ancient past with giant rock formations and hints of Druidic culture. Water running through adds to the beauty, with a lovely waterfall.

We were impressed by the bamboo maze.

My favourite area is the Fern Garden, which feels prehistoric and is extremely picturesque, with raised wooden walkways. We headed to Blarney House, which will be my next entry!

The Fern Garden, which includes lovely wooden walkways.

[1] p. 108. Ohlmeyer, Jane. Making Ireland English: The Irish Aristocracy in the 17th Century.

[2] See Ó Siochrú, Micheál’s entry in the Dictionary of Irish Biography: https://www.dib.ie/biography/maccarthy-donough-a5129

[3] Bence-Jones, Mark. A Guide to Irish Country Houses (originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988 Constable and Company Ltd, London.

[4] G.E. Cokayne; with Vicary Gibbs, H.A. Doubleday, Geoffrey H. White, Duncan Warrand and Lord Howard de Walden, editors, The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant, new ed., 13 volumes in 14 (1910-1959; reprint in 6 volumes, Gloucester, U.K.: Alan Sutton Publishing, 2000), volume III, page 216. Quoted on the website The Peerage.com. See also https://www.dib.ie/biography/maccarthy-donogh-a5128

[5] https://www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Blarney%20House

[6] https://landedestates.ie/family/2877

[7] see the timeline in James Lyttelton’s Blarney Castle, An Irish Towerhouse.

[8] MacDonnell, Randal. The Lost Houses of Ireland. A chronicle of great houses and the families who lived in them. Weidenfeld and Nicolson. London, 2002.

Places to Visit and Stay in County Cork, Munster

On the map above:

blue: places to visit that are not section 482

purple: section 482 properties

red: accommodation

yellow: less expensive accommodation for two

orange: “whole house rental” i.e. those properties that are only for large group accommodations or weddings, e.g. 10 or more people.

green: gardens to visit

grey: ruins

For places to stay, I have made a rough estimate of prices at time of publication:

€ = up to approximately €150 per night for two people sharing (in yellow on map);

€€ – up to approx €250 per night for two;

€€€ – over €250 per night for two.

Munster’s counties are Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford.

Below, I have typed accommodation in red and section 482 properties in purple.

For a full listing of accommodation in big houses in Ireland, see my accommodation page: https://irishhistorichouses.com/accommodation/

Cork:

1. Annes Grove Gardens, County Cork – OPW

2. Ashton Grove, Ballingohig, Knockraha, Co. Cork – section 482

3. Ballymaloe House, Cloyne, County Cork

4. Ballynatray, Youghal, County Cork (also Waterford) – section 482

5. Bantry House & Garden, Bantry, Co. Cork – section 482

6. Barryscourt Castle, County Cork – OPW

7. Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork

8. Blarney Castle & Rock Close, Blarney, Co. Cork – section 482

9. Blarney House & Gardens, Blarney, Co. Cork – section 482

10. Brideweir House, Conna, Co. Cork – section 482

11. Burton Park, Churchtown, Mallow, Co. Cork – section 482

12. Creagh House, Main Street, Doneraile, Co. Cork – section 482

13. Desmond Castle, Kinsale, County Cork – OPW

14. Doneraile Court, County Cork – OPW

15. Drishane Castle & Gardens, Drishanemore, Millstreet Town, Co. Cork – section 482

16. Drishane House, Castletownshend, Co. Cork – section 482

17. Dún Na Séad Castle, Baltimore, Co. Cork – section 482

18. Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens – OPW

19. Garrettstown House, Garrettstown, Kinsale, Co. Cork – section 482

20. Fenns Quay, 4 & 5 Sheares Street, Cork – section 482

21. Ilnacullin, Garanish Island, County Cork – OPW

22. Inis Beg gardens, Baltimore, County Cork

23. Kilcascan Castle, Ballineen, Co. Cork – section 482

24. Kilshannig House, Rathcormac, Co. Cork – section 482

25. Liss Ard Sky Garden, County Cork

26. Riverstown House, Riverstown, Glanmire, Co. Cork – section 482

27. Woodford Bourne Warehouse, Sheares Street, Cork – section 482

Places to stay, County Cork

1. Annes Grove (formerly Ballyhemock or Ballyhimmock), Castletownroche, Co Cork – gate lodge accommodation €€

2. Aspen House, Dromgarriff Estate, Glengarriff, Cork, Ireland (sleeps 6)

3. Ballinacurra House, County Cork – coach house, estate cottages, and whole house rental

4. Ballinterry House, Rathcormac, Co Cork – accommodation 

5. Ballymacmoy, Killavullen, Co Cork – coach house airbnb €

6. Ballymaloe, Cloyne, Co Cork – accommodation €€

7. Ballynatray, Youghal, Co Cork, holiday cottages and whole house rental

8. Ballyvolane, Castlelyons, Co Cork – €€€

9. Bantry House & Garden, Bantry, Co. Cork€€

10. Blairscove House, County Cork € (see whole house accommodation)

11. Castlemartyr, Co Cork – hotel €€€

12. Castle Townshend, Co Cork – accommodation, €

13. Clifford House, Clifford, Co Cork – airbnb

14. Drishane House whole house rental and holiday cottages

15. Eccles Hotel, Glengarriff, Co Cork €€

16. Elizabeth Fort Parade Houses, County Cork € for 3

17. Farran House, County Cork, whole house rental € for 5-8 for one week

18. Galley Head Lighthouse Keepers House, County Cork € for 3-4

19. Coach House Apartments, Glebe Country House, Ballinadee Bandon County Cork €

20. Glenlohane cottage, Kanturk, Cork – accommodation €€ in house; Pink Cottage € for 3-5 for one week

21. Glenville Park, Glenville, County Cork (previously known as The Manor and as Mount Pleasant) – accommodation €

22. Inis Beg estate, Baltimore, County Cork

23. Killee Cottage, Mitchelstown, County Cork €€

24. Kilmahon House, County Cork €€

25. Kilshannig, County Cork holiday accommodation

26. Liss Ard Estate, County Cork

27. Longueville, Mallow, Co Cork – Blue Book accommodation (2-29 people), €€€

28. Lough Ine House and Lodge, Skibbereen, County Corkwhole house €€€ for two, € for 5-8; or gate lodge €

29. The Courtyard, Mallow, County Cork €

30.  Maryborough hotel, Douglas, County Cork €€ 

31. Old Bank Townhouse, Kinsale, County Cork

32. Orchard Cottage, Dunowen House, Co Cork (sleeps 5)

33. Perryville, Kinsale, Co Cork – hotel €€ 

34. Rincolisky Castle, Whitehall, co Cork – renovated, whole house.  €€€ for 2, € for 5

35. Seaview House Hotel (formerly Ballylickey House), County Cork €€

36.  Southernmost House, Cape Clear Island, County Cork €

37. Springfort Hall, Mallow, Co cork – hotel

38. Vienna Woods Hotel (formerly Lota Lodge), Glanmire, Co Cork €

39. Willowhill, Carrigaline, County Cork – airbnb €

Whole House Accommodation, County Cork

1. Ballinacurra House, County Cork – coach house, estate cottages, and whole house rental

2. Ballynatray, Youghal, Co Cork, holiday cottages and whole house rental

3. Barnabrow, Cloyne, Co Cork – accommodation, whole house (22 bedrooms)

4. Blackwater Castle (Castle Widenham, or Blackwater Valley Castle) Castletownroache, Co Corkwhole house

5. Blairscove House, County Cork – weddings

6. Careysville (Ballymacpatrick Castle), Clondulane, Fermoy, Co.Cork, P61 VF53 – accommodation (whole house accommodation 11 guests)

7. Drishane House whole house rental and holiday cottages – see above

8. Dunowen House, Co Cork – Blue Book Accommodation, whole house

9. Longueville, Mallow, Co Cork – Blue Book accommodation, whole house

Cork:

1. Annes Grove Gardens, County Cork – OPW

Annes Grove County Cork 1981, photograph from Dublin City Library and Archive [1]

See my OPW write-up. https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/01/19/office-of-public-works-properties-munster/

2. Ashton Grove, Ballingohig, Knockraha, Co. Cork – section 482

contact: Gerald McGreal
Tel: 087-2400831
Open: Feb 10-13, 19-27, Mar 10- 13, May 5-8, 19-22, 26-29, June 9-12, 23-26, July 21-24, Aug 13-21, 25-28, Sept 1-4, 22-25, 8am-12 noon

Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €3 

Open: Feb 10-13, 19-27, Mar 10- 13, May 5-8, 19-22, 26-29, June 9-12, 23-26, July 21-24, Aug 13-21, 25-28, Sept 1-4, 22-25, 8am-12 noon

Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €3 

The property has a facebook page and a contact email on it:

ashtongrovegarden@gmail.com

https://www.facebook.com/ashtongrovegardens/

The Landed Estates database has an entry for Ashton Grove:

This house is marked Ashton Grove on the first Ordnance Surve map. John Cotter was the proprietor of Ashton, Cork, in 1814 and T. Cleary of Ballingohig in 1837. Thomas J. Cleary held the property from Henry Braddell at the time of Griffith’s Valuation when the buildings were valued at £22. Cleary held a cornmill from Braddell in the townland of Kilrussane. James Fitzgerald held 122 acres of untenanted land and buildings valued at £26+ in 1906.” [2]

Under the Braddell family, the landed estates database tells us:

This family appear to be descended from the Reverend Henry Braddell of Raheengraney, county Wicklow. Henry Braddell held land in the parish of Mallow, county Cork, from at least the early 19th century. Henry Braddell may have been agent to the Earl of Listowel. His nephew John Waller Braddell certainly fulfilled this role in the 1850s and early 1860s until he was murdered in 1863. At the time of Griffith’s Valuation Matthew Braddle held land in the parish of Mourneabbey, barony of Barretts, and Henry Braddle held land in the parishes of Mallow, barony of Fermoy, Castlelyons and Knockmourne, barony of Condons and Clangibbon, Killaspugmullane, barony of Barrymore, county Cork. In the 1870s Henry Braddell of Modelligo, Fermoy, owned 1,872 acres in county Cork.

and about the Cleary family:

Thomas J. Cleary held land in the parish of Killaspugmullane, barony of Barrymore, county Cork, at the time of Griffith’s Valuation. In January 1866 the estate of John Thomas Clery at Ashton Grove, Ballingohig, barony of Barrymore, was advertised for sale. His brother Henry Clery was selling his share of Ashton Grove in June 1866. Under tenure in this sale rental a detailed history of the Clerys’ land holding is given. By a fee farm grant dated December 1850 Henry Braddell granted the lands of Kilrossane and Ballingohig to Thomas John Clery, who by his will dated 6 February 1851 left his property divided between his six sons, John Thomas, Henry, Charles, William, George and Richard. In the 1870s William Henry Cleary of Cork owned 2,534 acres in the county.

An article published on June 2nd 2013 in the Irish Examiner by Peter Dowdall gives a wonderful description of the garden. He writes:

From tiny little details, such as a glimpse of a marble seat in the distance through an accidental gap in a hedge, to a perfectly-positioned specimen tree, this garden needs senses on high alert.

If I am to be honest, I was expecting a garden recreated by the book and with a certain degree of interest from the owner. What I discovered was a garden being recreated by a man who is now thinking of the future generations and recreating this garden with a passionate attention to detail. Every plant that goes in is carefully considered; every stone and brick that went into creating an orangery from a derelict pig shed and a belfry from a cowshed were reused from the estate. Fallen slates, which weren’t good enough to use on buildings, create an edge around the rose beds.

What I love about the place is that the rule book is not evident, trial and error is the order of the day, which to me is real gardening. Except when it comes to the meticulous planning of the box hedges in the potager and the Horological Maze, which at this stage is on its third planting because the original Taxus (yew) failed due to a blight which struck again a few years later. The maze was replanted using Lonicera and is thriving, though it will be a few years before it is truly at its best…I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend a Sunday than roaming through the ‘garden rooms’ here.

Looking down on this garden, which is next to the maze, from an elevated platform you could imagine yourself in the south of France, except for the single-figure temperatures. Other features to admire include the fantastic Anglo-Chinese Regency-style bridge, constructed by the owner’s brother, and the pergola, which has been planted with several climbers including Jasminum, Laburnum, David Austin roses, Wisteria and Passiflora.

However, no account of a visit to this garden is complete without mentioning the Horological Maze.

What, I hear you ask is a Horological Maze? Well it’s a design centred on a French mantle clock, which is surrounded by interlocking cog-wheels, pinions and coil springs, all inspired by the workings of a typical mechanism. It also reflects the owner’s interest in horology and provides a balance in its garden sculpture to the turret clock presiding over the courtyard.

The owner took his inspiration for this creation from visits to Blenheim Palace and Weston Park in England, Shanagarry and Faithlegg in Ireland, and the Summer Palace in Vienna.” [3]

3. Ballymaloe House, Cloyne, County Cork

www.ballymaloe.ie

Ballymaloe House, 2017, photograph for Failte Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. [4]

The website tells us:

Ballymaloe House is a family run Country House Hotel and restaurant on 300 acres of farmland located in beautiful East Cork countryside. Internationally recognised as the birthplace of Modern Irish Cuisine, Ballymaloe House offers you the very best of Irish hospitality and seasonal locally sourced or homegrown food.
A unique Irish Country House experience.”

Ballymaloe House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. [5]

Mark Bence-Jones writes in A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

p. 24. “[Boyle, Cork and Orrery, E/PB; Corker sub. Corcor/LGI1912] A castle built towards the end of C16 by the FitzGeralds of Imokilly, enlarged 1602 by Sir John FitzEdmund FitzGerald [b. 1555]; confiscated by Cromwell; occupied for a period after the Restoration by William Penn [1644-1718], of Pennsylvania, when he was managing his father’s estate at Shanagarry, nearby; subsequently occupied by 1st Earl of Orrery [Roger Boyle (1621-1679)], presumably while he was repairing and improving his nearby seat of Castle Martyr; acquired towards end of C17 by Lt-Col Edward Corker; sold by him ante his death 1734 to Hugh Lumley, who added some new buildings to the castle some time ante 1750. As a result of Lumley’s additions, Ballymaloe is now predominantly early C18 in character; consisting of a plain two storey six bay range with an old tower built into one end of it, and a three storey gable-ended range at right angles to the two storey range, and joined to it by a return; forming a house on a “L”- plan. Some of the windows have thick early C18 glazing-bars. A staircase with thin turned balusters rises from the inner end of the hall, which has a ceiling with simple Adamesque decoration. The large room to the right of the hall has simple Adamesque frieze. Ca 1800, Ballymaloe was the residence of the Penn Gaskell family, who were descended from William Penn. In 1814, it was the residence of William Abbott. In 1837, it was owned by a Mr Forster; in 1908, it was occupied by William Litchfield. Until ca 1947, it was the home of Mr and Mrs J.M. Simpson; since then, it has been the home of Mr and Mrs Ivan Allen.” [6]

Ballymaloe House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. (see [5])

The Ballymaloe website elaborates the history:

Ballymaloe was a castle of the Imokilly Geraldines. Richard FitzMaurice FitzGerald was a son of the Knight of Kerry, who was appointed as Seneschal, or governor, of the area by the Earl of Desmond in 1440. The original castle was probably built by him shortly after that time. By the time of the Desmond rebellion, the occupant was John FitzEdmund FitzGerald who was known as ‘the Queen’s John FitzEdmond’ to distinguish him from the Seneschal of the same name who was a leader of the Insurrection and owned nearby Castlemartyr.

John FitzEdmund of Ballymaloe castle was an illegitimate son of Edmund by Honor Ni Donagh, ‘a woman of Muskerry’ and was well up in the list of efficient contrivers and gatherers of land of his time. John FitzEdmund appointed himself Sheriff of Cork in 1570 and during the Desmond rising he ‘dyd hang his (legitimate) brother James FitzEdmund’ in 1582. John refused to join O’Neill in 1599 and his lands were devastated, but he survived to be knighted by Mountjoy at Cloyne for his faithfulness in 1602.

Despite their differences, the close ties to the Geraldines were apparent when John FitzEdmund’s son, Edmund, was married to Honora, widow of his namesake, the late Seneschal. In 1611 this Edmund died and she was a widow again so old Sir John leased her the lands at a nominal rent before he died the following year aged 85.

A daughter of her rebellious father, she housed the homeless friars at Ballymaloe. Her son John moved to Ballymaloe where he died in 1640.

By the time of the Confederate War in 1641, the owner was her grandson, another Edmund and he lost the lands for taking the ‘rebel’ side. They passed to Broghill, (Roger Boyle, son of the Earl of Cork; newly-created Earl of Orrery, but living on a narrow edge of survival since he had escaped a charge of treason in London. Broghill lived at Ballymaloe after his enforced retirement as President of the court of Munster in 1672 before making his last home at Castlemartyr.

Ballymaloe House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. (see [5])

By the middle of the 18th Century, the occupier was Abraham Forster, and early in the 19th century, his grandson demolished parts of the old castle. It was he who largely build the house into its present form. Sometime later it passed to the Litchfield’s, and in 1924 Simpson, a nephew of the latter family came into possession. Mr. Simpson sold the house and farm to Myrtle and Ivan Allen in 1948 and it remains owned by the Allen family to this day.

Ballymaloe House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. (see [5])

Myrtle and Ivan Allen bought Ballymaloe in 1948 from the Simpson family. The Simpsons were known in the area for their parties and Myrtle and Ivan had, in fact, met at Ballycotton Lifeboat fundraising dinner at Ballymaloe a few years previously. Ivan had wide farming interests, growing tomatoes and cucumbers in glasshouses and mushrooms in dark wooden sheds at nearby Kinoith as well as managing the orchards there.

However, Ivan longed for a mixed farm and when Ballymaloe came up for sale he decided to buy it. Myrtle and Ivan spent the next sixteen years farming and bringing up their children. The farm was a success producing milk, butter, cream, eggs, home raised pork and veal as well as fruit and vegetables. Myrtle became highly knowledgeable about cooking their produce and began writing a cookery column in the Irish Farmers Journal.

In 1964, Myrtle, encouraged by Ivan, decided to open Ballymaloe as a restaurant. The children were growing up and she could see a different future ahead of her:

“On a winter’s day I sat by the fire alone and wondered what I would do in this big house when they were all grown up – Then I thought about a restaurant.”

Her aim was to emulate the best Irish Country House cookery.  Myrtle and Ivan then placed an advert in the Cork Examiner: Dine in a Historic Country House. Open Tuesday to Saturday. Booking essential. Phone Cloyne 16.

So Myrtle scrubbed down the kitchen table, and with the help of two local women she began. They cooked on an Aga at first and she was helped front of house by Ivan and their daughter Wendy. Their shepherd Joe Cronin ran the bar.

