Buttevant, on the road north from Cork, was also a walled town. It was founded in the early 1200's by the Anglo Normans and its walls were erected after 1317 . Though now largely gone, this view from the north east accross the Awbeg River showing the catholic church (1828) and the ruins of the adjacent Francuscan Friary (1251) gives some idea of what it might have looked like as a defensive settlement. The walls followed this river and, in their prime, were probably of similar height to the friary- a considerable investment. The town plan has been linked to similar towns founded during the period in North Wales and the bastides of south western France. All three areas were under the nominal control of Henry III, King of England, Lord of Ireland, and Duke of Aquitaine.
Baltimore, Co Cork, is a busy village dominated by its restored castle. This is recorded as being built by the Normans in 1215 and was in occupation until the mid Seventeenth Century. Effectively a tower house it is longer and lower than that late medieval type. It is a ‘hall house’. Such buildings typically are entered at first floor, have slit windows at ground floor level and a great hall at first floor with more open windows. They rarely have substantial outer defences.
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.
Marks of Time
Sketches of buildings in the North West and further afield with a little information about their history.