Monday, May 14, 2012

A Visit to Carrigaline and Environs

Some hidden jems within the environs of Carrigaline attracted an impressively large gathering at our second outing of the year. Members came together at Kilmoney Abbey, Carrigaline on a wettish Sunday on the 22nd April. But the rain did nothing to dampen our spirits as we were warmly welcomed by Flor and Michelle Riordan to their beautiful mid-eighteenth century home. Helped by their children, our hosts plied us with beverages and delicious home-made treats served around the blazing hearths of the delightfully appointed dining and drawing rooms. Comfortably refreshed, Flor outlined how his family first acquired the house in 1927 and how his grandfather and father, being more interested in the estate than the house, went on to lavish care on the surrounding farmland. Time passed, by 1997, Flor and Michelle had become the owners of the house and estate. But it was the severe Christmas storm of 1997 that forced our hosts to make decisions about the future of their home as its entire roof succumbed to the force of the storm and was blown down.

Members listened awestruck with admiration as Flor went on to describe the challenge and extent of the work that was needed to restore the roof, plaster work, the venetian window, the exterior and other fine details of the house. We were full of appreciation as our host brought us on a tour of the house to witness the outstanding quality of the finished refurbishment.

Stage two of our itinerary was only a short drive away to the newly restored and extended Knocknamanagh Old School. Built as a school at the end of the reign of William IV, the group were delighted to hear from committtee member, Eileen McGough that the building, thanks to the Herculean efforts of the local community, continues to be used for educational purposes today. Now ready for sustinance, the group were welcomed by Edward Corrigan, committee member, to his tranquil family home, Knocknamanagh House. There, members and friends were graciously entertained to a sumptious sit-down Sunday lunch with the Corrigans in fine surroundings.

Although reluctant to leave the Corrigans, the group then made their way back towards Carrigaline and to the fourth gem of the day, Mount Rivers, the mid 18th century ancestral home to six generations of the Roberts family. Lesley Roberts, raconteur, bibliophile and “inveterate and insatiable collector” held a spellbound audience as he traced the history of his home and family with wit and zeal. Captivated, the group enjoyed being guided round the house to view many thousands of historic objects of interest. Amongst the fascinating items, was some Carrigaline Pottery from the company that had been founded by Lesley’s grandfather in 1928.

Refreshments, courtesy of the committee, completed a fascinating trip to the environs of Carrigaline. Our hearfelt thanks to all our hosts and a special word of appreciation to Dr. Alicia St. Leger who planned and organised the day.

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