The food was good and the restaurant flourished. They cooked using their own produce- unpasteurised milk and cream, veal, pork, homemade sausages and black puddings, herbs, fruit and vegetables. Ivan went to Ballycotton every day for the fresh catch. Local beef and lamb came from Mr.Cuddigan, the butcher in Cloyne. Myrtle also encouraged local farmers’ wives to bring in their surplus produce and blackberries, elderflowers and watercress were brought in by children for pocket money.

Although times have changed at Ballymaloe, the essential spirit of the place is rooted in these improvised beginnings and in the relationship of the farm to the table which underlies the elegance of Irish Country House cooking.

Ballymaloe House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. (see [5])

The National Inventory describes it: “Detached six-bay two-storey country house, built c. 1780, with four stories to rear (north) elevation, three bays to rear forming central projection and having single-storey additions to rear. Tower house, c.1450, incorporated into west elevation and taller L-plan three-storey house c. 1730 to east, five-bay two-storey hipped-roofed block with slightly projecting east bay to north-east corner…The fascinating multiphase construction is evident in the variety of styles and blocks which form the house. Formerly the seat of the FitzGeralds of Imokilly, it was enlarged by Sir John FitzEdmund FitzGerald. It was occupied at one time by William Penn of Pennsylvania and by First Earl of Ornery. Its impressive size is enhanced by fine proportions and by the retention of various timber sliding sash windows. The central doorcase and large petal fanlight form the main artistic focus and enhance the impressive and symmetrical façade. The other blocks add tremendous context. The tower house incorporated into the main house is a very notable archaeological feature. The house retains much early fabric and forms a group with related outbuildings and gate lodge.” (see [5])

Ballymaloe House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. (see [5])
Ballymaloe House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. (see [5])
Ballymaloe House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. (see [5])
Ballymaloe House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. (see [5])
Ballymaloe House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. (see [5])

4. Ballynatray, Youghal, County Cork (also Waterford)

See my entry www.irishhistorichouses.com/2022/05/26/places-to-visit-and-stay-in-munster-county-waterford/

5. Bantry House & Garden, Bantry, Co. Cork – section 482

Bantry House, County Cork, photograph 1989 from the National Library, flickr constant commons.
Bantry House, County Cork, photograph by Chris Hill, 2016 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. (see [4]) “Many more substantial changes were made in 1845 by Richard, Viscount Berehaven (1800-67), the son of the first Earl of Bantry, a passionate art collector …To accommodate his new furnishings, the Viscount built a fourteen bay block to the rear of the old house consisting of a six-bay centre of two storeys over a basement flanked by four-storey bow end wings. No doubt inspired by the grand baroque palaces of Germany, he gave the house a sense of architectural unity by lining the walls with giant red brick pilasters with Coade-stone Corinthian capitals, the intervening spaces consisting of grey stucco and the parapet adorned with an attractive stone balustrade. He also lay out the Italianate gardens, including the magnificent terraces on the hillside behind the house, most of which was undertaken after he had succeeded his father as the second Earl of Bantry in 1851.”

contact: Julie Shelswell-White
Tel: 087- 9811149
www.bantryhouse.com
Open: Apr 1-Oct 31, 10am-5pm
Fee: adult €14, OAP/student €11.50, child €5, groups over 8-20, €8 and groups of 21 or more €9

Write-up coming soon!

6. Barryscourt Castle, County Cork – OPW

See my OPW write-up. https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/01/19/office-of-public-works-properties-munster/

Barryscourt Castle by Julia Delio, flickr constant commons, August 2009.

7. Blackrock Castle Observatory, Cork

Blackrock Castle, Cork, from the National Library of Ireland, flickr constant commons.

The Archiseek website tells us:

Blackrock Castle lies on the shore of the river Lee, in the city of Cork, in County Cork in Ireland. 

The circular watchtower of Blackrock Castle was built in 1604, on the site of an earlier fort. With its 2.2 meter thick walls, it was designed to withstand cannon fire. It was built to defend the city against attacks from pirates and the Spanish, who had landed at Kinsale 3 years earlier. But it also served to protect the English Lord Deputy Mountjoy against the citizens of Cork, who had been slow to acknowledge King James I. 

Later Blackrock Castle was used by the Mayors of Cork for the Admiralty Court. Also known as the Maritime Court, it exercised jurisdiction over all maritime caes and offences. 

In 1827 the castle was gutted by fire following the annual Corporation banquet. Two years later, in 1829, it was rebuilt and enlarged in Gothic Revival style. 

Later it was used as a meeting place, a private residence, a restaurant and commercial offices before it was acquired by the Cork City Council in 2001. At present the castle houses an astronomy center/museum especially aimed at children.” [7]

Blackrock Castle and the River Lee, County Cork 1796, photograph courtesy of National Gallery of Ireland.

8. Blarney Castle & Rock Close, Blarney, Co. Cork – section 482

See my entry https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/09/23/blarney-castle-rock-close-blarney-co-cork/

contact: Charles Colthurst
Tel: 021-4385252
www.blarneycastle.ie
Open dates in 2022: all year except Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, Jan-Feb, Nov-Dec, 9am-4pm, Mar-Oct, 9am-5pm

Fee: adult €18, OAP/student €15, child €10, family and season passes

Kissing the Blarney Stone, County Cork, photograph from the National Library of Ireland, flickr constant commons.
Kissing the Blarney Stone, around 1897, photograph from National Library of Ireland, flickr constant commons.
The Blarney Stone, Blarney Castle, Ireland’s Content Pool (see [4])
Blarney Castle, March 2003.

9. Blarney House & Gardens, Blarney, Co. Cork – section 482

Blarney House, County Cork, photograph from National Library of Ireland, flickr constant commons.

contact: Charles Colthurst
Tel 021-4385252
www.blarneycastle.ie
Open: June 1-Aug 31, Mon-Sat, National Heritage Week, Aug 13-21, 10am-2pm Fee: adult €10, OAP/student €7, concession joint with castle

See my entry https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/09/30/blarney-house-gardens-blarney-co-cork/

10. Brideweir House, Conna, Co. Cork – section 482

contact: Ronan Fox
Tel: 025-36386

www.brideweir.ie
Open: Jan 1-Dec 24, 11am-4pm
Fee: adult €10, OAP/student €5, OAP free

Brideweir House, County Cork, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The website tells us: “Every house has its tales to tell and Brideweir House in Conna, Co Cork is no exception. In the year  1822  famine had hit Ireland. In Conna the local Reverend Ludlow Tonson chaired a meeting of the parish on 29th July in favour of constructing a bridge over the River Bride. 

Its purpose was “to facilitate communications in the area, and to offer employment”. A petition was sent to Dublin Castle and the rest, as they say, is history. The bridge still has pride of place today over the River Bride. 

But it’s safe to say that the reverend Tonson must have had a vested interest in seeing the bridge built. It was to be just a stone’s throw from the location of his two storey over basement rectory, Brideweir House, built in 1822, the same year he helped raise the petition

The Reverend’s house, completed for the princely sum of £923 (thanks to a gift and a grant, both of £300 from the Board of First Fruits), was situated on a glebe of seven acres and boasted a fine coach house and stables, all still in existence today.

11. Burton Park, Churchtown, Mallow, Co. Cork – section 482

contact: Jess Angland
Tel: 022-59955
www.slieile.ie 

Open dates in 2022: May 8-July 7, Mon-Sat, closed Bank Holidays, Aug 13-21, 11am-3pm

Fee: adult/child/OAP/student €9

Burton Park, County Cork, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The website tells us:

Slí Eile exists to promote mental health recovery and to support people to achieve lives that are enjoyable, satisfying and authentic.

In the Irish language, slí eile means ‘another way’ and Slí Eile was set up to provide an alternative recovery option for those who might otherwise have to spend time in psychiatric hospital.

Mark Bence-Jones writes in  A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

p. 50. “(Perceval, Egmont, E/PB; Ryan-Purcell/IFR) Originally a fine cut-stone house built in several stages between ca 1665 and 1686 for Sir John Perceval, 1st Bt, and his two sons, Sir Philip, 2nd Bt and Sir John, 3rd Bt; designed by Captain William Kenn, his son Benjamin, and Thomas Smith. Of two storeys over a basement, with a dormered attic; 7 bay front, with unusually tall windows. The roof was surmounted by a row of tall chimneys and a lantern with a copper ball on top of it. The house stood within a series of walled enclosures, with turrets at the outer corners. Like his brother, the 3rd Bt died young, 1686, leaving several infant sons, one of whom eventually became 1st Earl of Egmont [John Perceval (1683-1748)]. In 1690 the house was burnt by James II’s troops as they retreated south after the Battle of the Boyne. A new two storey house was built by the Earl of Egmont in the late-Georgian period; it was subsequently acquired by the Purcell family, who refaced it in Victorian cement and gave it a high roof with curvilinear dormer-gables. Hall with staircase rising round it; stairs of wood, with thin balusters. Pedimented Georgian doorcases put in later. Large drawing room with ceiling of delicate late-Georgian plasterwork; walls decorated in the Louis Seize style. Victorian dining room. Castellated entrance gateway, from which a straight avenue of trees leads up to the house.” 

12. Creagh House, Main Street, Doneraile, Co. Cork – section 482

contact: Michael O’Sullivan
Tel: 022-24433
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: April-Sept
Public tours of house all year

Creagh House, County Cork, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Mark Bence-Jones writes in  A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

p. 94. “(Becher/IFR; Wrixon -Becher, Bt/PB; Harold-Barry/IFR) A pleasant Regency house of two storeys over a basement, built ca 1820. Entrance front with a single deep semicircular bow and one bay; fanlighted doorway beneath trellised porch; a second bow is said to have been intended, but never built. Side elevation fo three bays and a three sided bow. Eaved roof.  

Curving staircase, with slender wooden balusters; drawing room extending into the semi-circular bow, dining room in the three-sided bow.  Delightful gardens laid out by the present owner, Mr. P.J. Harold-Barry, extending to the shore of the estuary and along the banks of a mill-race and millpoint, with the ruined mill providing a folly-like “object.” “

13. Desmond Castle, Kinsale, County Cork – OPW

See my OPW write-up. https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/01/19/office-of-public-works-properties-munster/

14. Doneraile Court, County Cork – OPW

Doneraile Court, County Cork, August 2020.

See my OPW write-up. https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/01/19/office-of-public-works-properties-munster/

15. Drishane Castle & Gardens, Drishanemore, Millstreet Town, Co. Cork – section 482

contact: Thomas Duggan
Tel: 087-2464878, 029-71008
www.millstreet.ie
Open: June 1-Sept 30, Mon-Sat, (Jan-May, Oct-Dec Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm by appointment only) National Heritage Week, Aug 13-21, 9am-5pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/student free, child free when accompanied by adult.

Drishane Castle, County Cork, photograph from National Library of Ireland, flickr constant commons.

Mark Bence-Jones writes in A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

p. 108. “(Wallis/IFR) A three storey C18 house built alongside the keep of a C15 castle of the MacCarthys by the Wallises, castellated and extended between 1845 and 1860. Battlemented parapet; entrance front with square corner-towers and central porch tower – with presumably later battlemented porte-cochere built onto its front – prolonged by a single-storey range joining it to a two storey wing or pavilion with Irish battlemented corner towers. Adjoining front with three sided bow and mullioned windows, prolonged by a slightly lower wing ending in a square tower, joined by high battlemented walls to the old keep, which stands on a mound at this corner of the house. Two storey hall with gallery; Goergian doorcases with entablatures. Two drawing rooms opening into each other with an arch. The old keep was completely restored some time post 1879 by Lady Beaumont, mother of Major H.A.B. Wallis, the last member of the family to live at Drishane, which was sold 1908 by order of the court of Chancery. It was re-sold a year later to the Sisters of the Infant Jesus, who opened a boarding school and domestic economy school here.” 

16. Drishane House, Castletownshend, Co. Cork – section 482

Drishane House, County Cork.

See my write-up:

https://irishhistorichouses.com/2021/03/07/drishane-house-castletownshend-co-cork/
Contact: Thomas Somerville
Tel: 028-36126, 083-574589
www.drishane.com
Open: May 1-31, Aug 13-21, Oct 2-21, 11am-3pm Fee: adult €10, OAP €8, student/child €6

17. Dún Na Séad Castle, Baltimore, Co. Cork – section 482

contact: Donna O’Driscoll
Tel: 087-7374592
www.baltimorecastle.ie
Open: March 1-Oct 31, 11am -6pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student €5, children under 12 free

Baltimore Castle, County Cork, August 2020.
Baltimore Castle, County Cork, August 2020.

The website tells us:”Dunasead Castle, also known as Dún a Séad, Dunashad or Baltimore Castle, lies in the town of Baltimore in Cork, in County Cork in Ireland. 

The site of Dunasead Castle, a rocky cliff above Baltimore Harbour, has been fortified since a very long time. The first fortification was maybe a ringfort. After that an Anglo-Norman castle was built here in 1215. In 1305 that castle was taken and destroyed by the MacCarthys. Subsequently the O’Driscolls took possession of the site and built a castle. 

The O’Driscolls were constantly under pressure from encroachments by Anglo-Norman settlers and rival Gaelic clans on their territory and trade interests, which resulted in the castle being attacked and destroyed numerous times in the following centuries. 

The present Dunasead Castle was built in the 1620’s by the O’Driscolls. In 1631 the castle narrowly escaped an attack by a band of pirates from Algiers, who landed in Baltimore and took 107 captives to a life of slavery in North Africa. 

In the 1640’s it was surrendered to Oliver Cromwell’s forces and passed to the Coppingers. In 1642 the O’Driscolls fruitlessly attempted to recover the castle by force. In the 1690’s the Coppingers were forfeited. After the 17th century the castle fell to ruin

Between 1997 and 2005 the ruined castle was rebuilt, at first as a private residence. At present it is a small museum.”

Baltimore Castle, County Cork, August 2020.
Worn steps at Baltimore Castle, County Cork, August 2020.

18. Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens – OPW

maintained by the Irish Heritage Trust, now OPW.

See my entry:

https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/01/19/office-of-public-works-properties-munster/

Fota House, County Cork, August 2020.

19. Garrettstown House, Garrettstown, Kinsale, Co. Cork – section 482

contact: Denis Mawe
Tel: 021-4778156
Open: May 15-Sept 5, 12 noon-5pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €5, groups of 10+ adults €5 per person

www.garrettstownhouse.com

Garrettstown House, County Cork, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Mark Bence-Jones writes in his 1988 A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

p. 132. “(Cuthbert-Kearney/LG1863; Franks/IFR) Some time ante mid-C18, the Kearney family – who, like other families along the south-west coast of Ireland, are reputed to have become rich through smuggling – began building themselves a grand house with two wings facing each other across a forecourt in the Palladian manner; levelling a site for it out of the solid rock above the sea at great expense. The two wings, of an attractive golden stone, their handsome pedimented facades, each with a rusticated doorway, facing each other across the forecourt, fwere completed. But whether the house itself was actually built is uncertain; though Charles Smith (writing 1750) implies that it was. If it existed, it cannot have survived very long; for one of the wings subsequently became the house, being enlarge dfor this purpose…Towards the end of C19, Garrettstown was inherited by the Franks family, who sold it ca 1950. It is now ruinous.” It is no longer ruinous and has undergone major renovation.

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage gives the following appraisal:

Built by the Kearney family between the years 1702 and 1720, with changes and additions being made until 1740, this building was originally a wing of a substantial country house. The main house was never started due to financial reasons and this, one of the flanking buildings, was subsequently turned into a stable block. The money saved by not building the main house was spent on improving the gardens and grounds. The house was passed down through the female line, staying within that lineage until 1950 when it was sold to the Land Commission. Although now in use as offices, the building retains much of its original form and character seen in the tooled limestone detailing and its grand scale. The retention of many of the original outbuildings and the extensive gardens on the site give further evidence to the wealth and status of this former country house.” 

20. Fenns Quay, 4 & 5 Sheares Street, Cork – section 482

contact: Clare Supple
Tel: 089-4646208
www.encorestaging.org
Open: May 1-Nov 30, Sat-Sun, National Heritage Week Aug 13-21, 10am-2pm Fee: Adult €3, OAP €2, student €1

The website tells us:

Fenns Quay Sheares Street is a listed building in Cork. It is one of the oldest terraced buildings in Cork. It is a three-bay three-storey former house, built c.1740, as a group of four with the adjoining three buildings to the east. Now in use as restaurant and accomadation.

Comprising of:

Pitched slate roof with red brick corner chimneystacks and cast-iron rooflights.

Red brick walls to upper floors having ashlar limestone keystones over first floor windows.

Timber sliding sash windows.

Projecting timber shopfront. Retaining interior features.” You can have a virtual tour on their website.

21. Ilnacullin, Garanish Island, County Cork – OPW

See my OPW write-up:

https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/01/19/office-of-public-works-properties-munster/

22. Inis Beg gardens, Baltimore, County Cork

https://www.inishbeg.com/homepage/

Inish Beg estate, Baltimore, County Cork, photograph by George Karbus 2016 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool (see [4])

The website tells us:

Inish Beg, Irish for “small island”, is the most northerly of the Carbery Hundred Islands of County Cork Ireland and lies in the unspoilt tidal estuary of the Ilen River. There is a bronze age Cromlech (boulder burial) within the grounds, as well as a tree covered Lissaghaun (little fort or fairy mound) in front of the main house.The local saint, St. Fachtna is recorded as having been given the “Book of Dues” on the island in the 6th century.The island belonged to a Richard White in the 17th Century and was acquired by the MacCarthy Morrough family in 1830. Initially used as a sporting estate, the main house was finally finished in 1899.The population of the island followed a familiar pattern to that of much of the rural west of Ireland. Lewis quotes 109 inhabitants in 1837, but the numbers then declined to 11 by 1901 following the famine years of the mid nineteenth century and the agricultural depression of the 1880’s.

In 1908 Kay Summersby was born at Inish Beg House. She came to notoriety as a close companion of Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Inish Beg estate, Baltimore, County Cork, photograph by George Karbus 2016 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool (see [4])

Inish Beg Estate comprises 97 acres; 

  • 42 of these are birdsong-filled woodlands which are sympathetically managed and include exceptional tree ferns, bamboo, several ponds, bird hides and carriage drives,
  • 42 acres are green fields sweeping down to the Ilen Estuary where sheep and ponies graze, for this is a working farm run on organic principles.
  • the remaining 13 acres is taken up with buildings, a walled garden with glass house and fruit cages, a sunken garden with fountain, a cherry drive, an orchard, a daffodil lined avenue and two woodland gardens.
  • see also https://westcorkgardentrail.com

23. Kilcascan Castle, Ballineen, Co. Cork – section 482

contact: Alison Bailey
Tel: 023- 8847200
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: Free

Kilcascan Castle, County Cork, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Mark Bence-Jones describes Kilcascan in his A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

p. 165. “Daunt/IFR) A two storey early C19 castellated house. Symmetrical entrance front with projecting bays joined by battlemented cloister; rectangular tracery windows. Battlemented bow and square turret.” 

