Posts Tagged With: East Cork Archaeology

The Castles of Midleton

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!

Location of the Castles discussed in the text (Hannah Sims)

Location of the Castles discussed in the text (Hannah Sims)

Ballyvodock West

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)

Ballyvodock West Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Ballyvodock West Castle (Jenny O’Brien)


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)

Cahermone Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Cahermone Castle (Jenny O’Brien)


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.

Coppingerstown Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Coppingerstown Castle (Jenny O’Brien)


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)

Ballintotis Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Ballintotis Castle (Jenny O’Brien)


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)

Castleredmond Castle (Site Of) (Jenny O'Brien)

Castleredmond Castle (Site Of) (Jenny O’Brien)


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)

Ballyannan Castle (Jenny O'Brien)

Ballyannan Castle (Jenny O’Brien)

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. – Sheila Lane, Consulting Archaeologist

Categories: Midleton Archaeology | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Who Lived on Midleton’s Main Street in 1901?

We decided to have a look at the 1901 Census to see who was living along Midleton’s Main Street in 1901. Our Transition Year student Rob Mitchell took up the challenge, and picked out some of the well known businesses on the street today to see what was going there over 100 years ago. The results are fascinating- read on to find out about the Australian, Tasmanian and Americans living on Main Street, as well as the ‘Fowl Fanciers’ and ‘Fancy Tobacconists’ who worked there. From new born baby’s to immigrant German jewellers, there was a lot happening on the Main Street in 1901. Rob takes up the story:

I have researched the buildings and inhabitants of the Main Street of Midleton from this era and compared this to the present day. Many of the buildings remain largely intact and unchanged. Some questions addressed are;

Who lived in the buildings of the Main Street?

What was the function of the building?

Is there any connection to today’s tenants?

I have selected some of the findings and detailed them below.

Main Street, Midleton, Co. Cork

Main Street, Midleton, Co. Cork

McDaid’s, 55 Main Street, Midleton

This is presently one of the most popular pubs in Midleton. 112 years ago an old shop keeper named Mary Ann Blansfield (80) who sold provisions, along with her daughter Mary Margaret Blansfield (44). The same architect who designed the Palace of Westminster, A.W. Pugin also designed McDaid’s in 1852 at the request from Lord Midleton. Originally designed as two buildings, by 1901 it had become one.

Shanghai House, 25 Main Street, Midleton

This was home to one the O’Brien families. John O’Brien (42) was a shop keeper as was his wife Kate (42). They had five sons Daniel Joseph (16), Thomas (14), Paul (12), Michael (10) and Maurice (9). Two servants were also present on the night of the census, Fanny Morrison (22) and Michael O’Dwyer (24), as well as Kate’s mother Kate Lisk (84).

Boots, 26-27 Main Street, Midleton

As this was once two buildings it was home to two separate families. In No. 26 lived the Barrys. Head of the family was Patrick Barry (49). a shop keeper who lived with his Limerick-born wife Johanna (50). He also had three apprentices- Bridget Barry (16), Kate Colbert (23) and Katie Draddy 16), one servant- Ellie Gearey (18) and one boarder, shoemaker Patrick Lane (23). No.27 was home to a small collection of the Daltons. Robert Richard Dalton (58), born in Derry, was a baker by trade. He lived with his wife Annie (57) and his daughter Queenie (17) who was a scholar.

Cummins Sports, 41 Main Street, Midleton

This was lived in by the Kelleher family. John Kelleher (58) was an accountant in the distillery, his wife Bridget Kelleher (56) was a vintner. They had two daughters Josephine (21) and Mary Ellen (15).

Wallis’s, 74 Main Street, Midleton

Today the site of another popular pub, in 1901 it was home to Richard Fitzgerald (56) a shopkeeper and draper who was the Head of the Family and led a very large household.. Also in residence were his wife Ellen (46), his brother and business-partner Michael (50), children Norah (13), Michael (15) and William (5) (all scholars) and brother and sister-in-law William Walsh (39) and Kate Fitzgerald (43). They had two servants, Hannah Higgins (24) and Kate Keeffe (16) as well as five boarders- Shop Assistant Michael Desmond (27), Dress-Maker Norah Higgins (26), Milliner Margaret Power (26) and Apprentices William Lane (15) and Michael Manning (15).

