Friday, June 8, 2012

North Cork Visit May 2012

It was a gloriously sunny day for the IGS Cork Chapter outing to North Cork on Saturday, 26th May, 2012.  The original programme for the day had to be changed, but the slightly revised scheme was a great success.

The first venue was Kilbrack House, near Doneraile, where the large group received a warm welcome (and delicious home-made apple juice) from the owners Dr. Miles Frankel and Emer Ransden.  The attractive house was built in 1775 and has had relatively few changes of ownership in its lifetime.  The family house is full of character and members admired the main rooms and unusual staircase.  It was wonderful to wander around the adjoining impressive farmyard and gardens and, in fact, the serene atmosphere and beautiful weather made it tempting to linger long at Kilbrack ... but lunch beckoned so members reluctantly took their leave.

The next stop was the Nano Nagle Centre at Ballygriffin, the spiritual home of the Presentation Sisters on the site of Nano Nagle's house.  Only the coach house remains and it has been adapted into an exhibition centre and location for retreats, conferences and sustainable living activities.  The weekly Saturday Market was finishing up as the group arrived, allowing for some purchases to be made!  Then, following a light lunch, members were brought on a guided tour of the organic gardens and renewable energy facility.

Burton Park, near Churchtown, was the next destination.  Generous hospitality was shown to the IGS members by owner Rosemary Ryan-Purcell and her family.  The group was divided in two; one half touring the house while the other enjoyed tea on the sunlit lawn, before swapping around.  The house was originally built in the 1660s, burnt in 1690 and subsequently rebuilt in stages.  It was constructed by the Percevals, Earls of Egmont and has been home to the Purcell family for generations.  Members admired the impressive interior, including the recently restored ceiling in the drawing room and the well preserved private chapel at the side of the house

The final destination was Marybrook House, near Kanturk, where Chris and Karen Southgate and their family gave a warm welcome to the group.  Chris spoke about the fascinating history of this interesting house, created over the centuries and incorporating a tower house dating to about 1550.  As a conservation engineer, he was well placed to restore the house, unveiling the layers of history as the work proceeded.  It was fascinating to view the huge fireplace and bread oven which were rediscovered when tons of debris from later alterations were removed.  The house is one room deep and light flooded into the rooms which were full of history, while acting as comfortable and attractive family rooms.  Delicious refreshments were provided to the members at the end of the visit and marked the conclusion of a most successful outing to North Cork.

Thanks to all those who hosted the group on the day and special thansk to Catherine FitzMaurice and Arthur Montgomery for organising the programme.

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