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage tells us:

The seat of the Daunt family between 1712 and 1987, this picturesque country house is thought to have been built in the early decades of the nineteenth century around the time of the second wedding of Joseph Daunt, to replace an earlier house. Though the architect is unknown, it has been suggested that it is the work of the Pain brothers. According to James N. Healy’s The Castles of Co.Cork the contractors were a local family named Hickie. It is a fine addition to the county’s architectural heritage, and retains much of its excellently executed historic fabric. It was apparently the site of the last death by duelling in 1826, at which time Joseph Daunt was shot and killed by his cousin from Manch House. It has more illustrious associations with the following generation, William O’Neill Daunt (1807-94) was a leading Nationalist politician and one time secretary to Daniel O’Connell.

24. Kilshannig House, Rathcormac, Co. Cork – section 482

Kilshanning House, County Cork, August 2020.

https://irishhistorichouses.com/2020/12/10/kilshannig-house-rathcormac-county-cork/
contact: Hugo Merry
Tel: 025-36124
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, July 1-31, National Heritage Week, Aug 13-21, 8.30am- 2.30pm, 

Fee: adult €10, child/student €8.50, group discount by arrangements 

25. Liss Ard Sky Garden, County Cork

Liss Ard estate is now a hotel, but you can book lunch and a visit to the Sky Garden, and wander around the gardens of the estate. The hotel is surrounded by miles of trails, which weave whimsically and which reveal magical settings with artfully placed walls and steps. It is also the site of a ring fort: the Irish “Lios Aird” means high fort. For more about the hotel, see the accommodation section below.

The art dealers/collectors Claudia and Veith Turske purchased Liss Ard estate and in the 1990s and created public gardens with waterfalls, an arboretum with 10,000 newly-planted trees and had plans to create further land artworks after James Turrell’s installation, which was created in 1992. The property has since changed hands. It first came to my attention when a music festival was held in its grounds.

The website describes James Turrell’s The Irish Sky Garden

For over half a century, the internationally renowned landscape artist James Turrell has worked directly with light and space to create artworks that engage viewers with the limits and wonder of human perception. New Yorker critic Calvin Tompkins writes, “His work is not about light, or a record of light; it is light — the physical presence of light made manifest in sensory form.” ”

The Sky Garden at Liss Ard by James Turrell.

The Irish Public Art directory describes the Sky Garden:

The ‘Irish Sky Garden’ is a giant earth and stone crater embedded into the landscape of the Liss Ard Estate gardens. 

The artwork consists of an archway, a long megalithic-like passage, and stairs leading to an oval shaped, grass-lined crater, which measures 50 x 25 metres.

In the centre of the crater’s ‘bowl’ is a large stone ‘vault purchase’ or plinth (not unlike an Egyptian sarcophagus). This is where the visitor should lie back and look at the sky, which is framed by the edges of the elliptical crater.

”The most important thing is that inside turns into outside and the other way around, in the sense that relationships between the Irish landscape and the Irish sky changes” (James Turrell).”

Entrance to the gardens of Liss Ard.
Entrance to the Sky Garden.
The “megalith-like passage” of the Sky Garden. I wonder did James Turrell visit Newgrange in preparation for his work?
Entrance to the crater of the Sky Garden.

It is impossible to capture the feel of the earth work creation in a photograph although the aerial view from the ‘myhome’ website gives us an idea.

The Sky Garden, Liss Ard.
This was my view when lying on the plinth.
We wandered back up to the hotel by the garden trails.

26. Riverstown House, Riverstown, Glanmire, Co. Cork – section 482

contact: Denis/Rita Dooley
Tel: 021-4821205
Open: May 5-Sept 10, Thurs, Fri, Sat, National Heritage Week Aug 13-21, 2pm-6pm

Fee: adult €10, OAP €7, student €5

See my entry https://irishhistorichouses.com/2022/10/05/__trashed/

Riverstown House, County Cork, with plasterwork by La Francini brothers.

27. Woodford Bourne Warehouse, Sheares Street, Cork – section 482

contact: Edward Nicholson
Tel: 021-4273000
www.woodfordbournewarehouse.com
Open: all year except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, 1pm-11pm
Fee: Free.

Now a fast food outlet, this used to be a warehouse, and the Architect is William Henry Hill (1837-1911).

Places to stay, County Cork

1. Annes Grove (formerly Ballyhemock or Ballyhimmock), Castletownroche, Co Cork – gate lodge accommodation €€

https://www.irishlandmark.com/property/annes-grove-miniature-castle/

A miniature medieval castle, Annes Grove Gatelodge was designed in 1853 to impress visitors to the main house – Annesgrove House and Gardens. 

2. Aspen House, Dromgarriff Estate, Glengarriff, Cork, Whole House Rental (sleeps 6)

https://cashelfean.ie/aspen-house/

3. Ballinacurra House, County Cork – whole house rental, and cottages

https://hiddenireland.com/house-pages/ballinacurrahouse/

and https://www.ballinacurra.com/the-coach-house/

The website tells us: “Ballinacurra House is an elegant Georgian Mansion built c.1770 which has been fully renovated and upgraded over the past 20 years. The Estate consists of the main Manor House, Stone Cottage and Coach House – set behind 10 foot high stone walls with lawns, fields, river jetty and forest – and only 5 minutes’ drive from Ireland’s premier tourist town of Kinsale. Whether it’s for a holiday or some type of event … we’ve got you covered. The Owners’ 30 years of experience in event management is one of the reasons that Ballinacurra House is known as Ireland’s Premier Events House with a guarantee of privacy, discretion and style. And is the ideal venue for corporate retreats, client hosting, birthday parties, team-building events, golf groups, family reunions, private parties, friend gatherings and … weddings with a difference.

For the first time we are now opening up the property to give groups of various sizes the opportunity to enjoy the uniqueness of the property! So depending on the size of your family or group, we have developed a range of options for self-catering (minimum 3 days) and our fully staffed and catered premium product for Private Groups (price on request). So now you can choose from:

  1. Estate Cottage 1 – The Coach House – up to 7 people – Self Catering – from €1,200 A 3 bedroom/4 bathroom separate 1,200 square foot home with a private outdoor dining terrace. This building has been renovated from the original coach house for the main manor house – and perfect for up to 7 people.
  2. Estate Cottage 2 – The Stone Cottage – up to 10 people – Self Catering – from €2,200 A stand-alone 1,800 square foot home with 4 bedrooms/4.5 bathrooms with its own private garden. This building was the original gardener’s cottage for the main manor house – now fully renovated that will sleep up to 10 people comfortably.
  3. Manor House (Partial) – up to 20 people – Self Catering – from €8,800 You will enjoy private use of Two Wings of the Manor House including 8 ensuite bedrooms and a range of living rooms, dining rooms, country style kitchen and outdoor dining options (can be catered or staffed by request).
  4. Manor House (Whole) – from 28 to 36 people – Full Catered & Staffed Only – on request There are 14 Bedrooms in the Manor House that can accommodate up to 36 adults + 3 children sharing and a whole range of living and entertainment spaces. Due to the numbers, this is only available on a fully catered and staffed basis.
  5. Whole Estate – from 44 to 54 people – Fully Catered & Staffed Only – on request The entire Estate consisting of the Manor House, Stone Cottage and Coach House for your private and exclusive use. A total of 22 ensuite bedrooms which is fully staffed and catered. This can cater for up to 54 adults + 4 children sharing.”

4. Ballinterry House, Rathcormac, Co Cork – accommodation

Ballinterry House, County Cork, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
Ballinterry House, County Cork, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

 https://www.facebook.com/BallinterryH/

https://castlelyonsparish.com/who-i-am/accommodation/accommodation-2/

Ballinterry House Accommodation 
P: +353 (0)25 87835  or  +353 (0)87-6508555 
E: ballinterryhouse@yahoo.co.uk 

Frank Keohane writes in his Buildings of Ireland: Cork City and County that:

p. 21. “After the Williamite wars, landowners had the confidence to invest in their property and improve their estates, building new houses and offices, and creating enclosed landscaped demesnes. Of the minor gentry, most aspired to nothing more than a house that was solidly built, symmetrical and convenient. At first, middling houses were unsophisticated in their form and planning, often only one room deep but sometimes having a return containing a staircase or service rooms, thus forming an L-plan or T-plan. Steep gable-ended roofs were almost universal, hipped roofs and the use of parapets the exception. This arrangement continued throughout the 18th century for gentry houses, and well into the C19 for larger farmhouses. Early examples include Ballinterry (Rathcormac), Velvetstown (Buttevant), Rosehill at Ballynacorra (Midleton) and Aghadoe at Killeagh.” [8]

Mark Bence-Jones writes of Ballinterry House in A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

p. 290. “(Barry/IFR) An early C18 house built on the site of a castle which in 1699 belonged to Andrew Morrough or Murragh, an attainted Jacobite; the house was until comparatively recently surrounded by old fortifications including four round towers, of which one and the fragments of another survive. Gable ended main block of two storeys with attic lit by windows in gable-ends; five bay front, originally seven bay, the windows on either side of the centre having been blocked up; presumably in the late Georgian period, when the other windows of the front appear to have been reduced in size and the interior walls rearranged. Simple fanlighted doorway. Original grass terrace with flagged pavement along front. Two storey return wing; central projection at rear of main block containing late-Georgian stairs with balustrade of plain sturdy wooden uprights. Stairs now open to hall; formerly separated from it by screen of C18 panelling with Gothic fanlight, now removed to first floor lobby of wing. Bought 1703 by the 4th Earl of Barrymore [James Barry (1667-1747)]; afterwards passed to the Ross family and then by marriage and descent to the Ryders and Henleys successively. From 1821 to 1862 the home of Archdeacon (“Black Billy”) Ryder, remembered for his part in the “Gortroe Massacre” in 1834, a tragic episode of the Tithe War. Ballinterry is now the home of Mr Hurd Maguire Hatfield, the stage and screen actor, who has carried out a sympathetic restoration of the house [who sold it to the current owners, Michael and Anne in 2007].” 

The interior extensively damaged by a fire in 1991. Michael and Anne bought the period propety as a restoration project and realised it would be suitable for taking guests. An article in the Irish Times on Oct 3 2013 by Ellen Lynch tells us about the renovation:

Michael and Ann spent three years taking up rotting floors, dismantling partitions, uncovering windows and other original features, and taking the house “back to the future” by renovating and modernising it in a way which was wholly sympathetic to its origins.  

In December 2007, without power and with no floorboards, the couple had no choice but to decamp with their young children to a cottage in outbuildings on the property. They moved back in during the spring of 2009.

They managed to complete the work with the help of a conservation architect and the encouragement and blessing of Cork County Council’s conservation officer, Mona Hallinan. The Georgian Society declared it one of the most sympathetic restorations they’ve seen.  

Ann credits Michael’s unerring eye for detail and his capacity for hard work in bringing everything together to make Ballinterry House what it is today – a splendid country house with a truly authentic feel. 

5. Ballymacmoy, Killavullen, Co Cork – coach house airbnb €

https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/6862913?source_impression_id=p3_1589550654_DKKIguPPQK2Nhhvp&guests=1&adults=1

https://thecoachhouseatballymacmoy.weebly.com/ballymacmoy-house.html

The website tells us: “Ballymacmoy is the estate of origin of the wild geese family, the Hennessy’s of Cognac and is still owned and inhabited by their descendants.  40 kilometres from Cork International Airport, Ballymacmoy is a 23 acre estate located at the edge of the little village of Killavullen (200 inhabitants).  It is made up of grasslands and wooded areas with 3.5 miles of exclusive fishing rights along the Blackwater river, it includes a 1 acre walled garden and a unique prehistoric private cave reserved for guests.” 

Mark Bence-Jones writes of Ballymacmoy in A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

p. 24. “[Hennessy/IFR] A two storey late-Georgian house on a rock overhanging the River Blackwater. Entrance front of three bays and curved bow; Wyatt windows, subsequently reglazed with central mullions; fanlighted doorway now obscured by plain porch. Simple battlemented arch at opposite end of house. Hall with elaborate early to mid-C19 plasterwork; reeded cornice with rosettes, central oval of acanthus. Partly curving stair with slender wooden balusters at inner end of hall beyond arch with rope ornament. Fine doorcases with Doric entablatures and rope ornament on architraves. Cornices of oakleaves in drawing room and ante room. Bow-ended ballroom with higher ceiling than the other principal rooms and simpler and presumably earlier C19 plasterwork; oval moulding in centre of ceiling, with flat pan pendentives at corners. Fluted pilasters on walls. Oak chimneypiece in the “Arts and Crafts” style, with overmantel incorporating needlework panel, carved in 1905 by Harriette, widow of J.W. Hennessy. There is a similar oak fireplace in the dining-room, which has been entirely done over in Edwardian Tudor; with a beamed ceiling, timber-studded walls and painted coat-of-arms. Sold 1932 by Mr. C.J. Hennessy to his kinsman, the late Monsieur J.R. Hennessy, of La Billarderie, Cognac. Recently tenanted by Mr. Ian Sherriff, who ran it as a guest house.” 

6. Ballymaloe, Cloyne, Co Cork – accommodation – see above €€

7. Ballynatray, Youghal, Co Cork, holiday cottages and whole house rental – see my entry under County Waterford – the gardens are on the 2022 Section 482 list.

https://hiddenireland.com/house-pages/ballynatray-coach-house-area/

Ballynatray House, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The website tells us of the accommodation: “a. As the name suggests, it was originally the Coach House where the owner of the Estate would have kept the horse drawn carriages along with all the necessary tack for the horses. Sometimes these buildings housed some very ornate and fascinating carriages. The two storey Coach House takes centre stage in the stable yard and has been transformed into a beautiful, luxurious 4 bedroom self catering property. Downstairs there is a very relaxing style open plan kitchen & dining area with comfortable couches which allow for great conversations even while you prepare a bite of lunch or dinner.

Within the quaint stable yard and in view of Ballynatray House itself, the Coach House really is a home from home with beautifully maintained gardens & parklands. The Coach House offers self-catering accommodation most suited to families as there is plenty of space both inside and in the stable yard which has beautifully maintained gardens. Guests can also view the walled kitchen garden which can be accessed from the stable yard.  This is the perfect retreat for any family who wishes to step back from the hustle & bustle of modern life and just relax and soak up the atmosphere only a private estate can offer.

b. Set in the grounds of Ballynatray Estate, the Garden Flat is located in the stable yard and is suitable for those looking for a self-catering holiday. There are two double bedrooms on the ground floor which would ideally suit two couples or if the need arises one of the bedrooms can be changed to be a twin room. There is a large bathroom and the kitchen is well equipped, decorated in the style of a country kitchen with painted units, stone floor and large kitchen table to seat ten. The Garden Flat can be used for a luxury self catering week in the beautiful Irish countryside.

c. The Garden House is a quaint little cottage that sits at the bottom of the walled garden next to the beautiful Ballynatray House. Set across two floors the Garden House boasts a beautiful double room complete with comfortable armchairs either side of the open fire that fills the complete upstairs area. This is an ideal adult only location where romantic notions are never very far away.

The wonderful location allows those who book the Garden House to wander through the estate which is one of the finest estates you will find in the Irish countryside. Taking long walks along the Blackwater or taking a picnic while you go exploring you could easily get lost in the beautiful countryside that is the Ballynatray Estate.

d. From history we know that on an estate like Ballynatray the owners would employ a groom to keep their horses fed, watered and groomed. As on many estates the job came with accommodation next to the stable as the groom was expected to be on hand if any of the family wished to go horse-riding or if one of the horses fell ill. This is the case on the Ballynatray Estate.

Renovated & situated in the stable yard the Groom’s Flat is an ideal self catering option for two people. The Groom’s Flat now boasts a beautiful open plan structure which allows guests the feel of an authentic cottage complete with the original stone floor in the kitchen and a small wood burner. The double bedroom benefits from French doors, whilst the heritage bathroom includes a shower and is decorated with small hand painted tiles. It is extremely comfortable and would be ideal for anyone looking to escape from the frenetic buzz of city life to somewhere beautiful and rural where every need is catered for in this self-contained Estate.

8. Ballyvolane House, Castlelyons, Co. Cork section 482 €€€

contact: Justin Green
Tel: 025-36349
(Tourist Accommodation Facility) 

www.ballyvolanehouse.ie

Open: all year except Jan 1, Dec 24-31

Ballyvolane, County Cork, photo taken 2014 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. (see [4])

The website tells us: “Welcome to Ballyvolane House, a historic Irish country house of extraordinary warmth, style and comfort that provides luxury manor house accommodation, bespoke intimate weddings, glamping and private house parties/exclusive house rentals, located in the beautiful North Cork countryside of southern Ireland. Ballyvolane House is also home to Bertha’s Revenge Gin.

Ballyvolane, County Cork, photo taken 2014 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. (see [4])
Ballyvolane, County Cork, photo taken 2014 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. (see [4])

The National Inventory describes the house: “Ballyvolane House is a fine example of the Victorian Italianate domestic architecture, in this case being applied to a house which was originally a three-storey early eighteenth-century structure. The top storey was removed when the house was remodelled in 1847. The classically proportioned façade is enlivened by the decorative render dressings including oak-leaf brackets to the eaves, window surrounds and heavy continuous sill course. The porch constitutes the decorative focus of the house and is articulated by pilasters. The doorway is flanked by skillfully carved marble engaged columns with ornate foliate capitals which add further artistic interest to the façade. The block to the west was built to house the servants and is of a simpler design and treatment. This building, together with extensive outbuildings and walled gardens, adds valuable context to the site.

Ballyvolane, County Cork, photo taken 2014 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. (see [4])

The website tells us about the history:

There is an inescapable air of frivolity at Ballyvolane – the name itself means ‘the place of springing heifers’ and is testament to the fertility, richness and natural diversity of the land on which the estate lies.

Originally built in 1728 by Sir Richard Pyne, a retired Lord Chief Justice of Ireland, Ballyvolane was designed in the classic Georgian country house style with three storeys An amorous descendent, Arthur Pyne, acquired sufficient capital from his marriage to three wealthy women to have the house considerably enlarged in the early 19th century.

The three-storey house was again modified in 1872 by George Pyne. He had the building pulled apart and then, by removing the top storey, recreated a two-storey house rendered in Italianate style, with an extensive west end wing.

Ballyvolane, County Cork, photo taken 2014 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. (see [4])

The website continues: “Recent research carried out Terence Reeves-Smyth unearthed tender documents for the remodelling of Ballyvolane from this time – the architect was Richard Rolt Brash (1817-1876), a Cork architect, whose father and brother were well known builders in the city. RB Brash is better known as a very active antiquarian and friend of John Windele – he was especially interested in round towers.

