A HISTORY OF
Glenlohane Country House was built by Desmond’s antecedents in 1741. Your hosts, Desmond, Melanie and their son Gordon represent the 9th and 10th generations of the same family living at Glenlohane since its inception. Surrounded by terraced lawns overlooking a park like setting, the house was built by John Sharp, of Mount Conway, near Cork City in 1741. Mount Conway still stands.
Early records show the Sharp family in the parish of St. Katherine, Dublin in 1535. As a prominent Quaker family that became eminently successful in the woolen industry in the mid 1600’s, they also built Roundwood House in Co Laois at the same time that Glenlohane was being built in Co Cork. Anthony Sharp was reputed to employ 500 people at the time, which would have made him one of Ireland’s largest employers. For Dublin, that is a sizeable concern even by today’s standards! As sizeable land owners, the Bolsters have been within 5-6 miles of Glenlohane since Elizabethan times and John Hawkes Bolster of Egmont House, Churchtown, Co Cork married Sarah Sharp of Glenlohane in the early 1800’s. The house was extended to its present size shortly thereafter. We now have the opportunity to share our family’s heritage by offering guests Irish Country House Accommodation in the heart of the Co Cork countryside.
Kanturk has always been considered the primary town in the Barony of Duhallow which derives its name from the confluence of the rivers Alua and Dalua in the town. Baronies vary in size but might be approximately 100 sq miles and encompass several towns and villages. In Gaelic times, the MacCarthy Clan were considered the ‘Princes of Duhallow’ and, through alliances with smaller clans and intermarriage, they ruled virtually everything from Mallow west to the Atlantic. Under English influence, the system changed and the Earls of Egmont, the Perceval family, became responsible for Duhallow. Roads and schools were built. The main bridge in Kanturk was built in 1760 and many places in the town still carry their memory such as Egmont Place and Perceval Street. As a prospering market town, the economy is supported by agriculture and the present population is about 1,800.
At around 1600, Donagh MacCarthy of Lohort Castle, Cecilstown, near Kanturk, started building his large castle outside Kanturk. From comparison of the architecture of the two castles, he obviously decided that he wanted to live in a building more extensive than the fortified Norman Keep of Lohort. Kanturk Castle is our earliest example of Rennaisance style architecture in the area. With its Great Hall and sleeping towers at each corner, it was really to be more like a fortified house. Sadly however, that was not to be as The Privy Council decided that it was too large and threatening. In 1608, troops were sent to stop the building and all the slates from the roof were thrown in the nearby stream. From that day on, that part of Kanturk has been known as Bluepool. Kanturk Castle is open to the public. No admission charge.
OTHER NEARBY PLACES OF HISTORICAL INTEREST
LISCARROLL CASTLE, Liscarroll, Stormed during the rebellion of 1641. Can be viewed from the entrance gates.
LOHORT CASTLE, Cecilstown, built during The Crusades in the reign of King John in the early 13th Century. A MacCarthy stronghold subsequently owned by the Earls of Egmont and Sir Timothy O’Brien until the 20th Century. Can be viewed from a distance.
BALLYBEG ABBEY, Buttevant. A monastery built by the Barrys (de Barra) of Buttevant. Be sure to see the Dovecote standing in the field by itself. Open to the public, off the N20 south of Buttevant.
KILCOLMAN CASTLE, Doneraile. In the late 1500’s and early 1600’s the home of Edmund Spenser and where he wrote Faerie Queene.
KNOCKNANUSS MONUMENT at Abraham’s Cross next to Glenlohane. A monument to the Battle of Knocknanuss and those that died on November 13th, 1647.
MALLOW CASTLE, Mallow. The base of military power in Munster since Elizabethan times and the home of the Jephson-Norreys family until recent times. Private but the original castle can be viewed from the entrance gates.
DONERAILE COURT, Doneraile. The seat of civil power since Elizabethan times and the home of the St Ledger family until recently. Now owned by the Office of Public Works. The grounds are a public park and the house can be viewed from the outside.
THE CASTLE AT CASTLEMAGNER was built by the Norman settler, Magnel (Magner) in the thirteenth century. In contrast to the castles of Kanturk and Mallow, this is a small castle but Magners held sway there for 400 years until they fell afoul of Oliver Cromwell in about 1650. The castle was sacked and the owners fled to France. While the Magner family did hold on to the lands and castle for a while longer, it was never restored and a separate house was built in the compound. This castle can be viewed from the graveyard road but it is on private land and permission to enter should be sought from the owner.
- Jameson Heritage Centre, Midleton, Co Cork
- Cobh Heritage Centre, Cobh, Co Cork
- Ross Castle, Killarney, Co Kerry
- John’s Castle, Limerick
- Swiss Cottage, Cahir, Co Tipperary (March – November)
- Cahir Castle, Cahir, Co Tipperary
- Rock of Cashel, Cashel, Co Tipperary
- Blarney Castle, Blarney, Co Cork
- Charles Fort, Kinsale, Co Cork
- Bantry House, Bantry, Co Cork