Reconstruction of Carrignacurra Castle


A Progress Report



It is our intention to keep our readers up to date on this important issue.

It will be remembered that last year we reported that Mr.Maxim Gormanov had purchased the Castle and a four acre piece of land from the then owner, Mr.Derry Kelleher.

It was also stated that the work of reconstruction had begun.

Carrignacurra Castle is a fine example of a 16th.c. Tower House and an important asset to our community. It was very distressing that it had been allowed to deteriorate over the centuries since it was last lived in. Most of our community would like to see this historical building saved for posterity so long as this is done with good taste and without altering it’s basic appearance or construction.

There were three Tower Houses built in Inchigeelagh Parish by the O’Leary ruling Clan. Two of these, Carrignaneela and Dromcarra, were sadly and wilfully destroyed in later years, and the only remaining structure created during our Gaelic past is the noble pile at Carrignacurra. Even this was not expected to be spared by the vandals, and there was serious demolition of the four corners of the castle done during this century, and in an attempt to cause the castle to fall, and profit to accrue from the sale of stone. Luckily this failed due to the immense strength built in to these structures. I should also add that this did not occur during the period of ownership by the Kellehers, who always respected the history of this building and did their best to ensure a safe future for it.

Opinions might vary as to how a reconstructed castle should be used. Mr.Gormanov intends to restore it to it’s original use as a residence, but for himself. This might not be your or my choice, but I suggest we must accept this as the price of having the work done. Without this motivation we would probably not have a benefactor like Mr.Gormanov who would pour his own money, time and efforts into the Project.

We would probably all have preferred to see the work done by a State body and with a Grant to cover all the costs, from the Taxpayers of Ireland or maybe Europe. But many years of lobbying for this has been unsuccessful, and there was no indication that any such efforts were going to fall on receptive ears.

So we should be pleased that the work is in hand, and by and large, I believe this is the general consensus. We can improve matters by assisting Mr.Gormanov in his work, for example by offering advice on local detail where we have it and perhaps he has not. We can also try to ensure that when finished, local people or interested visitors can have access to the castle to see the final result. Mr.Gormanov has assured us that this will be arranged.

It is sad therefore to have to report that work on the reconstruction is temporarily halted. Whilst it is none of our business to know the detailed reasons for this, it seems that the Statutory Bodies responsible for overseeing such work, perhaps Duchas or The Cork County Council Archaeological Unit, are not satisfied with the Planning or execution of it.

We hope that all concerned will soon reach agreement on what is to be done, and that by this time next year we will be able to report a new surge of progress.

It is in all our interests and for the benefit of our community, and our Tourist Trade, that this valuable amenity is saved and preserved for some purpose for the years ahead.