The rebuilding/remodelling in the early 1870s followed the re-acquisition of the house and demesne by the Pyne family in 1869. Arthur Pyne (1747-1839) who probably built the present house around c1800 and laid out the present parkland (which looks Regency in date), was succeeded by his eldest son Jasper Pyne. Unfortunately, when Jasper died in 1860-1 he left no male heirs and as a result his wife and daughters did not inherit the property (the estate had been left by his father Arthur entailed for a life and could only be inherited by male issue). Consequently, following a big court case in May 1861 the property passed to Jasper’s younger brother, the Rev. William Masters Pyne, Rector of Oxted in Surrey. In March 1864 the Rev Pyne put the place on the market through the Encumbered Estates Courts. It remained on the market until bought by another member of the Pyne family in January 1869.

It appears that Ballyvolane was originally purchased by Sir Richard Pyne in 1702-3 for £696; prior to this it had been the property of Sir Richard Nagle and Edmond Barry, but had been granted (forfeited lands) to Viscount Sidney. At the same time Sir Richard Pyne also purchased three other Co Cork properties from the Commissioners for Sale of Forfeited Estates; one was Blarney, the others were the estates of Ballinaneala and Ardra. He also in England bought Great Codham Hall in Essex, where the family continued to live well into the 19th century.

The Pynes built the present house and lived here until 1953, when it was bought by the late Cyril Hall Green (known as Squirrel Green) and his wife Joyce (née Blake), on their return from Malaya, where Squirrel had managed rubber plantations since the 1920’s. Ballyvolane was passed on to Squirrel’s son, Jeremy, who ran it as a mixed tillage and dairy farm until the mid 1980’s when it became one the founding members of the Hidden Ireland group, an association of town and country houses offering a unique and exclusive style of accommodation and chosen for their architectural merit and interesting characteristics.

Ballyvolane was managed as a successful country house bed and breakfast by Jeremy and his wife, Merrie until January 2004, when the reins were handed to his son Justin and his wife, Jenny. Justin and Jenny are experienced hoteliers having gained international management experience in some of the best hotels in the world namely Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, The Legian in Bali, Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai and prior to moving home, Justin was GM of Babington House (part of Soho House) in Somerset. Three generations of the Green Family now live at Ballyvolane.

Ballyvolane, County Cork, photo taken 2014 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. (see [4])
Ballyvolane, County Cork, photo taken 2014 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. (see [4])
Ballyvolane, County Cork, photo taken 2014 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. (see [4])
Ballyvolane, County Cork, photo taken 2014 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. (see [4])
Ballyvolane, County Cork, photo taken 2014 for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool. (see [4])

9. Bantry House & Garden, Bantry, Co. Cork– see above €€

Bantry House, County Cork, photograph from the National Library of Ireland, flickr constant commons.

10. Blairscove House, County Cork: accommodation in the Piggery, Smoke House and Loft. Also weddings

https://blairscove.ie/

The website tells us:

Blairscove House is situated on the picturesque inlet of Dunmanus Bay in West Cork on the Wild Atlantic Way. Not touched by mass tourism, it appeals to visitors who want to get away ‘far from the madding crowd,’ yet desire premium facilities in terms of service and food, with home from home comforts in terms of welcome and accommodation.

Around the courtyard of a Georgian House, beautifully restored with cobbled paths, shrubs and flowers, are the restaurant and four stylish suites or small apartments which can be rented on a bed and breakfast or self-catering basis. Formerly a piggery, coach house and servants’ quarters, each suite is individually and very lovingly decorated with a quirky mix of contemporary and antique furnishings.

We also have another holiday cottage on Dunmanus Pier in West Cork, just 12km from Blairscove, in the direction of Mizen Head, again on the Wild Atlantic Way driving route.

11. Castlemartyr, County Cork – hotel  €€€

and Castle Martyr Lodges

https://www.castlemartyrresort.ie

Mark Bence-Jones writes in 1988 of Castle Martyr in A Guide to Irish Country Houses:

p. 72. “(Boyle, Cork and Orrery, E/PB; Boyle, Shannon, E/PB; Arnott, Bt/PB) Originally an old castle of the FitzGeralds, Seneschals of Imokilly, to which an early C17 domestic range was added by Richard Boyle, the “Great” Earl of Cork, who bought it from Sir Walter Raleigh, to whom it had been granted, along with other confiscated Geraldine estates. Having been damaged during the Civil Wards, it was repaired and made “English like” by Lord Cork’s third son, 1st Earl of Orrery, to whom it had passed; only to suffer worse damage in the Williamiate War, after which it was left a ruin, and a new house built alongside it early in C18 by Henry Boyle, who became Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and eventually 1st Earl of Shannon. The house was greatly enlarged by 2nd Earl between 1764/71, and further remodelled in late-Georgian period. While giving it an abnormally long facade, the subsequent additions did not take away from the house’s early C18 character, beign on the same scale and in the same style as the original building. Entrance front of two storeys and 17 bays, consisting of a five bay recessed centre with a giant pedimented portico between projecint wings, the forward-facing one bay ends of which are prolonged by a further five bays on either side. The ends of the projecting wings on either side of the centre are framed by rusticated pilasters, and formerly had Venetian windows in their lower storey, which have now been made into ordinary triple windows; there is also a rusticated pilaster at either end of the facade. The front is unusual in having three entrance doorways, of similar size, one under the portico and one in the centre of the five outer bays on either side; originally these doorways had plain architraves, but they were replaced by rusticated doorcases early this century. High-pitched, slightly sprocketed roofs. Irregular garden front; range of three bays on either side of a curved central bow, then a four bay range set slightly back with a balustraded colonnade of coupled Doric columns along its lower storey, then a range set further back again, of the same height as the rest of the facade but of one storey only, with three tall windows. Long, narrow and low-ceilinged hall with bifurcating wooden staircase at one end; late-Georgian frieze. A wide pilastered corridor runs from the staircase end of the hall, opening into a series of reception rooms along the garden front’ they are of modest size, low-ceilinged and simply decorated. In contrast to them is the magnificent double cube saloon or ballroom at the opposite end of the hall., which rises the full height of the house and is lit by the three tall windows in the single-storey part of the garden front. It has a coved ceiling with splendid rococo plasterwork in the manner of Robert West – birds, swags, flowers, foliage and cornucopiae in high relief – and a doorcase with fluted Ionic columns and a broken pediment. This room was one of 2nd Earl’s additions; it was finished by 1771, when it was seen by Arthur Young, who considered it to be the best room he had seen in Ireland. It certainly rates among the dozen or so finest Irish country house interiors; or anyhow whould have done when it had its chimneypiece and its original pictures and furnishings. The entrance front of the house overlooks a sheet of water which is part of the remarkable artificial river made ante 1750 by 1st Earl; it winds its way between wooded banks through the demesne and round the neighbouring town of Castlemartyr; broad and deep enough to be navigable by what was described in C18 as “an handsome boat.” The entrance gates from the town are flanked by tall battlemented walls shaped to look like Gothic towers; from the side they reveal themselves to be no more than stage scenery. Castle Martyr was sold early in the present century to the Arnott family; it was subsequently re-sold and is now a Carmelite College.” 

Note that Henry Boyle (1682-1764), 1st Earl of Shannon, who owned Castlemartyr, also owned a townouse at 11 Henrietta Street in Dublin. See Melanie Hayes’s wonderful book The Best Address in Town: Henrietta Street, Dublin and its First Residents, 1720-80 published by Four Courts Press, Dublin 8, in 2020.

12. Castle Townshend, Co Cork – accommodation

http://castle-townshend.com/

Castle Townshend, County Cork, June 2022.

We came upon the Townshend family when we visited Drishane, as the Somervilles nearby intermarried with their cousins the Townshends. See my write-up:

https://irishhistorichouses.com/2021/03/07/drishane-house-castletownshend-co-cork/

We visited the Castle of Castletownshend when on holidays in County Cork in June 2022. The Castle is a hidden gem, full of history. We definitely look forward to a return visit, to stay in the Castle.

The Castle, Castletownshend: A castellated house, consisting of two battlemented towers joined by a range with dormer gables.
The gardens and view from Castletownshend.

The website tells us:

In the picturesque village of Castletownshend, past ‘The Two Trees’ at the bottom of the hill, you’ll find our family-run boutique B&B. Nestled at the edge of a scenic harbour and natural woodlands for you to explore, The Castle is a truly unique place to stay. It has the warm, homely feel of a traditional Irish B&B, but with a few extra special touches.

The National Inventory describes: “Square-headed door opening to porch with stone voussoirs, label moulding and timber door with cast-iron studs, strap hinges and door furniture.”

The website continues: “Steeped in history, The Castle has been home to the Townshend family since the 1650s and has been receiving guests for over 60 years. Inside the old stone walls, you’ll find welcoming faces to greet you, roaring fires to warm you, and comfy beds to sink into. Each room has its own story to tell, with the oak-panelled hall and spacious dining room retaining most of their original features, furniture, and family portraits.

The website also explains the family name: “The family name has undergone several changes over the years. The original spelling was Townesend, which later became Townsend. In 1870, the head of the family, Reverend Maurice Fitzgerald Townshend [1791-1872], consulted with the Townshends of Raynham, Norfolk. Following this, it was requested that the whole family add the ‘h’ into the name. However, some families were quite content with the current spelling and refused to adopt the new one. This resulted in various different spellings spread across the branches throughout the UK, Ireland, Australia and Canada.

Much has been written about the Townshend family and The Castle over the years, and this rich history is documented in great detail . You can also read the book ‘An Officer of the Long Parliament’, which is an account of the life and times of Colonel Richard Townesend and a chronicle of his descendants.

The wood-panelled hall of the Castle in Castletownshend. The portrait of the children is of the children of Reverend Maurice Fitzgerald Townshend (1791-1872): Geraldine, Alice and Henry John.

The website tells us: “The building is in fact a 17th century castellated house, not a defensive castle from earlier times. It was built by Colonel Richard Townesend [1618-1692] towards the end of the 17th century, starting off as a much smaller dwelling. The first castle, known as ‘Bryan’s Fort’ [named after his son Bryan (1648-1726)], was attacked and destroyed by the O’Driscolls in 1690, and its ruins remain in The Castle grounds to this day. Richard then built a second castle, which is thought to be where Swift’s Tower still stands. 

In 1805 the floors were lowered to make the ceilings higher, a decision that left The Castle in ruins. However, instead of rebuilding it, the stone was used to add castellated wings to the dwelling on the waterfront. This became The Castle as you see it today.

Colonel Richard Townesend (1618-1692) gained the rank of Officer in the Parliamentary Army in the Civil War. [see Montgomery-Massingberd, Hugh. Burke’s Irish Family Records. London, U.K.: Burkes Peerage Ltd, 1976.] He fought in the Battle of Knocknoness, County Cork on 3 April 1648, where he commanded the main body of the Army under Lord Inchiquin. He handed the keys of Cork to Oliver Cromwell at Dungarvan after the Commonwealth was proclaimed. He held the office of Member of Parliament for Baltimore, County Cork, in 1661. In 1666 he acquired Castle Townsend. He held the office of High Sheriff of County Cork in 1671.

Jane O’Hea O’Keeffe tells us of the Castle’s builder, in her Voices from the Great Houses: Cork and Kerry (Mercier Press, Cork, 2013): p. 83. “In the late 1600s Richard Townsend, an officer in the Cromwellian army, acquired lands at Castlehaven in west Cork originally owned by the O’Driscoll clan. Richard Townsend also owned other lands in County Cork totalling over 6,540 acres. It was he who built the castle at Castletownshend, the centre portion of which still remains. The two towers at each corner of the castle today were added in the eighteenth century.

She continues: “Over the following centuries, members of the Townsend family served as high sheriffs of County Cork. In 1753 Richard Townsend was the office-holder and in 1785 Richard Boyle Townsend was appointed to the position. In the 1870s Richard M.F. Townsend owned over 7,000 acres near Dingle in County Kerry, inherited from the FitzGerald family, Knights of Kerry. At that time, the estate of the late Rev. Maurice Townshend extended to over 8,000 acres in County Cork...” [9]

Colonel Richard Townsend’s son Bryan was a Commander in the British navy and MP for Clonakilty. His son Richard inherited Castletownshend (1684-1742), and was a Justice of the peace and high sheriff for County Cork. His son Richard also served as MP and high sheriff. He married Elizabeth Fitzgerald, daughter of John Fitzgerald, the 15th Knight of Kerry (d. 1741). His father was Maurice Fitzgerald, the 14th Knight of Kerry, and Elizabeth’s brother was Maurice the 16th Knight of Kerry – there is a portrait of a Maurice Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry, in the front hall, but I’m not sure which one is it. There is also a portrait ofthe Countess of Desmond, Katherine Fitzgerald (abt. 1504-1604), who lived to be over one hundred years old (some say she lived to be 140) and went through three sets of teeth. We came across her also in Dromana in County Waterford.

Richard Townsend, served as MP and high sheriff and lived at Castletownshend. He married Elizabeth Fitzgerald.
Catherine Fitzgerald, wife of Richard Townsend.
Maurice Fitzgerald, Knight of Kerry and Countess of Desmond, Katherine Fitzgerald (abt. 1504-1604).

Richard Townsend and Elizabeth Fitzgerald had a son, Richard Boyle Townsend (1756-1826), who inherited Castletownshend. He married Henrietta Newenham. There is a fine portrait of their son Lieutenant-Colonel John Townsend, of the 14th Light Dragoons, who held the office of Aide-de-Camp to Queen Victoria.

Lieutenant-Colonel John Townsend, of the 14th Light Dragoons (d. 1845).
I think this is a portrait of Henrietta Newenham (1764-1848).

Lt-Col John Townsend died in 1845, and the property passed to his brother, Reverend Maurice Townsend (d. 1872). Maurice married Alice Elizabeth Shute, heiress to Chevanage estate in Gloucestershire. I think it must have been due to her inheritance that Maurice changed his name in 1870 to Maurice FitzGerald Stephens-Townshend (he was the one who added the ‘h’ in the name).

They had a son John Henry Townshend (1827-1869), who gained the rank of officer in the 2nd Life Guards. A fire occurred in 1852, during Reverend Maurice’s time in Castletownshend.

John Henry Townshend (1827-1869).

Frank Keohane describes Castle Townshend in his Buildings of Ireland: Cork City and County:

p. 314. “The Castle. A house of several parts, the seat of the Townshends. The earliest, described as ‘newly built’ in 1780 by the Complete Irish Traveller, is presumably the two-storey, five-bay rubble-stone centre block, with dormers over the upper windows and a two-storey rectilinear porch. Taller three-storey wings with battlements carried on corbelled cornices and twin- and triple-light timber-mullioned windows. The E. wing was perhaps built in the late 1820s; the W wing was added after a fire in 1852. Modest interior. Large low central hall with a beamed ceiling and walls lined with oak panelling and gilded embossed wallpaper. Taller dining room to the r., with a compartmented ceiling; a Neoclassical inlaid fireplace in the manner of Bossi, and a large Jacobean sideboard. C19 staircase with barley-twist type balusters. 

Octagonal three-stage battlemented tower, 60 m west of the castle.” [10]

The Jacobean sideboard in the Dining Room.
Neoclassical inlaid fireplace in the manner of Bossi.
The Jacobean sideboard in the Dining Room.
The carving on the sideboard is incredible.
Nineteenth century staircase with barley-twist type balusters. 

The website tells us about the fire: “Disaster struck again in 1852 when the newly built East Wing went up in flames. The blaze was so fierce that the large quantity of silver stored at the top of the wing ran down in molten streams. The family sent a Bristol silversmith to search the ruins and value the silver by the pound, which he did and promptly disappeared to America with a large part of it! The family still have some of that silver, all misshapen from the fire. The East Wing was rebuilt soon after the fire and The Castle has remained unchanged in appearance ever since.

Reverend Maurice’s son predeceased him so Reverend Maurice’s grandson, Maurice Fitzgerald Stephens-Townshend (1865 – 1948) inherited Castletownshend in 1872 when he was still a minor. In the 1890s, the time of the Wyndham Act, 10,000 acres were put up for auction. The current owners still have the auction books. It was purchased by Charles Loftus Townsend (1861-1931).

Young Maurice married Blanche Lillie Ffolliot. She was an only child and brought money with her marriage, and Maurice was able to buy back the castle. The castle passed to their daughter, Rosemarie Salter-Townshend. Her She began to rent out holiday homes in Castletownshend. Her husband, William Robert Salter, added Townshend to his surname. It was their daughter Anne who modernised the castle, putting in central heating etc.

We’ll have to book ourselves in for at least a week to browse the books!
A map of the area of Castletownshend.
The map shows us 7. the fort which Colonel Richard Townshend built around 1650, which was probably the first castle of the area. It is now called Bryans Fort after the Colonel’s son Bryan who inherited the Castle Townshend estate in 1722. A second castle was then built, which now probably exists as the ruins called “Swift’s Tower” (8). The centre block of (1) was probably built around 1780, according to Frank Keohane.
“Swift’s Tower,” which may have been part of an earlier house. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), author and cleric, travelled to the area and his poem “Carberiae Rupes” (Carbery Rocks) is believed to capture the view looking out from the West Cork coastline. One of the guest rooms in the Castle is named The Dean’s Room, as he was Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, in his memory.

The website continues: “Full of character and old-world charm, The Castle offers a welcoming retreat from everyday life. There are lots of things to do in the local area, like whale-watching and kayaking. Or, you can simply rest and recharge your batteries in the unique surroundings. After enjoying a complimentary breakfast, stroll through the winding pathways of our historic grounds, discovering ivy-covered ruins and their stories along the way. Then, as the sun sets, sit out the front with a drink in your hand, watching the boats in the harbour sway gently back and forth.

While you are a guest in our family’s home, the only thing on your To Do list is to relax. We will look after the rest.

I can’t wait to stay here!
Castle Townshend, County Cork

13. Clifford House, Clifford, County Cork – airbnb €

https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/23073945?source_impression_id=p3_1589821677_g%2Fl3KzQeCDhVcv1s&guests=1&adults=1

The airbnb posting tells us you can rent a room in the house:

A beautiful Georgian house set in wonderful countryside, amongst old and established trees with lawns and a walled vegetable garden with exceptional views overlooking the Nagle Mountains and the Blackwater River running below.

Situated between Mallow and Fermoy approx 12 miles from either with three local villages Killavullen, Castletownroche and Ballyhooly each a 2.5 miles away. Cork city is 45 minutes drive.

The space

This is the perfect place to relax, unwind or position yourselves for a weekend of fishing and relaxation. You are welcome to walk around the grounds, relax in the sitting room in front of the fire read or watch TV.