Leonardo’s Restaurant, 83 Main Street, Midleton

This was the home of William Deasy (33) who was a tailor and his wife Mary (33). Also present was Timothy Riordan (17) who doubled up as their servant and as a second tailor. They had three sons, Thomas (3), Francis (1) and William who had not yet reached a year old.

Muckley’s Jewellers, 85 Main Street, Midleton

Victualler and vintner Daniel Gilmartin (32) was the head of the family here, with his wife Katie (34) from Kilkenny running the business with him. They had four children, Christopher (6), Erin (5), Bartholomew (3) and May who was under one. Daniel’s 21-year-old nephew Michael Allen also resided there as a butcher, as did a servant/butcher Michael Spillane, also 21. The family also had a waiting maid, Lizzie Dunlea (28) and a cook Bridget Burke (24).

It is interesting to note that at the time of the 1901 Census two German brothers had taken rooms in No.28 Main Street. These were Albert (30) and Edward (25)- both were jewellers by trade and were surely the originators of the family and shop which retains a presence in Midleton over a century later.

123 Main Street, Midleton

Some of the more unusual residents of the Main Street resided in this house in 1901. Richard Walton Long (41) was the head of the family, He was a physician and surgeon and must have been an important man in the town. His wife Maria Long was 30-years-old and was described as a ‘Fowl Fancier.’ In addition she had been born a long way from Midleton- she came originally from Tasmania. They had a three-year-old daughter Iris Maria Walton Long. Also in the house was 27-year-old Marian Lilla Clockie, from Australia. The family clearly had strong connections to the other side of the World. Sisters Elizabeth Deacon (a 27-year-old nurse) and Edith Deacon (a 26-year-old scholar) were visiting on the night of the census. Another nurse, Mary Jugh (26) lived in the house with domestic servants Minnie Curtin (29) and Kate McCarthy (28).
The Maple Bar, 5 Main Street, Midleton

This building has been a pub for more than one hundred years as in 1901 this was owned by licensed publican John P. Barry (45) who was originally from Whitegate. He lived with his wife Marie (36), a native of Ballinacurra, and their five children James (10)  Louise (8), Lillie (5),  Margaritte (3) and ‘Ez O C’ who was only two days old. The family had recently returned from living in America, as eldest three children had had been born there, Also in residence were two domestic servants- Hannah Meade, an 18-year-old domestic servant from Ballincurrig, and Elizabeth Riordan, a 16-year-old from Thomas Street in the town.

O’Farrell’s Butchers, 19 Main Street, Midleton

This was occupied by May O’Keeffe (66), a widow who ran a grocery shop from here. Working with her were her son Eugene (40) and his wife Hannah (33). They also had a domestic servant, 18-year-old Hannah Brien who lived with them.

Ballycotton Seafood, 46 Main Street, Midleton

In 1901 Denis Desmond (52), who worked as an accountant at the distillery but also had a business as a ‘Fancy Tobacconist’. He lived with his wife Christine (51), who was from the city, and their 24 year-old daughter Ellen, a shop-keeper, and their son Michael (19) who was a medical student. Denis’s older brother James (60) who had been a mariner and was an invalid.

Paddy Power, 14 Main Street, Midleton

This was originally home to the Days. David Day (40) the head of the family was a merchant tailor, married to his wife Ellie (40). They had three daughters Winifred (6), Johanna (4) and Margaret (2). David’s mother Hannah (60) also lived with them in 1901.

101 Main Street, Midleton

In 1901 this was occupied by the Fishbournes. This family is interesting in that they were all born outside Cork. John G (45) was the head of the family and was a bank agent born in Carlow, His wife Sarah (40) was born in Co. Kildare, It seems likely that John had travelled around the country working with the bank, as the couple’s daughter Dorah (10) had been born in Laois (Queen’s County) and their son Derrick (4) in Waterford City. They employed a 25-year-old governess, Mable Shaw, who was born in Dublin. The family cook, Hannah Holsour (21) was from Co. Kilkenny; their house maid, 26-year-old Annie Ryng [Ring?] and groom, 24-year-old Denis Murphy were both from Co. Cork.

We intend to put all the families from the 1901 Census up on the site, but if you are interested in finding out more you can see a full list of the occupants of Main Street in 1901 on the National Archives site here. We intend to expand our search to look at other streets in the town, as well as the 1911 Census to see what changes had taken place.

*Please see the comment of Kathryn Walsh below regarding an error in the census information which throws out some of the house numbers (Thanks Kathryn!)

Categories: Midleton Census | Tags: , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

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