Westropp House is located at the end of the main street of Inishannon in Co Cork and stands out for the quality of its preservation and well proportioned design. It reputedly dates from around 1760.
Charles Fort guards the entrance to Kinsale harbour and is the best example of a seventeenth century star fort in Ireland. Shown here, is a view from the battlements towards Kinsale with the bridge to the fort’s classical entrance gate in the foreground. Also shown, is the complicated arrangement of counterscarp on the landward side of the ditch with firing steps allowing covering fire along lengths of the outer defence as well as from it. It is a classic example of the ‘trace italienne’ form of fortification which with a low thick wall outer ditch and angular bastions sought to mitigate the destructive power of artillery attack.
Desmond Castle, Kinsale, Co.Cork, is an elegant tower house at the top of a steep street within the town. It dates from around 1500 and was built as a Customs house and served as a prison in the 18th century. Upper floors display restored gothic windows of the period while the ground floor has later insertions of Georgian pane sash windows. It came under the care of the state in 1938 and today houses a museum of wine. Worth a visit.
Starbucks, Emmet Place, in Cork City, is housed in the very elegant ‘Queen Anne House’. This has unusual cornice shaped keystones over the windows which are interspaced with fine gauged brickwork. Inside, much of the detail is gone, and most rooms are stripped back to the brickwork. However it has character and an elegant period staircase remains. The building has been claimed to date from 1730.
In recent years, a large shopping centre has been built around and to the rear of the building which swamps its setting and makes it look a bit incongruous. The development also encroaches along its side in the form of a narrow glazed extension to the coffee shop and is attached at the rear. The effect is reminiscent of the extreme contrast between old and new found in places like Boston Massachusetts.
The walls of Bandon Co Cork at their south west corner near St Peter’s Church. These were built between 1613 and 1627 to enclose the principal settlement of the Munster Plantation. Unlike the contemporary Derry Walls, they were not built low and thick to withstand cannon fire but rather tall and thin in the medieval way with circular projecting towers.
Further up the inlet is Courtmacsherry itself. This is the former gatehouse to what is now the Courtmacsherry Hotel and which was once a villa owned by Lord Shannon. The building with gothic inspired windows and overhanging eaves is very picturesque at the edge of the bay.
Timoleague Abbey is in County Cork. It is located in a very beautiful location at the head of an inlet known as Courtmacsherry Bay. The Abbey was a Franciscan house. Founded in 1240, it flourished until 1642 when it was burnt by Cromwellian soldiers. Today, it remains an impressive ruin with much detail remaining. Worth a detour to visit if you are in the area.
Back into the centre of town. This is the Guildhall, rebuilt in 1912, after a devastating fire, and overlooked by the city’s seventeenth century walls.
Where shall we go next?
Back into town past Glendermott Presbyterian Church. This building is the oldest with a surviving roof in the area and has a foundation stone in its porch dating it to 1696 - ‘How amiable are thy tabernacles o Lord. Ms John Avery 1696’
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West of Ireland and further afield with a little information about their history.