Guest access

The double bedroom is comfortable and spacious with a king size bed with en suite bathroom which has been recently upgraded.

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage tells us: “This solid and handsome country house was built by Richard Martin on a prominent position overlooking the River Blackwater. It developed over the centuries, as evidenced by the various additions. The house is notable for the quantity and quality of historic fabric retained such as the varied small-paned sash windows and slate roof, helping to maintain the integrity of the composition. The cut limestone piers with pineapple caps are a most decorative feature.” 

14. Drishane House whole house rental and holiday cottages – see above

www.drishane.com

15. Eccles Hotel, Glengarriff, Co Cork €€

Email: reservations@eccleshotel.com

Tel: +353 – 27 – 63003
www.eccleshotel.com

16. Elizabeth Fort Parade Houses, County Cork € for 3

https://www.irishlandmark.com/properties/

17. Farran House, County Cork, whole house rental € for 5-8 for one week

https://hiddenireland.com/house-pages/farran-house/

The Hidden Ireland website tells us: “An elegant Italiante style Manor house in mature beech woodland and gardens close to Cork City (15km).

The house is spacious and bright and beautifully decorated and it is set in 12 acres of mature beech woodland and landscaped gardens. Accommodation is exceptionally generous and gracious with antique furnishings, a grand piano and full-sized billiard table.

Situated 9 miles from Blarney, 38 miles from Killarney and 10 miles from Cork city and airpor, this is an ideal location for touring both Cork and Kerry and perfect for family reunions / anniversaries. It is available for self catering and catered rental, with accommodation for up to 16 people. Perfect for vacation rentals.

Ten 18-hole golf courses are within 25km. Children welcome.

18. Galley Head Lighthouse Keepers House, County Cork € for 3-4

https://www.irishlandmark.com/properties/

Galley Head Lighthouse, County Cork, 2016 photograph Courtesy George Karbus for Tourism Ireland, Ireland’s Content Pool (see [2])

19. Coach House Apartments, Glebe Country House, Ballinadee, Bandon, County Cork €

https://glebecountryhouse.ie

A fantastic option for travellers looking for a quiet stay, in a strategic location, to explore Kinsale, West Cork and beyond.  We offer Warm hospitality with a romantic and relaxed atmosphere.

Our facilities are fully equipped with all the comforts you need, as well as beautiful formal gardens with a Lavender walk, Partier and Rose Garden. We have areas for walks, an enclosed garden for our dog guests, and easy access to the main tourist attractions of Blarney, Kinsale and West Cork.

Under the hospitable ownership of Gill and Caroline, this classically proportioned Georgian Rectory has been providing a restful retreat for guests since 1989, and everybody loves it for its genuine country house feeling and friendliness.

Spacious reception rooms have the feeling of a large family home, and generous, stylishly decorated bedrooms have good bathrooms, fast Internet connection, and tea/coffee making facilities. The Rose Room, on the ground floor, has French doors to the garden.

Set in two acres of beautiful, well-tended gardens (including a productive kitchen garden), this charming old rectory near Kinsale has a lovely wisteria over the front door and it is a place full of interest.

Check in is between 4.00pm and 6.00pm when Complimentary Afternoon Tea is served. Please let us know if you require check in at a different time and we can arrange it.”

20. Glenlohane, Kanturk, Cork – B&B accommodation and self-catering cottage €€ in house; Pink Cottage € for 3-5 for one week

Glenlohane, County Cork, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

 www.glenlohane.ie

The website tells us: “Desmond, Melanie and their son, Gordon, run Glenlohane as an extremely private house with an air of friendly informality so unique to Irish Country House Bed and Breakfasts. Certainly not considered a ‘room for the night’ type of B&B, there are no public signs at the roadside to draw the attention of casual visitors. Guests are welcomed on a pre-arranged basis and know where they are going by the detailed directions in this web site. There are no public and private quarters as in a professional place and guests may use facilities of the entire house as if staying with friends.

There are family dogs and a cat in the background and animals play a large part of life at Glenlohane. Less than a quarter of a mile away, and still on the farm, is a Self Catering Cottage that can be rented on a weekly basis. Apart from farm animals, there are also horses, ponies, fantail pigeons and bantam hens in the traditional stable yard.

Whether it be at Glenlohane for B&B or Glenlohane Cottage for self catering, staying is for the discerning visitor who wishes to learn more about Ireland’s history and culture through personal contact with the owners. One is also well positioned for sightseeing throughout the Scenic Southwest of the country.

and Cottages on https://hiddenireland.com/house-pages/glenlohane-cottage/

Glenlohane Cottage has been part of the Sharp Bolster family who are celebrating 275 years in Glenlohane House in 2016. It is an exceptional period cottage built in the 1600’s and added onto over the centuries. Centered in the Glenlohane farm estate, this geographic location is one of the very best locations for touring the Scenic Southwest of Ireland. The Wild Atlantic Way, the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, Dingle, Rock of Cashel, Cork City, Blarney, Ring of Kerry, Killarney, Kinsale, Bantry & the Beara, and even Schull are all easy day trips.

Glenlohane, County Cork, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The Glenlohane website gives us a history of the house:

Glenlohane Country House was built by Desmond’s antecedents in 1741. Your hosts, Desmond, Melanie and their son Gordon represent the 9th and 10th generations of the same family living at Glenlohane since its inception. Surrounded by terraced lawns overlooking a park like setting, the house was built by John Sharp, of Mount Conway, near Cork City in 1741. Mount Conway still stands.

Early records show the Sharp family in the parish of St. Katherine, Dublin in 1535. As a prominent Quaker family that became eminently successful in the woolen industry in the mid 1600’s, they also built Roundwood House in Co Laois at the same time that Glenlohane was being built in Co Cork. Anthony Sharp was reputed to employ 500 people at the time, which would have made him one of Ireland’s largest employers. For Dublin, that is a sizeable concern even by today’s standards! As sizeable land owners, the Bolsters have been within 5-6 miles of Glenlohane since Elizabethan times and John Hawkes Bolster of Egmont House, Churchtown, Co Cork married Sarah Sharp of Glenlohane in the early 1800’s. The house was extended to its present size shortly thereafter. We now have the opportunity to share our family’s heritage by offering guests Irish Country House Accommodation in the heart of the Co Cork countryside.

Glenlohane, County Cork, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

21. Glenville Park, Glenville, County Cork (previously known as The Manor and as Mount Pleasant) – accommodation €

http://www.glenvillepark.com

Glenville Park, County Cork, August 2020.

This is the home of the late Mark Bence-Jones, whom I refer to so much on this website! Stephen and I were very excited to discover that his daughter rents rooms in the house for visitor accommodation.

Mark Bence-Jones tells us:

p. 139. (Hudson-Kinahan, sub Kinahan/IFR; Bence-Jones/IFR) Originally a two storey five bay C18 house, of rendered rubble with block window surrounds of cut stone; it was fronted by a semi-circular forecourt or enclosure, with a gate at either end. The seat of a branch of the Coppinger or Copinger family, the estate having originally belonged to the O’Keefes. Bought between 1776-1788 by Dr Edward Hudson, who built a new house a short distance from the old one, and at right angles to it; consisting of three storey three bay gable-ended centre, with a fanlighted doorway, and two storey one bay gable-ended wings. This house was the home of Dr Edward Hudson’s son, William Elliot Hudson [1796-1853], composer, collector of ancient Irish music and Irish patriot [his Dublin home was St. Enda’s in Rathfarnham, previously called The Hermitage and Fields of Odin]. The estate eventually passed to Wm Elliot Hudson’s nephew, Sir Edward Hudson-Kinahan, 1st Bt [the son of William Elliot’s sister Charlotte, who married Robert Henry Kinahan], who enlarged and remodelled the house to the design of Sandham Symes 1887. A new two storey front was built onto the house, making it twice as deep, other additions were built at the back, and the original part of the house was reconstructed with two storeys instead of the original three, so as to make the rooms as high as those in the new additions. The new front is in the Victorian-Georgian style, faced in grey cement and of considerable length; it has a small pedimented breakfront with a pair of round-headed windows above a balustraded and fanlighted porch. On either side of the centre is a three sided bow between two bays; the façade being prolonged at one end by an additional bay, beyond which is a three storey one bay wing set back.

Glenville Park August 2020: At the back of the house is a bow fronted pavilion like wing, containing a single large room, joined to the main building by a corridor.
The Historic Houses of Ireland website identifies the Hudson-Kinahan arms are displayed in the pediment of the unusally arranged central breakfront of Glenville Park. 

Mark Bence-Jones continues: “Entablatures on console brackets above ground floor windows, shouldered window surrounds in upper storey, parapeted roof. At the back of the house is a bow fronted pavilion like wing, containing a single large room, joined to the main building by a corridor. Long hall running the full depth of the house, with staircase at its inner end, behind an arch with plasterwork mouldings; modillion cornice. Doorcases with segmental pediments in the hall and principal receptions rooms, which have Victorian plasterwork cornices of flowers and foliage; the drawing room has an original C19 wallpaper in faded lemon and grey. Spacious landing or upper hall at head of stairs.”

Glenville Park: Long hall running the full depth of the house, with staircase at its inner end, behind an arch with plasterwork mouldings; modillion cornice. Doorcases with segmental pediments in the hall and principal receptions rooms, which have Victorian plasterwork cornices of flowers and foliage.
Glenville Park: spacious landing at the top of the stairs.
Stephen in our room at Glenville Park, August 2020. You can see Mark Bence-Jones’s book on the bedside table!
Reading a novel by Mark Bence-Jones in our bedroom at Glenville Park, August 2020.

The Historic Houses of Ireland website tells us: “The Hudson-Kinahan family died out with the third baronet, Sir Robert, and the house became the home of Colonel Philip Bence-Jones and his wife, who purchased Glenville from the trustees in 1949. The Bence-Jones family, who originally came from Lisselane, near Clonakilty in West Cork, were looking for a new home after their house, Annemount on Cork Harbour, had been destroyed by fire.” [11]

Mark Bence-Jones continues his description: “Walled garden with old beech hedges and walls of faded pink brick; the back of the Coppinger house being at one side of it. Glen garden containing a noteable collection of rhododendrons and other shrubs and trees; long flight of steps down hillside to formal pool. Bought 1949 from the trustees of Sir Robert Hudson-Kinahan, 3rd Bt, by Col Philip Bence-Jones, who carried out various alterations to the house and threw three small rooms together to make a chapel, which has stained glass windows by Mr Stanley Tomlin and Mr Patckick Pollen, and a stone altar by the late Seamus Murphy, above which is a statue of the Madonna which survived the fire at Annemount.” 

The chapel in the house, with the statue of the Madonna which survived the fire at Annemount. In 1949 a Roman Catholic chapel was formed out of three small first-floor rooms. Alter by Seamus Murphy, stained glass by Stanley Tomlin.

We spent a heavenly week at Glenville Park during Heritage Week of 2020, when we used it as a base to visit several Section 482 and OPW properties.

Glenville Park: “Glen garden containing a noteable collection of rhododendrons and other shrubs and trees; long flight of steps down hillside to formal pool.
The site of an old church, where William E. Hudson is buried, near an ancient well, Doonpeter’s Well. It is the second oldest consecrated ground in Ireland, an information panel told us. A “Pattern” takes place every year on 23rd June, Bonfire Night, an ancient tradition. The sacred well and ring fort are pre-Christian.

22. Inis Beg estate, Baltimore, County Cork – see above, self-catering and weddings €

https://www.inishbeg.com/homepage/

23. Killee Cottage, Mitchelstown, County Cork €€

https://www.irishlandmark.com/properties/

Once one of a number of bothies stretching along this quiet country lane, Killee Cottage and its neighbour are now the only two thatched cottages remaining.

24. Kilmahon House, County Cork

https://hiddenireland.com/house-pages/kilmahon-house/

The Hidden Ireland website tells us:

The beautiful Kilmahon House, built in 1780, is a fully restored Georgian Country House offering elegant Bed & Breakfast accommodation. The house is also available for smaller events on special request. Just 30 minutes from Cork airport and the Historic city of Cork, Kilmahon is situated in the East Cork Village of Shanagarry. It is only a short walk to Ballymaloe Cookery School and the blueflag beaches along Ballycotton Bay.

Kilmahon is an impressive listed Glebe Heritage House of Ireland and has been lovingly restored over a number of years. The result is a seamless blend of original period features and modern facilities, set within the idyllic coastal surroundings of County Cork’s nature.

Spending a few days in this secluded ancient environment offers a chance to rejuvenate in comfort and peace. Weather with a good book in front of a warm fire or a stroll through the old gardens, you will find yourself uplifted and reset from the stresses of everyday life.

THE GROUNDS

While the house was restored so too were the gardens surrounding it. The walled rose garden has been brought back to life and is a feast of colour through the summer months; a perfect and private space for guests to relax in. An expansive lawn to the front provides a large open space and stunning views over fields toward the ocean, while old stone walls and mature trees in abundance maintain the sense of privacy at Kilmahon.

THE RECEPTION ROOMS
Period fireplaces with log fires set a welcoming tone in each of the elegant reception rooms in Kilmahon House. Rooms are tastefully furnished with antiques and original art work effortlessly combining style and comfort. Large Georgian windows provide idyllic views onto the formal gardens below and Ballycotton Bay beyond.

THE BEDROOMS

A wonderful nights rest in one of the six individually designed en-suite bedrooms awaits guests at Kilmahon House. Recent restorations allow for the inclusion of modern power showers and super-king beds whilst still enjoying the ambience of antique furniture, sumptuous furnishings and spectacular scenic views.

BOOKING YOUR STAY

Kilmahon offers guests luxury Bed & Breakfast accommodation or the house also can be taken for exclusive rental where guests can enjoy staying in this outstanding Georgian house and its beautiful surroundings. Julia will be happy to organise with you any catering requirements you have. Kilmahon House is an ideal setting for family breaks. Contact the house directly to check availability.

25. Kilshannig, County Cork holiday accommodationsee above

26. Liss Ard Estate, County Cork, now a hotel

https://lissardestate.ie

Liss Ard, County Cork.

We visited Liss Ard in June 2022, in order to see the Sky Garden by James Turrell. James Turrell is a “light artist” and a Quaker, and his works aim to cause contemplation. I was excited to see his work, and to see Liss Ard. The house has been converted to a hotel but still has the feel of a historic house, while at the same time being modern, stylish and spacious.

Upon our visit I learned that there is more to the gardens than the Sky Garden. The hotel is surrounded by miles of trails, which weave whimsically and which reveal magical settings with artfully placed walls and steps. It is also the site of a ring fort: the Irish “Lios Aird” means high fort.

The website invites us to “Escape to 163 acres of pristine nature with manicured gardens, a 40 acre private lake and James Turrell’s renowned Irish Sky Garden. The Estate features 26 unique guest rooms in the heart of West Cork, the culinary capital of Ireland.” For more about the Sky Garden and the garden trails, see my entry above, in Places to Visit.

We booked in for lunch, in order to make a booking to spend time in the Sky Garden. The house is two storey over basement, built in 1853. The National Inventory describes it as a fine early Victorian country house built by H.W. O’Donovan, who succeeded his brother as “The O’Donovan” in 1870. The Victorian Lake House, also available to guests, was built in 1870.

The garden front has a central canted bay. The inventory suggests that the house was reoriented and extended in the nineteenth century.

Entrance reception at Liss Ard, June 2022.
Sitting room in Liss Ard.

Two windows light the staircase – a large round one and an arched one and the upper hall has top-lit lantern ceiling.

There is also a library for guests.

I did not take a picture of the restaurant as it is in the basement and is more modern. Despite being in the basement it is full of light.

The front porch containing the entrance.
The side of Liss Ard.
The view from Liss Ard.
A large cedar tree in the garden of Liss Ard.

27. Longueville, Mallow, Co Cork – Blue Book accommodation (2-29 people), €€€

https://www.longuevillehouse.ie/

Longueville House, photograph from myhome.ie

The website tells us:

Longueville House is a stunning 302 year old listed Georgian Country House hidden in the heart of a 400-acre wooded estate overlooking The Blackwater Valley, County Cork – the scenic gateway to the Southwest of Ireland.

Steeped in history and packed with character, this owner-occupied 4-star Country House Hotel operates in two distinctly different ways.       

Firstly Longueville House warmly welcomes overnight guests for weekend and midweek stays with various themed and seasonal breaks to experience.                                                                                         

Secondly, Longueville House may be booked privately for Small themed groups, multigenerational families and Corporate delegates who prefer the privacy and pace of an Exclusive Hire Venue. Longueville House sleeps 2 – 29 guests at full capacity. 

Longueville is a family story where for generations The O’Callaghans have preserved and merged their passion for the house, the land, food and entertaining, with the kitchen garden being at the heart of it all.

Maintaining and modernising the house and grounds has been a labour of love for William and Aisling your hosts. A home-from-home, classic but informal, where open log fires crackle in vintage hearths and intriguing heirlooms jostle with fresh flowers from the garden.

For years The O’Callaghans have made an ongoing commitment to only using home grown and local produce, celebrating the seasons, incorporating the most authentic and freshest of ingredients, thus enabling William to create menus bursting with flavour. What’s not grown or reared in Longueville is sourced from local farms and artisan suppliers.

Our ethos is simple, our style is unstuffy, less formal. Conserving the beauty of Longueville through generations of love, to be shared with future generations to come.”

Mark Bence-Jones tells us of Longueville:

p. 191. “(Longfield/IFR) A three storey five bay C18 block, enlarged by the addition of two storey three bay wings in the late Georgian period, probably between 1800-5 by John Longfield, MP; the centre being refaced and some of its windows altered at the same time so as to make the front uniform. One bay central breakfront, Wyatt windows in two upper storeys above a fanlighted doorway beneath a single-storey portico. One of the wings was extended at right angles to the front ca 1866, and a charming Victorian conservatory of curved ironwork was added, probably at the same time. The principal reception rooms, which have simple early C19 plasterwork and doors of inlaid mahogany, extend on either side of the entrance hall, which has a floor of Portland stone. Behind is the staircase hall, with bifurcating staircase which is most unusual in rising to the top of the house; the central ramp and two returns being repeated in the storey above. Longueville was sold by the Longfields to the late Senator William O’Callaghan, whose son and daughter-in-law have opened it as an hotel.” 

The National Inventory tells us of the Turner conservatory:

Constructed in 1862, this glasshouse was the last designed by Richard Turner, whose portfolio includes the conservatory at the famous Kew Gardens in London. The cast-iron framework and attractively flawed glass are of considerable technical interest and create a focal point for Longueville House, to which it is attached.

28. Lough Ine House and Lodge, Skibereen, County Cork – whole house or gate lodge €€€ for two, € for 5-8; or gate lodge €

http://www.loughinehouse.com

The website tells us:

This beautiful holiday house and cottage are set on stunning Lough Ine sometimes spelt Lough Hyne – which is well known as one of the most romantic spots in West Cork.

