Thursday, September 3, 2009

Bandon - A visit to St Peter's Church, Castle Bernard and The Farm

Heavy rain on the day before the Cork Chapter outing to Bandon failed to dampen the enthusiasm of the over fifty people who gathered at St. Peter’s Church on 12th July. Fortunately, the outing took advantage of a break in the bad weather and the day turned out to be remarkably fine.

The group were welcomed to St. Peter’s Church by the rector, Canon Patrick Hewitt. Clare McCutcheon provided a fascinating history of the building which was constructed in 1847 but is on the site of an early 17th church. Lady Frances Carter drew attention to the fine memorials to members of her family, the Earls of Bandon, and IGS member Annabel Adams kindly provided a short recital on the organ. Members enjoyed admiring the building and were also able to view the Bandon Corporation Minute Book and some of the other interesting church items.

It was then a short trip to Castle Bernard, now a large picturesque ruin, but originally the seat of the Bernards, Earls of Bandon. The castle was acquired by the Bernards in the early 17th century and later extended, with a Gothic facade added in the early 19th century. Burnt in 1921, it forms a dramatic ruin beside a lake, fine trees and a golf course. Lady Frances Carter kindly invited members to her new house to view historic Bernard photographs and portraits.

A final short journey brought the group to The Farm, a Gothic villa built by Captain Bernard in the early 19th century. It is now home to Colman and Ann O’Sullivan who welcomed the members to the house with its stunning hallway and interesting architectural details. Refreshments, including strawberries and cream, were enjoyed before Catherine Fitzmaurice provided a short history of the property. Thanks are due to Catherine Fitzmaurice (Cork Chapter Treasurer), for all her work in organising such a successful visit to the Bandon area.

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