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Reconstruction of Carrignacurra Castle.
by Peter O'Leary
This year we can report an exciting new development in the Parish, the long awaited reconstruction of Carrignacurra Castle. There have been tentative plans for this Project for many years, but now it has reached the stage of action.
There were three Tower Houses built in Inchigeelagh Parish by the O'Leary ruling Clan. Two of these, Carrignaneela and Dromcarra, were sadly and wilfully destroyed, and the only remaining structure created during our Gaelic past is the noble pile at Carrignacurra. Even this was not expected to be spared by the vandals, and there was serious demolition of the four corners of the castle done during this century, and in an attempt to cause the castle to fall, and profit to accrue from the sale of stone. Luckily this failed due to the immense strength built in to these structures. I should also add that this did not occur during the period of ownership by the Kellehers, who always respected the history of this building and did their best to ensure a safe future for it.
The new owner of the Tower House is Mr.Maxim Gormanov, who is of Polish-Russian ancestry, has lived in South West Cork for the past 16 years, is an Archaeologist, and has a long experience of the reconstruction of stone built buildings.
The first task was to save the building from collapse by building up and strengthening the four corners which had been undermined. Then followed the installation of three timber sub-floors at the second, third and fifth levels. More recently the old Loft has been restored, and with it its slated roof. In addition there has been considerable rebuilding of loops, windows, door surrounds, the murder hole and other details.
The whole effect is quite remarkable. All has been done in good taste and to a high quality. The original structure has been faithfully followed, and there have been no new or more modern designs introduced.
We understand from Maxim that the building will eventually be restored to allow its use for residence, and this will require a few departures from the original to bring the living conditions up to modern requirements. The sub-floor construction will permit pipes and wiring to be concealed, and there will be use of electrics, water from a well, sewage and storm water disposal and central heating.
There is much to do in the garden areas surrounding the Tower House, and a start has been made in building a low wall where the Bawn wall originally stood. Over the next few years the garden will be brought under control and stocked with shrubs etc.
It is also a pleasure to report that there will be some limited access to allow members of our community, visitors with O'Leary connections and other interested parties to see the work in progress, as well as the finished work.
We will be watching progress with interest and will report this in subsequent issues of the Journal.