Just 85km from Cork airport, Lough Ine is easily accessible but also far enough off the beaten track to be the perfect place to get away for either a romantic break or a fabulous family holiday.

The House: “This elegant Regency house was built in 1830 as a hunting lodge for Lord Carbery and maintains several original features to this day. It is surrounded by its own 15 acre estate on the edge of Lough Ine and includes a patio garden, beautiful walkways through the woods and gardens and a private shingle beach. The Lough is a famous beauty spot 5km from Skibbereen and 4km from Baltimore in West Cork, Ireland. The estate is located in a conservation area of outstanding natural beauty.

Elegantly furnished for comfortable country life, polished oak floors and period furniture add to the unique charm of this house. The unique vine-filled conservatory has a large breakfast area and elegant seating area with rattan furniture. Sun pours through the French windows in the interconnecting reception rooms, offering spectacular views of the garden, lough and surrounding hills.

From the elegant panelled hall, a striking curved staircase leads you to the first floor where you will find 3 double bedrooms and a large bathroom. The two front bedrooms overlook the sea and are elegantly decorated with material on the walls and fine furniture. One has an eighteenth century four-poster bed, the others have twin beds. The charming third room overlooks the gardens. The bathroom is worth noting for its historic bathtub, which used to belong to Winston Churchill!

On the ground floor there are two further wood panelled twin bedrooms each with their own bathroom containing bathtub and shower. The rowing boat is at your disposal to explore the island where you can see the remains of an O’Driscoll castle and picnic on the beach, or visit the shoreline and rapids that lead out to the sea.

The Gate Lodge: “The gate lodge is an 18th Century, small cosy house at the entrance of the property on the edge of the lough, with wonderful view of the sea, the island and the fields.

The ground floor is an open plan living room with a large fireplace, a dining area, a kitchenette and a spiral staircase leading to a twin bedroom overlooking the lough, a single bedroom and a bathroom with basin, W.C, bath and shower.

29. The Courtyard, Mallow, County Cork €

https://hiddenireland.com/house-pages/the-courtyard-mallow/

The Courtyard, Mallow has been lovingly renovated and is at the rear of the main Georgian house which was built in 1780 and was the original home of the Carpenter family. The Courtyard, Mallow is situated on a working farm and equestrian centre.

Comprising of two 2-bedroomed self-catering apartments, and one 1-bedroomed self-catering apartment we can provide for couples and friend/family groups alike. Your home-from-home, each apartment at The Courtyard is equipped with all cooking facilities that you need, WiFi, and television sets with endless channels and movies to choose from. Catering and shopping is available upon prior request and subject to availability.

All three apartments have been recently refurbished and each apartment is elegantly decorated with its own unique style and story.  We have scoured vintage and antique shops around the country to add that extra flare and individuality to the living spaces of The Courtyard apartments. We use White & Green luxury organic cotton bed linen on all beds and Dalkey liquid handmade soap to ensure our guests can fully unwind during their stay. All bedrooms are ensuite for your comfort and privacy.

30.  Maryborough, Douglas, Co Cork – Maryborough Hotel €€

  https://www.maryborough.com

The website tells us:

Located in the leafy suburbs of Douglas, yet minutes from Cork City Centre, The Maryborough has a character and style all of its own. Set in 18 acres of 300-year-old listed gardens and woodland, our family-owned boutique hotel affords guests an experience in luxury itself and is among the top hotels in Cork.  The Maryborough Hotel is unique with its charming 18th Century Mansion accompanied by the creatively designed contemporary extension. All of this combined makes The Maryborough the perfect destination.

The hotel delivers a unique experience in an exceptional atmosphere. From the moment you enter, we will guarantee you a level of personal service and care designed to match the exquisite surroundings of our 300-year-old listed gardens. Guests can enjoy an award-winning restaurant in Cork, state of the art Leisure Club and luxurious ESPA spa.

Our History

The Maryborough Hotel & Spa is one of the most renowned 4 star hotels in Cork today. The Maryborough’s Georgian Manor House was built in 1710 by Mr Richard Newenham [note that a Richard Newenham of Maryborough married Sarah Devonsher, niece of Abraham Devonsher of Kilshannig]. Descendants of the Newenhams as well as other families lived there up until the 1990s when it was purchased by the O’Sullivan family. In 1997 the family opened what is now The Maryborough Hotel, a 4 star luxury hotel in Cork with 93 bedrooms.

Since becoming a hotel, the Mansion House has fortunately retained its striking original architectural features. Some of the rooms at The Maryborough still showcase Adam style decoration – notably the entrance hall and some mantelpieces. This adds to the historical relevance of the manor house and contributes to the decadence and luxury of this boutique hotel in Cork.

The former eighteenth-century stately home is set amid acres of woods and beautiful gardens, just south of Cork’s historical city centre in Douglas. John Newenham, a younger brother of the last Newenham owner of The Maryborough was a great gardener and collector of trees. Thanks to his inspired work the gardens at The Maryborough still host quite a collection, in particular of rhododendrons, making it one of the reasons for The Maryborough being one of the best hotels in Cork.

The Maryborough works to continually develop a deluxe guest experience merging the hotels history with beautifully appointed accommodations. In order to incorporate the elegant grandeur of the old house into the hotel, several splendid suites were built on the upper floors of the Mansion House. Read more about our luxury suites in Cork.

To compliment the opulent charm of the old house, the hotel’s contemporary extension was built. It is here you will find our Deluxe, Executive and Family Rooms. Spectacular architecture blended with effortless service and genuine hospitality makes the Maryborough one of the top hotels in Cork.

31. Old Bank Townhouse, Kinsale, County Cork

https://www.oldbankhousekinsale.com

The website tells us:

Take an elegant townhouse in a spectacular location, add a gourmet cafe with a mouth watering array of local produce, mix well with the locals who love the atmosphere here, bring it all together with a very warm welcome and a pinch of kinsale humour… and you’ll have the Old Bank Townhouse.

Set in the heart of Kinsale, this beautifully renovated Bank House is both elegant and welcoming. Just a short walk from the of world renowned restaurants, inviting bars and interesting boutiques of Kinsale… yet only 25 minutes from cork city, the Old Bank Townhouse is popular with golfers and those with a passion for food.

Steeped in history, this Kinsale accommodation was originally the Munster & Leinster Bank.The beautiful Georgian facade with impressive sash windows used to front a waterway for passing ships that berthed in the quays running from the site of on old mill.

32. Orchard Cottage, Dunowen House, Co Cork (sleeps 5)

https://dunowenhouse.ie/

The website tells us:

Orchard Cottage is a beautifully refurbished three bedroom house nestled within the peaceful one acre walled garden of Dunowen House.

This characterful old building, dating back to the 1800’s, has been sympathetically restored to a very high standard. It has three cosy bedrooms, two bathrooms, a wood burning stove and an open plan kitchen living area, offering accommodation for up to five guests. The cottage is suitable for up to three children within that number.

Orchard Cottage is available to rent with Dunowen House or on its own as a cute tranquil hideaway for short-breaks or longer holidays.

33. Perryville, Kinsale, Co Cork – hotel €€

 https://www.perryvillehouse.com

The website tells us:

Perryville House is an elegant and distinctive period townhouse overlooking Kinsale Harbour, County Cork in the south of Ireland. Originally built in 1820 and lovingly restored by us, Perryville House is now a warm, gracious and light-filled boutique guesthouse.

True to its original role as a private residence, Perryville House welcomes guests from all over the world to share and enjoy the finest Irish hospitality and luxury accommodation in Kinsale — your first stop on the Wild Atlantic Way. We invite you to savour a one-of-a-kind, historic hotel experience.

A masterpiece of Georgian architecture with later Victorian embellishment, Perryville House was built in 1820 by Captain Adam Warren Perry for his family whose ancestors continued to reside here until the late 1950s. It had various owners from then until 1997 when fired by the beauty, character and history of this lovely house, Andrew & Laura Corcoran undertook the mammoth task of refurbishing and bringing it back to its former glory. Situated in the heart of Kinsale, overlooking the harbour, Perryville House welcomes guests from April to October each year.

34. Rincolisky Castle, Whitehall, co Cork – renovated, whole house  €€€ for 2, € for 5.

 https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/20771431?source_impression_id=p3_1646737924_o%2BwxYCDhpDgJDHfX

Rincolisky Castle, sometimes also called Whitehall Castle, lies on a hill on the southern shore or Roaringwater Bay, in County Cork in Ireland.

Rincolisky Castle, originally a 5 storey high, square tower house was built in 1495 by the powerful local O’Driscoll clan.

In 1602, after the Battle of Kinsale, the castle was easily taken by English forces. It was then given to Sir Walter Coppinger. He changed the name of the castle into Whitehall, after the townland in which it is situated. The Coppingers lost their possessions in 1690 for supporting James II.

It was then given to Samuel Townsend. The Townsends built a new mansion nearby; Whitehall House. They removed the 3 upper floors of Rincolisky Castle to provide building material for their new mansion. From then on the truncated 2 storeys high remnant of Rincolisky Castle fell to ruin. It is said that there is a tunnel leading from the castle to the mansion. One of the Townsends sent his little page boy down the passage to see if it was clear. The boy was never seen again.

In 2000, the ivy covered ruin of Rincolisky Castle was restored and made habitable again.” [12]

35. Seaview House Hotel (formerly Ballylickey House), Bantry, Co Cork – hotel €€

https://www.seaviewhousehotel.com/

The website tells us:

Welcome to Seaview House Hotel, a delightful 4 star country house hotel full of character, set in private and well tended grounds in the quiet village of Ballylickey beside Bantry in the heart of West Cork.

Offering award-winning cuisine, luxurious B&B and a modern Spa & Bath House.

Mark Bence-Jones writes of Ballylickey House in A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

p. 290. “(Petty-Fitzmaurice, Lansdowne, M/PB) A two storey house of mid C19 appearance; pillared porch between two three sided bows, the front being prolonged on one side by a similar bow, and on the other by a lower service wing ending in a gable. Orignally a shooting box of the Marquesses of Lansdowne (see Derreen); acquired by the Graves family who made a noteable garden here and added an extra storey to the house ca 1950 when they turned it into a hotel. After a serious fire 1984, the house was rebuilt without the additional storey, regaining its original C19 character.” 

36. Southernmost House, Cape Clear Island, County Cork

https://hiddenireland.com/stay/self-catering-holiday-rentals/

The website tells us:

A unique Irish cottage for two overlooking the beautiful seascapes and landscape of Cape Clear Island. Cape Clear Island is located off the coast of West Cork on the Wild Atlantic Way. The Island could be considered as part of the Hidden Ireland that is rarely encountered by visitors to the West of Ireland. The house is situated in a secluded location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Mizen Head, Roaring Water Bay and the South Harbour of Cape Clear.

Built pre-famine in approximately 1830 and occupied until 1890-1894. It was subsequently used as a cow house for many years before being restored in the mid 1990’s. There are no other houses between Southernmost House and the Atlantic Ocean, which suggests that the house is the most Southerly house in Ireland.

Beautiful sunrises to the East and unsurpassed sunsets to the West are daily occurrences at Southernmost House. The natural night time light and early morning light give another dimension to the magnificent views from each window. The landscape and seascapes never fail to captivate during all seasons of the year. There is always a magical aura to the regular cloudless starry nights. Southernmost House is a unique haven, offering guests among other things an opportunity to regain and engage in the quiet and simple enrichment of body and soul.

Southernmost House has been prepared specifically for the enjoyment and pleasure of one or two people. The house comprises a large sitting area with an open turf fire and large sun receiving windows. A dining area with panoramic views and a loft over in the traditional Irish style. A study for scripting reflective thoughts. A meditation room, to embrace calmness and serenity. Kitchen with all necessary cooking and storage facilities. Bathroom with bath and power shower. One double bedroom with traditional style super king bed and high quality bed linen. The house is presented and furnished in an authentic manner to reflect the resources available locally and with an aesthetic sympathic to the simple origins of the house.

There is no television in Southernmost House. There is a mobile internet ‘dongle’ available if required and a music unit with radio and c d player. A cross section of c d’s are on hand as well as selection of board and card games. Also a selection of Irish and classic books. There are two restaurants and two pubs on the Island. Costs include linen, heating, gas, turf and kindling etc for the open fire. We will be on hand to render assistance at any stage. A few non perishable cupboard basics are provided. Unfortunately, we cannot accommodate children or pets. The house is strictly ‘no smoking’. A full list of terms and conditions will be available before confirmation of booking.

37. Springfort Hall, Mallow, Co Cork – hotel

https://www.springfort-hall.com

The website tells us:

Tucked away amid tranquil woodlands , Springfort Hall Country House Hotel is a hotel for all seasons . The gardens and lawns at this 4 Star Hotel are a delight during the Summer , while in the Winter months, there’s no better place to relax with a glass of red wine than in The Baltydaniel Bar. Add to this , impeccably maintained 4 Star Accommodation and Sumptuous dining in The Limetree Restaurant and you will discover a wonderful 18th Century Country House Hotel Countryside. Explore one of the finest 4 Star Springfort Hall Country House Hotel.

Mark Bence-Jones tells us Springfort is (1988):

“(Foott/LGI1912; Grove-White/IFR; Clarke/IFR) A two storey early C19 house with two deep curved bows on each side of its two principal fronts. Open porch with square piers on entrance front, between the two bows and below a central Wyatt window; large triple windows in lower storey of bows. Service wing at side. Spacious bow-eded reception rooms; ceilings and surrounds of early C19 plasterwork. Plaster Gothic vaulting in staircase hall.” 

38. Vienna Woods Hotel (formerly Lota Lodge), Glanmire, Co Cork €

https://www.viennawoodshotel.com/

Mark Bence-Jones writes of Lota Lodge (1988): p. 191. “(Sharman-Crawford/LGI1912) A two storey Regency house with circular projections and iron veranda. Eaved roof. Partly destroyed by fire 1902, rebuilt 1903.” 

The website tells us:

Cork’s Vienna Woods Country House Hotel has a history as dramatic as the rich mustard tone that sets the building apart from the surrounding woodlands on the peaks of Glanmire, Co. Cork.

The building, perched on a height overlooking the Glashaboy River, has stood proudly since 1756. Built by Davis Ducart as a summer leisure lodge for Lord Barrymore, the building was designed in the Regency Style, a style that was very popular in the latter part of the 18th century.

Characteristic traits of the Regency Style include an emphasis on the classical form, and the forging of a close relationship between structure and the landscape, evident in The Vienna Woods Country House Hotel, which nestles in to the surrounding mountainous woodlands.

Vienna Woods, or Lota Lodge as it was originally titled, forms part of a collection of grand country houses in the Glanmire area of Cork, like; Dunkathel House, Glenkeen, Glyntown House, Lauriston House and Brooklodge House.

The house was home to AF Sharman Crawford and his family from 1875-1946, who was thankfully here to restore the house to its original glory after a fire in the early 1900s destroyed some of the original building. Crawford was a managing director of the Beamish and Crawford Brewery, (which was founded by his uncle, William Crawford II), and the city of Cork benefited from his philanthropic disposition, particularly in the arts; in fact the Crawford family funded the establishment of the Crawford Art Gallery and the Crawford School of Art.

As with so many other grand houses in 20th century Ireland, the building was purchased by a religious order in 1951, and was used as a seminary for 13 years, until it was converted into a hotel in 1964 by Joan Shubuek renamed the building ‘Vienna Woods’, because of the parallels she drew between the area, and the Austrian capital city where she had lived for a number of years.

The Fitzgerald family along with Michael Magner, bought the hotel in 2006 and renamed it ‘The Vienna Woods Country House Hotel’. Michael Magner, one of the co-owners, is also the General Manager of the hotel, and this close level of personal care and involvement is most evident in the building’s most dramatic makeover to date, which has taken almost fifteen years to complete.  The Fitzgeralds/Magners have lovingly and painstakingly restored much of the original protected features of the building.

39. Willowhill, Carrigaline, County Cork – airbnb €

https://www.airbnb.ie/rooms/6178061?source_impression_id=p3_1619433189_1NKpKeuVaRCgFh68&check_in=2023-04-11&guests=2&adults=2&check_out=2023-04-14

Our home Willowhill House is nestled in the Cork countryside, surrounded with beautiful rolling green fields and farmland. We are only 20 mins from Cork Airport, and 10 minutes from stunning coastline. We welcome you to come and stay with us and enjoy our home.

Willowhill House is an old country residence., dating back to 1791. We have 4 rooms available to rent, all are double rooms, So we can accommodate up to 8 people. All of our rooms are en suite. We have baths and showers in three of these, and one without a shower and bath only .

We have a sunroom which is beautiful in the summer, a drawing room to relax and read by the fire and a dining room where we will serve you a light breakfast in the morning. We also have beautiful gardens and an old wall garden that you are welcome to wander around.

Whole House Rental County Cork:

1. Ballincurra House, County Cork – coach house, estate cottages, and whole house rental – see above

2. Ballynatray, Youghal, Co Cork, holiday cottages and whole house rental – see above

3. Barnabrow, Cloyne, Co Cork – accommodation (22 bedrooms)

https://www.barnabrowhouse.ie/

The website tells us: “Barnabrow Country House: in idyllic East Cork is discreet – it is like a secret garden that beckons. Visitors may happen upon it nestled in the rolling hills of East Cork with distant but tantalising glimpses of Ballycotton Bay. At first glance it appears contained – its banqueting hall, high on the hill, is not obvious, the twenty-two bedrooms are tucked away in various courtyards and the cottages are not apparent. 

The meandering passages entice the curious to explore, its various decks with their pleasing views invite others to relax while the menagerie of animals offers solace. Combined, these elements make Barnbrow Country House an atmospheric, intimate setting where memories, that last a lifetime, are created.  

Barnabrow Country House in East Cork is one of the most idyllic locations for romantic weddings, corporate events, special celebrations and group gatherings.  

The family and staff at Barnabrow are proud to act as caretaker of this lovingly-restored manor house and 30-acre estate which dates back to the 17th century. A recurrent comment of our guests is an appreciation of the relaxed and warm atmosphere here. Primarily we wish to share this great house with you. 

For the past four years, Head Chef, Stuart Bowes, who is Michelin Star-trained, has ensured a new level of excellence in our food: jus is prepared over three days, handmade sweets are on the pillows, herbal aromas pervade the air.  

Mary Russell’s discerning eye adds an artistic dab here and there to enhance the visual feast that Barnabrow has gradually become. Liam Irwan, our steadfast gardener, preserves its organic nature and tends to the donkeys, goats and fowl that so add to its ambiance.

