This week we were delighted to have Jenny O’Brien of Christ King Girls Secondary School in South Douglas working in Rubicon’s Midleton Office. Jenny is a Transition Year student, and was with us to learn more about the work we do in archaeology and heritage. As part of that, Jenny undertook a project for the Midleton Archaeology & Heritage blog to look at some local castles in the area. Jenny spent time researching a number of them before writing up her findings. Today she took to the field to photograph the sites and to share what she found with readers. Jenny has prepared the post below for us; everyone at Rubicon would like to thank her for her help, and for exploring the story of some of these sites for us!
Ballyvodock West is a roughly square tower. Only the ground floor remains, except in the South-East corner where the first floor wall survives. (1) The Hodnetts, William and John Oge, were in residence here in 1582. John fitz Edmund Oge died in 1597 in possession of Ballyvodock West, which was then inherited by his son, William. In 1621, William mortgaged the property to Ludovic O’Cahill. (3) How Ballyvodock West came to be in ruins is something of a mystery. Some sources say it was destroyed by gunpowder in the last decade of the 17th century. (3) Other sources say it was blown up in the 1640s, during the Eleven Years War. (6)
Cahermone is a rectangular tower. Today, it is four storeys tall, although it was originally higher. It has an early 17th century appearance. (1) Cahermone was built around 1450 by John Fitzgerald.(8) In 1571, John fitz Edmund of Cloyne acquired the land and took up residence here. (3) In the farmyard, there is an arch stone inscribed with the date 1579, when John fitz Edmund may have renovated the house. (2) John fitz Edmund of Cloyne was then driven into Cork City by his cousin and namesake, John fitz Edmund of Castlemartyr, Seneschal of Imokilly. He returned to Cahermone in 1583. He later abandoned Cahermore for Ballymalloe. (3) In the 1650s, Cahermone was passed to Sir John Broderick. It is now situated on the private grounds of a farm. (8)
Coppingerstown is located in a farmyard. It is four storeys tall, with a conjoined one storey structure. It is connected with the Coppinger and Cotter families. (1) William Shane Cotter lived at Coppingerstown in the mid-16th century, but owned a lot of land elsewhere. The Cotters mortgaged the bulk of their land to John fitz Edmund of Cloyne, who occupied Cahermone. By 1589, Shane Ode MacCotter, brother and heir to William, had only Coppingerstown and Gearagh to leave to his son. In 1638, Shane’s grandson, William, mortgaged Coppingstown to Charles Caldwell, an Anglican clergyman. William’s lands were confiscated by the Cromwellian administration in the early 1650s. (3) Unfortunately the surviving elements of this castle appear to have recently collapsed.
Ballintotis is a small, four storey tower. There is no door to the second floor, and it was probably entered through a manhole from below. Very little of its history is known. (4) Some consider the theory that the tower may have been part of the ‘outer defences’ of nearby Castlemartyr. (5) The tower was granted to George Moore in 1579, but was recovered soon after by the Fitzgeralds. (6)
There is no visible surface trace of Castleredmond. (1) The site has been excavated, starting in June 2001 when three test-trenches were dug. They revealed a 1 metre section of the wall, 0.7 metres in height, made of limestone blocks. In December of that year, three more test-trenches were excavated and they exposed the limestone bedrock. Most of the remainder of the site has been filled with stone. (7)
This castle was ruinous by 1625. It was written by a man called Lewis in the 1840s that Castleredmond was built by a Redmond Fitzgerald during the reign of Henry VIII. Lewis then contradicted himself by saying that the last pre-Reformation Roman Catholic bishop of Cloyne was born in the castle. The bishop he refers to appears to have been part of a family living in Castlemartyr. Several sources say that Castleredmond may have been part of Corabbey. Corabbey was then owned by the Barry family, who seemed to be very connected to the Redmond family, as their names appear together often. (3)
Ballyannan was a two storey, fortified house with an attic, and is now roofless. (1) The first building on the land was owned by the Hodnett family. (8) By 1601 the Hodnetts appear to have lost control of Ballyannan. Edward Gould, a Cork merchant, had the land in his possession by 1641. (3) In 1653, Sir John Broderick, a Cromwellian settler, took possession of the estate and rebuilt it into the fortified Tudor mansion that we see in the ruins today. (8)
1. “Archaeological Inventory of County Cork. Volume 2: East and South Cork”
2. “The Old Castles around Cork Harbour” – J. Coleman, 1915
3. “The Chronicles of Midleton” – Jeremiah Falvey, 1998
4. “Antiquarian Remains and Historic Spots around Cloyne” – J. Coleman, 1913
5. “The Castles of County Cork” – J. N. Healy, 1988
6. “The Castles of South Munster” – Mike Salter, 2004
7. http://www.iamlai.com – Sheila Lane, Consulting Archaeologist