Cloyne, Midleton, East Cork, Ireland. 
info@barnabrowhouse.ie 
+353 21 4652534  

Mark Bence-Jones writes in A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

p. 32. “A three storey 3 bay double gable-ended C18 house with single-storey 2 bay C19 wings. Wyatt windows in 2 lower storeys of C18 block. In 1814 the residence of Timothy Lane; in 1837, of J.R. Wilkinson; in recent years, of Lt-Cmdr and Mrs Whitehouse.”

4. Blackwater Castle (Castle Widenham, or Blackwater Valley Castle) Castletownroache, Co Cork, Whole House Rental 

https://www.blackwatercastle.com/

The website tells us:

A medieval Castle for rent in Ireland, the spectacular home of the former Viscount of Fermoy and Lords of the Barony of Fermoy, is a truly unique heritage site of international significance. Blackwater Castle, with a history extending back some 10,000 years to the Mesolithic period, is available to hire as a private Castle experience for exclusive Castle weddings, private parties, and family gatherings.

The Castle was first erected in the twelfth century on the site of the Bronze Age fortress of Dún Cruadha, an inland promontory fort which was established some 2,500 years ago or more on a rocky outcrop on the banks of the River Awbeg.   Beautifully appointed suites, welcoming reception rooms, historical tours, and extensive activities from zip-lining to fly fishing are all on offer at one of Ireland’s more interesting and best preserved castles set on a 50 acre estate of mature native Irish trees with a private stretch of the River Awbeg.

Visitors gracing the Castle down through the centuries include Early Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, Druids and Chieftains, Strongbow’s Men at Arms, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Michael Jackson while Oliver Cromwell and his army also laid siege to the Castle.  More recently we have received the President of Ireland Uachtarán Michael D. Higgins who described the Castle as a “beautiful place” and set in “a majestic and pastoral environment”.  This exquisite Castle is available for private exclusive hire as the perfect venue for castle weddings, private parties and self catering holiday vacation rentals. Guesthouse options are also available for group bookings.

The Castle is a highly recommended venue with a coveted 5 star rating on Tripadvisor where we rank as the Best Speciality Accommodation in Cork. We were winners of the Best Hospitality, Tourism and Food Venue in the North Cork Business Awards 2017 while we have been selected for five consecutive years by One Fab Day as one of the best wedding venues in Ireland. in October 2015 The Irish Times listed us among the top ten Castles in Ireland while The Irish Examiner declared on 6 May 2015 that Blackwater Castle was one of only six Irish wedding venues you ever need in your “wedding venue little black book”.

Blackwater Castle is the original seat of the FitzHugh/Roche Family who travelled to Ireland with Strongbow in the late twelfth century. The Castle is located on an elevated site (and former inland promontory fort) above the River Awbeg with magnificent views of the surrounding countryside from the Norman Tower which is reputed to be one of the best preserved medieval keeps in Ireland.  Blackwater Castle is blessed with a rich historical legacy the traces of which, dating from the early Mesolithic period or some 10,000 years ago, are visible today and are entertainingly and enthusiastically revealed and interpreted via guided tour with the owner Patrick Nordstrom.

Mark Bence-Jones also tells us of the castle (1988):

p. 79. Castle Widenham: “(Roche of Fermoy, V/DEP; Brasier-Creagh/IFR; Smyth/IFR; Cotter, Bt/PB) 

The old castle of the Viscounts Roche of Fermoy, on a rock high above the Awbeg River; consisting of a tall keep and a baily enclosed by a curtain wall with bastions and other fortifications. During the Civil War the castle was heroically defended against the Cromwellian forces by the Lady Roche of the time but she was eventually obliged to surrender. The estate was confiscated and granted to the Widenham family [to Colonel John Widenham in 1666, when it became known as Castle Widenham]; Lord Roche failed to recover it after the Restoration and was reduced to dire poverty. Later, in C17 or early C18 a house of two storeys and an attic was built onto the keep, incorporating some of the walls of the old castle; it stood within the bailey, the wall of which was still intact 1790s. Ca 1820s, Henry Mitchell Smyth [1795-1870, from Ballynatray, the gardens of which are on the Section 482 listing], whose wife Patricia (nee Brasier-Creagh) [1802-1837]was the eventual heiress of the Widenhams [via her mother, Elizabeth Widenham], castellated the house and extended it at the opposite end to the old keep; giving it a skyline of battlements and machiolations and a turreted porch on its entrance front. Probably at the same time, the bailey wall was largely demolished; though parts of it still survive, together with some of the outworks and a detached building which is thought to have been a chapel. A terrace ws built along the garden front later in C19 by H.J. Smyth. The rooms of the house have plain cornices and charming Georgian-Gothic shutters in the deep window recesses; the drawing room has segmental pointed doorways with rope ornament. The principal staircase has slender turned balusters, there is also a delightful little spiral staircase of wood, rather similar to that at Dunsany Castle, which goes up to the attic storey, whence a door leads into an upper room of the keep. From ca 1963-76, Castle Widenham was the home of Sir Delaval Cotter, 6th and present Bt [6th Baronet Cotter, of Rockforest, co. Cork] – whose old family seat, Rockforest, was nearby. Sir Deleval and Lady Cotter carried out an admirable restoration of the castle, which was in poor condition when they bought it; the rooms, as redecorated by them, were greatly improved and gained much from their fine furniture and the Cotter family portraits. They also made a garden in the outworks of the castle and opened up the views down to the river, which had become completely overgrown. Unfortunately, in 1976, circumstances oblighed them to sell it and move to England.” 

5. Blairscove House, County Cork: accommodation in the Piggery, Smoke House and Loft. Also weddings.

https://blairscove.ie/

The website tells us:

Blairscove House is situated on the picturesque inlet of Dunmanus Bay in West Cork on the Wild Atlantic Way. Not touched by mass tourism, it appeals to visitors who want to get away ‘far from the madding crowd,’ yet desire premium facilities in terms of service and food, with home from home comforts in terms of welcome and accommodation.

Around the courtyard of a Georgian House, beautifully restored with cobbled paths, shrubs and flowers, are the restaurant and four stylish suites or small apartments which can be rented on a bed and breakfast or self-catering basis. Formerly a piggery, coach house and servants’ quarters, each suite is individually and very lovingly decorated with a quirky mix of contemporary and antique furnishings.

We also have another holiday cottage on Dunmanus Pier in West Cork, just 12km from Blairscove, in the direction of Mizen Head, again on the Wild Atlantic Way driving route.

6. Careysville (Ballymacpatrick Castle), Clondulane, Fermoy, County Cork, P61 VF53 – accommodation for 11 guests

https://careysville.com 

Careysville House sits on an escarpment overlooking the fishery, with stunning views of the Blackwater valley. Guests can look out of their bedroom window and see one of the most stunning stretches of salmon fishing in Ireland, not to mention watch the salmon jumping in the pools below. It was built in 1812 in the Georgian style, on the site of the old ruined Ballymacpatrick Castle.

Mark Bence-Jones writes in A Guide to Irish Country Houses (1988):

 p. 56. “[Montgomery of Killee; Cavendish, Devonshire] “A C18 house of 2 storeys over a high basement and 5 bays, above the River Blackwater. Subtly spaced windows. The seat of the Carey family; passed by inheritance to the Montgomery family, from whom it was bought by the Duke of Devonshire, whose Irish seat, Lismore Castle, is a few miles further down the river.” 

The National Inventory tells us: “Built on the site of Ballypatrick Castle, this house has been used as a fishing lodge by the Duke of Devonshire for many years. It is a substantial house with elegant proportions and articulated by its cut limestone plinth course. The building retains many notable features and materials such as the varied timber sash windows and slate roof. The classically inspired porch retains its timber panelled doors and flanking pilasters. The different window treatments to the side and rear provide further interest to the house. The site retains associated structures such as the solidly constructed outbuildings, which provide valuable context to the side. The piers are finely crafted and indicative of the quality of late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century craftsmanship.”

7. Drishane House whole house rental and holiday cottages – see above

8. Dunowen House, Co Cork, and Orchard Cottage – Blue Book Accommodation, Whole House Rental (sleeps 16)

https://dunowenhouse.ie/

The website tells us:

Dunowen House is a luxury 18th Century Private Rental Property, situated in a stunning coastal location ten minutes from vibrant Clonakilty town. Surrounded by private coves and sandy beaches, it offers guests the chance to totally escape and experience West Cork life.

When you book Dunowen House it is yours exclusively making it perfect for extended families, groups of friends, bespoke celebrations and intimate weddings.

It offers the comforts of a luxury small hotel with the privacy of an historic country estate – all to yourself.”

Orchard Cottage is a beautifully refurbished three bedroom house nestled within the peaceful one acre walled garden of Dunowen House.

This characterful old building, dating back to the 1800’s, has been sympathetically restored to a very high standard. It has three cosy bedrooms, two bathrooms, a wood burning stove and an open plan kitchen living area, offering accommodation for up to five guests. The cottage is suitable for up to three children within that number.

Orchard Cottage is available to rent with Dunowen House or on its own as a cute tranquil hideaway for short-breaks or longer holidays.

9. Longueville, Mallow, Co Cork – Blue Book accommodation (2-29 people), €€€

https://www.irelands-blue-book.ie/houses.html?country=Cork

See above for more details.

[1] https://repository.dri.ie/catalog

[2] https://landedestates.ie/property/3505

[3] https://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/outdoors/gardening/getting-to-the-soul-of-a-magical-place-232846.html

[4] https://www.irelandscontentpool.com/en

[5] https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/20908902/ballymaloe-house-ballymaloe-more-cork

[6] Bence-Jones, Mark. A Guide to Irish Country Houses (originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988 Constable and Company Ltd, London.

[7] https://archiseek.com/2012/blackrock-castle-cork/

[8] Keohane, Frank. The Buildings of Ireland: Cork City and County. Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 2020.

[9] O’Hea O’Keeffe, Jane. Voices from the Great Houses: Cork and Kerry (Mercier Press, Cork, 2013).

[10] Keohane, Frank. The Buildings of Ireland: Cork City and County. Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 2020.

[11] https://www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Glenville%20Park

[12] https://www.castles.nl/rincolisky-castle

Office of Public Works properties County Cork, Munster

Munster’s counties are Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford.

I have noticed that an inordinate amount of OPW sites are closed ever since Covid restrictions, if not even before that (as in Emo, which seems to be perpetually closed).

Cork:

1. Annes Grove, County Cork

2. Barryscourt Castle, County Cork – currently closed (June 2022)

3. Charles Fort, County Cork

4. Desmond Castle, Kinsale, County Cork – currently closed

5. Doneraile Court, County Cork – house currently closed

6. Fota House, Arboretum and Gardens, County Cork

7. Ilnacullin, Garanish Island, County Cork

Cork:

1. Annes Grove, Castletownroche, County Cork:

Annes Grove, County Cork, 1981 from Dublin City Library and Archives. [1]

Tel: 022 26145, annesgrove@eircom.net

https://heritageireland.ie/visit/places-to-visit/annes-grove-gardens/

This is due to be open soon by the OPW. It does not have a website yet. In December 2015 Annes Grove House and Garden were donated to the state by the Annesley family.

Nestled into an eighteenth century ornamental glen, adjacent to the River Awbeg, the demesne of Annes Grove in north County Cork is the setting for the most exquisite Robinsonian-style gardens in Ireland….

The Gardens at Annes Grove were largely the creation of Richard Grove Annesley in the first half of the twentieth century.” [2]

Annes Grove, County Cork, 1981 from Dublin City Library and Archives. [see 1]

The estate was previously known as Ballyhimmock, and it was acquired by William Grove around 1626.

In 1792 it was inherited by Arthur Grove Annesley (1774-1849) from an aunt by marriage, heiress to the Grove family, after which it was renamed by merging the two family names. [3] Arthur Grove Annesley’s uncle Francis Charles Annesley, 1st Earl Annesley of Castlewellan, County Down, married Mary Grove who inherited the estate from her father.

At the centre of the garden is a restored Gothic style summerhouse. The main house is of Queen Anne design, from the 18th century. Pergolas, a lily pond, Victorian stone fernery, a woodland walk and river garden, a rockery and wild water garden create an atmospheric setting.

From “In Harmony with Nature, The Irish Country House Garden 1600-1900” in the Irish Georgian Society, July 2022, curated by Robert O’Byrne.

2. Barryscourt Castle, County Cork:

Barryscourt Castle by Julia Delio, flickr constant commons, August 2009.

From the OPW website https://heritageireland.ie/visit/places-to-visit/barryscourt-castle/:

Barryscourt Castle was the seat of the great Anglo-Norman Barry family and is one of the finest examples of a restored Irish Tower House. Dating from between 1392 and 1420, the Castle has an outer bawn wall and largely intact corner towers. The ground floor of the Tower House contains a dungeon into which prisoners were dropped via the ‘drop-hole’ located on the second floor.

The Barrys supported the Fitzgeralds of Desmond during the Irish rebellions of the late sixteenth century. To prevent it being captured by Sir Walter Raleigh and his army, the Barrys [David Barry, 5th Viscount Barry (1550-1617)] partially destroyed the Castle.

During the Irish Confederate War of the seventeenth century Barryscourt Castle was once again successfully attacked.  Cannon balls lodged in the wall above the Castle entrance bear witness to this conflict. The last head of the Barry family was Lord David Barry.

Barryscourt Castle has been extensively restored. The Main Hall and Great Hall have been completed and fittings and furnishings reinstated. Within the Castle grounds, the herb and knot garden and the charming orchard have been restored to their original sixteenth century design.

After David Barry’s death in 1617 the family made Castlelyons their principal seat (now a ruin). The castle was restored by the OPW and the Barryscourt Trust between 1987-1993, with reproduction furniture made by Victor Chinnery. [4]

An article in the Irish Examiner by Padraig Hoare published 22nd May 2021 tells us that the site is closed and will be for some time:

A reopening date must be established for one of East Cork’s most historic landmarks after languishing in the midst of safety works for five years.

That is according to Cork East TD Séan Sherlock, who said Barryscourt Castle in Carrigtwohill has to be a priority for the Government body in charge of the facility, the Office of Public Works (OPW).

History enthusiasts and families alike were disappointed in the summer of 2020, when it emerged that Barryscourt Castle would remain closed for another 18 months.

The latest update from the OPW given in response to a parliamentary question from Mr Sherlock suggests it may be even longer than the date anticipated a year ago.

The Department of Public Expenditure said restrictions associated with the Covid-19 pandemic “has disrupted the good progress” of works being done to make the facility safe.

It is not possible at this time to give a precise date for reopening to the public,” the department said.

3. Charles Fort, Summer Cove, Kinsale, County Cork:

The Soldiers Quarters, the Hospital ward, the Lighthouse (by Robert Reading) and Magazine of the 17th Century Charles Fort, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Munster, Ireland. Photograph from Ireland’s Content Pool, photograph by Cahir Davitt, 2016, for Failte Ireland. [5]

General Enquiries: 021 477 2263, charlesfort@opw.ie

https://heritageireland.ie/visit/places-to-visit/charles-fort-national-monument/

From the OPW website:

As one of the country’s largest military installations, Charles Fort has been part of some of the most momentous events of Irish history. During the Williamite Wars, for example, it withstood a 13-day siege before it fell. Later, in the Civil War of the early 1920s, anti-Treaty forces on the retreat burned it out.

Charles Fort is a massive star-shaped structure of the late seventeenth century, well preserved despite its history. William Robinson, architect of the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, Dublin, is credited with designing it. Its dimensions are awe-inspiring – some of the outer defences are 16 metres high.

The view from the ramparts looking out over Kinsale Harbour is spectacular.

The Soldiers Quarters, and Magazine of the 17th Century Charles Fort, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Munster, Ireland. Photograph from Ireland’s Content Pool, photograph by Cahir Davitt, 2016, for Failte Ireland. [see 5]
The seaward Devils Bastion and lighthouse of the 17th Century Charles Fort, with Kinsale boatyard in the background, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Munster, Ireland; Photograph from Ireland’s Content Pool, photograph by Cahir Davitt, 2016, for Failte Ireland. [see 5]

4. Desmond Castle (also known as the French Prison), Kinsale, County Cork:

Desmond Castle Kinsale 1941, photograph from Dublin City Library archives. [see 1]

General Enquiries: 021 477 4855, desmondcastle@opw.ie

From the OPW website https://heritageireland.ie/visit/places-to-visit/desmond-castle-kinsale/:

Desmond Castle in Kinsale dates from around 1500. It is a classic urban tower house, consisting of a three-storey keep with storehouses to the rear.

Maurice Bacach Fitzgerald, the earl of Desmond, originally built the castle as the customs house for the town. [I think this must be the 9th Earl of Desmond – JWB] It served as a prison in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Because it usually held French inmates, as well as Spaniards, Portuguese, Dutch and Americans, it became known locally as the French Prison and carries that name to this day. The building was co-opted as an ordnance store during the momentous Battle of Kinsale (1601) and served as a workhouse during the Great Famine.

Desmond Castle certainly had a colourful history and this continued into the twentieth century. In the early 1900s it was used as a venue to host local Gaelic League meetings. Finally, in the 1930s, a thriving undertaking business operated from within the National Monument.

The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage tells us:

Freestanding three-bay three-storey tower house, commenced c.1500, abutting earthen terrace to rear. Attached cell blocks and exercise yards to rear (north-west) and platform to side (north-east). Historically used as magazine (1600-1601), as prison for foreign prisoners (1601-1790) and as borough jail (1791-1846). Restored in 1938 currently in use as museum.

5. Doneraile Court, County Cork:

Doneraile Court, County Cork, August 2020.
Doneraile Court, County Cork, August 2020. Tooled limestone porch with deep entablature, Ionic pilasters and columns, a heavy balustraded parpapet and swan neck doorcase. Oval heraldic motif to centre of parapet has curvilinear, foliate and wreath-swag decorative surround. Frank Keohane tells us that the porch is probably designed by G. R. Pain, added in the 1820s.

General enquiries: 046 942 3175, donerailecourt@opw.ie

https://doneraileestate.ie/

From the website https://heritageireland.ie/visit/places-to-visit/doneraile-wildlife-park/:

Doneraile Court towers majestically over the glorious Doneraile Park, a 160-hectare landscaped parkland and wildlife estate.

The house was built by the St Leger family around 1645 on the site of a ruined castle. By the time it was refurbished in the mid-eighteenth century it had become an outstanding example of Georgian architecture. Its associations range from links to the famous St Leger Stakes in horse racing and literature, with famous Irish writers such as Elizabeth Bowen. [A horse race took place in 1742 in which Edmund Burke and Cornelius O’Callaghan met a bet as to whose horse could cover the distance fastest between the church steeples of Buttevant and Doneraile. This gave rise to the term “steeplechasing.”]

Thirteen generations of the St Leger family lived at Doneraile over three centuries. The family had some extraordinary members. For example, Elizabeth St Leger made history when she became the first woman Freemason in the world in 1712.

Elizabeth (1695-1772) was the daughter of Arthur, 1st Viscount Doneraile. He was an active Freemason and sometimes hosted lodge meetings at his home. The story has it that Elizabeth fell asleep in the library, and woke to hear a secret Masonic ceremony taking place. When the Freemasons discovered that she had heard their secret, she had to be sworn in as a member in order to protect their privacy! She remained a member, as can be seen wearing Masonic symbols in portraits. She married Colonel Richard Aldworth, High Sheriff of County Cork.

The fine parklands are designed in the naturalistic style of the famous Capability Brown. They include many beautiful water features, plus a parterre walled garden and gardeners’ cottages. There are numerous pathways and graded walks. Lucky visitors might just spot some of the red deer, fallow deer, sika deer and Kerry cattle that live on the estate.” [6]

The house remained in the hands of the St. Leger family until 1969. Following decades of care by the Irish Georgian Society, it passed to the OPW in 1994.

Doneraile Court, County Cork, August 2020.
Doneraile Court, County Cork, August 2020.
Doneraile Court, County Cork, August 2020.
Doneraile Court, County Cork, August 2020.

From the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage:

“Detached three-storey over half basement country house, built c. 1730, containing fabric of earlier house, built c. 1645. Possibly also incorporating fabric of medieval castle. Extended 1805, conservatory added 1825, extended 1869, and also incorporating other nineteenth-century additions.”

The 1730s work on the house was carried out for Arthur St. Leger, 2nd Viscount Doneraile (1694-1734). Mark Bence-Jones suggests that it was the work of architect Isaac Rothery, but Frank Keohane suggests it could have been Benjamin Crawley. [7] The bow-ended block on the left of the garden front was added 1756-58, payment was made for this to architect Thomas Roberts.

National Inventory Appraisal: “The artist who created the ornate plaster work to the interior is unknown, but was clearly highly skilled. Doneraile Park is associated with Edmund Spenser the poet, who refers to the River Awbeg which flows through the park as the ‘gentle mulla’. The lands were bought by William St Ledger from the Spensers [William St. Leger (1586-1642), Privy Counsellor, Lord President of Munster, 1627, MP for Cork County, 1634, who was appointed, in that year, Sergeant-Major-General in the Army, employed to fight against the rebels in Ireland – JWB].

The timber panelled room to the interior is original to the earliest incarnation of the house. It is thought that it was here that Elizabeth St Ledger [1695-1772] was initiated as one of only three female members of freemasons in history after eavesdropping on a meeting. Added to this association with important historical characters, Doneraile Court represents more than three hundred years of construction and alteration, with different architectural features representing each phase.”

The bow ends on the front facade were built when improvements were made by the Hayes St. Leger 2nd Viscount of the second creation (1755-1819), between 1804-1808. At this time a new kitchen was added to the back of the house along with a now-lost Gothic conservatory.

The Hall was remodelled in the 1820s, when it was extended into the new porch. It has a screen of paired Ionic pillars, a frieze decorated with rosettes and an acanthus ceiling rose.

Mark Bence-Jones writes in his A Guide to Irish Country Houses:

“…On the other side of the house, a wing containing a new dining room was added 1869 by 4th Viscount Doneraile of the later creation. At the back of the hall is an oval late-Georgian staircase hall in which a staircase with slender wooden balusters rises gracefully to the top of the house beneath of ceiling of Adamesque plasterwork. To  the right of the staircase hall is one of the rooms of the original house, with a corner fireplace and fielded panelling; it was possibly in here that, ca 1713, Elizabeth St Leger was initiated as one of the only three women Freemasons in history, after she had been caught spying on a Lodge meeting held by her father. Behind this room was the vast and splendid dining room of 1869 which formerly had an immense mahogany sideboard in a mirrored alcove confronting a full-length portrait of the 4th Viscount with his favourite hunter. He was one of the greatest Victorian hunting men; ironically, he died of rabies through being bitten by a pet fox.  The three drawing rooms on the other side of the house are early C19 in character and probably date from the reconstruction after the fire; they have simple but elegant friezes, overdoors with volutes and windows going right down to the floor.  The long connection of the St Legers with Doneraile ended when Mary, Viscountess Doneraile died 1975. The garden, which boasts of a Lime Walk and a long “fishpond” or canal surviving from the original C18 layout, is now maintained by the Dept of Lands; as is the park, in which there is still a herd of red deer. The house, after standing empty for several years and becoming almost derelict, is in the process of being restored by the Irish Georgian Society, with a view to finding someone who would be willing to take it on. The 1869 dining room wing has been demolished.” [8]

From the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage: “Floating elliptical winder staircase with curved newel post and turned timber banisters. Timber treads with carved timber panels to side. Decorative render roses under stair. Ornate Adam-style ceiling with central ceiling rose and decorative fluted surround to stair ceiling.”

The staircase hall is lit by a tall round-arched window above an elliptical window.
The ceiling of Adamesque plasterwork, over the elliptical floating staircase (ie. Neoclassical interior design like the work of Scottish architect William Adams and his sons, most famous of whom are Robert and James).
Memorial to Lady Elizabeth St Leger, Viscountess Doneraile (d. 1761), in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin, wife of Hayes St Leger, 4th Viscount Doneraile (1702-1767), daughter of Joseph Dean, Lord Chief Baron of the Court of Exchequer and of Margaret Boyle, daughter of Roger Boyle of Castlemartyr in County Cork.
The landscape of Doneraile is laid out in “Capability” Brown style, which is characterized by a natural flowing appearance rather than more formally patterned gardens.

6. Fota Arboretum and Gardens, Carrigtwohill, County Cork

General enquiries: (021) 481 5543 https://fotahouse.com/

fota.arboretum@opw.ie

From the OPW website: https://heritageireland.ie/visit/places-to-visit/fota-arboretum-and-gardens/

Fota House was designed by 19th century architects Richard and William Morrison. From the beautifully proportioned rooms with exquisite plasterwork, to the preserved service wing and kitchens, Fota House offers visitors an intimate look at how life was lived in the past, for the cooks, butlers, footmen and maids who supported the lavish lifestyle of the gentry. Our painting collection is considered to be one of the finest collections of landscape painting outside the National Gallery of Ireland and includes works by William Ashford PRHA, Robert Carver, Jonathan Fisher and Thomas Roberts.” [9]

Front porch of Fota House. Fluted baseless Green Doric columns support a weighty entablature in which wreaths alternate wiht the Barry crest in the metopes.

Mark Bence-Jones writes in his A Guide to Irish Country Houses:

(Smith-Barry (now Villiers)/IFR) After Barry’s Court had been abandoned by the Barrymores, a hunting box was built on the nearby Fota Island, in Cork Harbour, by Hon John Smith-Barry [1725-1784], a younger son of 4th Earl of Barrymore, to whom Fota and some of the other Barrymore estates were given 1714. This house, of three storeys and seven bays, was greatly enlarged ca 1820 by John Smith-Barry [d.1837, grandson of his earlier namesake] to the design of Sir Richard Morrison, so that it became a wide-spreading Regency mansion of stucco with stone dressings. The original house, given a single-storey Doric portico with fluted columns and acroteria beneath a pedimented Wyatt window, remained the centre of the composition; flanked by two storey projecting wings with pedimented ends on the entrance front and curved bows on the garden front. A long two storey service range was added at one side. In 1856, a billiard room wing, in the same style as the Morrison wings but of one storey only, was added on the entrance front, projecting from the end of the service range. The space between this and the main building was filled in ca 1900 by Arthur Smith-Barry, 1st (and last) Lord Barrymore of a new creation [(1843-1925), grandson of John Smith-Barry], with a single-storey range containing a long gallery.” [10]

Frank Keohane tells us that the later John Smith-Barry settled here after his marriage to Eliza Courtenay of Ballyedmond, Midleton, County Cork. He was illegitimate, so perhaps he built the home to establish his reputation. [11] Smith-Barry hired John and William Vitruvius Morrison to enlarge the hunting lodge which had been built by his grandfather. He also built sea walls around the island and re-routed the public road to form a deer park and carriage drives around the shore.

Fota House facing onto the Pleasure Garden, photo by George Munday, 2014, Ireland’s Content Pool. [12]
Arthur Hugh Smith-Barry (1843-1925), 1st Baron Barrymore.

Bence-Jones continues:“The exterior simplicity of Fota is a foil to the splendours within; for the interior has that richness which Sir Richard Morrison and his son, William Vitruvius, were so well able to create. The hall, which runs the entire length of the front of the original house, is divided by screens of paired Ionic columns with yellow scagliola.” The long gallery was designed by William H. Hill.

Fota House, County Cork, August 2020. The hall, which runs the entire length of the front of the original house, is divided by screens of paired Ionic columns with yellow scagliola. The floor is paved with Portland stone with inset iron grilles that served the old central-heating system. The entablatures of plasterwork have the repeating pattern of wreaths and Smith-Barry crests the same as on the porch.
The central compartment of ceiling plasterwork has heavy swagged laurel garlands and lyres.
The ceiling rose in the long hall, with oak leaf wreath entwined with snakes.

To the right of the long hall are the Drawing Room and Library. The Drawing Room is entered via a small ante-room.

The ante-room at Fota.
The ante-room at Fota, with stencilwork by Sibthorpe & Son of Dublin.

The Drawing Room Ceiling has deep borders with floral wreaths containing doves, alternating with lozenges of bay leaf containing Apollonian trophies of musical and hunting instruments. The drawing room and ante-room ceilings were added to in the 1890s with stencilwork and gilding by Sibthorpe & Son of Dublin.

The Drawing Room, Fota.
The Drawing Room, Fota. The fireplaces throughout Fota are of Neoclassical statuary marble, with Ionic columns and friezes enriched with wreaths and garlands.
The Drawing Room, Fota. The ceiling of the drawing room, which entends into one of the bows on the garden front, has a surrounding of foliage, birds and trophies in high relief, similar to that in the library, and late C19 stencilled decoration and panels of pictorial paper in the centre.
The Drawing Room, Fota.
The ceiling of the drawing room, which entends into one of the bows on the garden front, has a surrounding of foliage, birds and trophies in high relief, similar to that in the library, and late C19 stencilled decoration and panels of pictorial paper in the centre.
The Drawing Room, Fota.
The library, Fota.

To the left of the hall is the Dining Room. It has a screen of grey scagliola Corinthian columns at the sideboard end, and rich plasterwork with a ceiling border of vines on a trellis ground and a frieze of bucrania draped with garlands.

There are elaborate plasterwork ceilings in the library and dining room, which are in the Morrison wings, at either end of the hall; the dining room has a screen of grey marble Corinthian columns.
The chimneypiece in the dining room is garlanded with vines and flowers.

Also on display in the main reception rooms is a fine collection of art work described as the most significant of its type outside the National Gallery of Ireland.  Masterpieces of the eighteenth-century Irish Landscape School include works by William Ashford (1746-1824); George Barret (1730-84); Robert Carver (c.1730-91); and Thomas Roberts (1748-78).  Nineteenth-century art is represented by Daniel Maclise (1806-70); Erskine Nicol (1825-1904); and James Arthur O’Connor (1792-1841).  An entire room is dedicated to Irish watercolours and features the work of Mildred Anne Butler (1858-1941); Hugh Douglas Hamilton (c.1740-1808); and George Petrie (1790-1866).” [13]

At the back of the house is the study, which extends into one of the bows. It has a simple frieze of wreaths.

The Study, Fota.

Bence-Jones continues: “A doorway opposite the entrance door leads into the staircase hall, which is of modest size, being the staircase hall of the original house; but it has been greatly enriched with plasterwork. The ceiling is domed, with wreaths on the pendentives and eagles in the lunettes; there is a frieze of wreaths and at the head of the stairs two fluted Tower of Winds columns frame an enchanting vista to a second and smaller staircase, leading up to the top storey.” The stairs are of cantilevered Portland stone, with brass balusters and a mahogany handrail.

The staircase hall, which is of modest size, being the staircase hall of the original house; but it has been greatly enriched with plasterwork. The ceiling is domed, with wreaths on the pendentives and eagles in the lunettes; there is a frieze of wreaths and at the head of the stairs two fluted Tower of Winds columns frame an enchanting vista to a second and smaller staircase, leading up to the top storey. 

At the top of the stairs is a small recess, leading up to the secondary stair, with a pair of shell-headed niches, a Greek-key border and a pair of Tower of the Winds columns. A cross-corridor gives access to the bedrooms, the differing levels resulting in various little lobbies and landings.

The principal bedroom suite is placed over the Dining Room and communicates directly with nurseries in the service wing. The suite contains a boudoir with barrel-vaulted ceiling and a half-dome decorated with doves trailing garlands. Plaster drapery fills the lunette to the vault with a little top-lit skylight at the apex of the dome with amber and blue coloured glazing.

The Boudoir.
The Boudoir.
The Boudoir.

Fota passed to John Smith-Barry’s great-granddaughter Mrs Dorothy Bell (1894-1975), the last of the clan to live on the Barry estates. It was sold to University College Cork and in 1983, Richard Wood took a lease of the house and restored it with John O’Connell as architect, to display his collection of Irish art to the public. It was then sold and the pictures removed, and in 1991 the house and arboretum passed to the Fota Trust and in 1999 extensive conservation work was carried out under the direction of John Cahill of the Office of Public Works. [14]

The Nursery.
The servant’s bedroom.
The game store larder.
The Kitchen.
The back stairs in Fota.

Bence-Jones writes: In mid-C19, James Hugh Smith-Barry laid out formal gardens behind the house, with lawns and hedges, wrought-iron gates and rusticated piers, a temple and an orangery. He also began to plant the arboretum, which has since become world-famous. The planting was continued for more than a century after his death by his son, [Arthur Hugh Smith-Barry (1843-1925)] Lord Barrymore [1st Baron Barrymore], and by Lord Barrymore’s son-in-law and daughter, Major [William Bertram] and Hon Mrs [Dorothy] Bell; in the mild climate of Fota many rare and tender species flourish. The demesne of Fota extends over the entire island, which is skirted by the road and railway from Cork to Cobh; there are impressive Classical entrance gates by Morrison similar to those at Ballyfin, Co Laois and Killruddery, Co Wicklow. On the point of the island is an early C19 castellated turret, by John Hargrave of Cork. Fota was sold 1975 to University College Cork.” 

The OPW website tells us:

The arboretum and gardens on Fota Island, just 16 kilometres from Cork city centre, are an essential destination for any one of a horticultural bent.

The arboretum extends over 11 hectares and contains one of the finest collections of rare, tender trees and shrubs grown outdoors in Europe. The unique conditions at Fota – its warm soil and sheltered location – enable many excellent examples of exotics from the southern hemisphere to flourish.

The gardens include such stunning features as the ornamental pond, formal pleasure gardens, orangery and sun temple. James Hugh Smith-Barry laid them out in the first half of the nineteenth century. Fota House, the Smith-Barrys’ ancestral home, still stands. The house, arboretum and gardens share the island with a hotel and golf resort and a wildlife park. [15]

7. Ilnacullin, Garanish Island, Glengarriff, Bantry, County Cork:

https://garinishisland.ie/plan-a-visit/

Italian garden, Garnish Island, Glengarriff, Beara, Co. Cork, Photograph by Chris Hill 2014, Ireland’s Content Pool. [see 5]

general enquiries: (027) 63040

garanishisland@opw.ie

Ilnacullin is an island in the coastal harbour at Glengariff in Bantry Bay. It has an almost sub-tropical climate with mild winters and high levels of rainfall and humidity. These conditions favour the growth of exotic plants. The gardens were set out in the Arts and Crafts style and contain Italianate pavilions and follies, framed against a backdrop of beautiful views.

From the OPW website https://heritageireland.ie/visit/places-to-visit/ilnacullin-garinish-island/:

Ilnacullin is an island garden of diminutive size and rare beauty. Nestled in the sheltered coastal harbour at Glengarriff in Bantry Bay, the gardens display a wealth of unique horticultural and architectural gems. Bryce House is a fitting memorial to the visionary creators of this unique place. 

The gardens of Ilnacullin owe their existence to the early twentieth-century creative partnership of John Annan and Violet Bryce, the island’s owners, and Harold Peto, an architect and garden designer. The area enjoys a mild and humid micro-climate that makes for spectacular and flourishing plant life all year round.

Small ferry boats and 60-seater waterbuses take visitors to Ilnacullin regularly. The short crossing usually includes an extra treat – a visit to the nearby seal colony and an opportunity to glimpse majestic sea eagles.

The Island was bequeathed to the Irish people by the Bryce’s son, Roland, in 1953 and is cared for by the OPW. Bryce House contains material from the Bryces’s lives, including John Annan Bryce’s collection of Burmese statues, Chinese ceramics, Japanese woodblock prints, metal works and rare exotic objects. There are also Old Master drawings by Salvator Rosa, Mauro Antonio Tesi and Giambattista Tiepolo. Over the years the Bryces hosted prominent cultural figures such as George (AE) Russell, George Bernard Shaw and Agatha Christie. [16] You can see a tour of the house and gardens on the website.

From “In Harmony with Nature, The Irish Country House Garden 1600-1900” in the Irish Georgian Society, July 2022, curated by Robert O’Byrne.
From “In Harmony with Nature, The Irish Country House Garden 1600-1900” in the Irish Georgian Society, July 2022, curated by Robert O’Byrne.

[1] https://repository.dri.ie/

[2] p. 12, Living Legacies: Ireland’s National Historic Properties in the care of the OPW, Government Publications, Dublin, 2018.

[3] p. 310, Keohane, Frank. The Buildings of Ireland. Cork City and County. Yale University Press: New Haven and London. 2020.

[4] p. 261, Keohane, Frank. Buildings of Ireland: Cork City and County, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2020.

[5] https://www.irelandscontentpool.com/en

[6] See also https://doneraileestate.ie

[7] p. 377. Keohane, Frank. Buildings of Ireland: Cork City and County, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2020.

Another work Keohane identifies as being by Benjamin Crawley is Castle Bernard, now a ruin in County Cork:

Castle Bernard, County Cork, photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

[8] p. 105. Mark Bence-Jones. A Guide to Irish Country Houses (originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988 Constable and Company Ltd, London.

[9] fotahouse.com

[10] p. 127. Mark Bence-Jones. A Guide to Irish Country Houses (originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988 Constable and Company Ltd, London.

[11] p. 412. Keohane, Frank. Buildings of Ireland: Cork City and County, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2020.

[12] https://www.irelandscontentpool.com/en/media-assets/media/44873

[13] http://www.buildingsofireland.ie/PlacesToSee/Cork/

[14] p. 412. Keohane, Frank. Buildings of Ireland: Cork City and County, Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2020.

[15] https://heritageireland.ie/visit/places-to-visit/fota-arboretum-and-gardens/

[16]https://garinishisland.ie/the-house-and-gardens/