Writing in 1837 in his Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Samuel Lewis described the village of Glanmire as being located to the east of Cork city on the road to Dublin, with the village situated in a picturesque wooded valley on either side of the Glanmire River. The area was notable for the range of flour mills, along with various paper and flax mills employing many in the vicinity. Overlooking this abundance of industry were the large residences of affluent Cork merchants and many of these big houses remain in the area to the present day.
Dunkathel (Dunkettle) House
Designed in the Palladian style by Abraham Hargrave of Cork and built circa 1780 by the wealthy merchant Abraham Morris who was later elected Member of Parliament for County Cork. Dunkathel House is situated at the mouth of the Glanmire River and overlooks the Lee estuary. The house was sold in the 1870s to Thomas Wise Gubbins who ran Wises’s Distillery in the North Mall and he lived there until his death in 1904. The house was passed on to the eldest son Joseph who in turn left it to his mother and five sisters and two brothers. One of the sisters Kathleen ran the farm producing top quality butter and used one of the rooms in the house as a dark room for developing photos. The youngest sister Beatrice became a recognized artist with one of her paintings displayed in the Crawford Art gallery. She did much of her painting and sketching on the grounds of Dunkathel and remained there until her death in 1944. Since there were no heirs in the Gubbins family the property was inherited by a nephew, Geoffrey Norris Russell and his family lived there until they sold in 2003 to Michael O’Flynn of O’Flynn Construction who refurbished the property and applied for planning to develop the grounds into a residential and leisure complex that has proven controversial with local resident and is still ongoing
Built in the early 1700s and enlarged in the 1730s by Dr. Jemmett Browne, then Dean of Ross and later Bishop of Cork. The interior is notable for the decorative plasterwork by the renowned stuccodores, the Francini Brothers. In fact, Dr. C.P. Curran, a historian of 18th century Dublin architecture, sculpture and plasterwork, had casts made of the plasterwork in Riverstown House which were used as copies for the decorative works in Áras an Uachtaráin. The house was occupied by the descendants of Browne up until the 1950s and left vacant. It was feared the elaborate plasterwork would deteriorate. However, the property was purchased by John Dooley in 1965. With the help of the Irish Georgian Society, the house and its rooms were carefully restored and had been open to the public until recent years.
Lota House is another example of Palladian architecture overlooking the Lee estuary. It was designed by the Franco-Italian architect Daviso de Arcourt (David Ducart), who also designed the Cork Mayoralty House in Grenville Place which is now part of the Mercy Hospital. The property was built in 1765 by Robert Rogers on a site that had been occupied by the Galweys, a merchant family, since circa 1400. The property changed hands during the 19th century. From 1837 it was occupied by William Hastings Greene who in turn sold Lota to the Wood family in 1854 who remained there until selling to Patrick Crowley owner of the Long Valley pub in 1922. The Brothers of Charity acquired the property in a somewhat dilapidated condition in 1938 for £3,000 and it remains in their ownership to the present
This Georgian house was built circa 1800 for Sir Richard Kellet, 1st Baronet. It was designed by Abraham Hargrave who also designed Dunkathel House. It was later occupied by the MP Daniel Callaghan who commissioned George Richard Pain to design the notable Ionic arch, known locally as ‘Callaghan’s Gate’. Perched atop the arch sits a stone figure of a dog known as ‘the black dog’ that was reputed to have saved Callaghan from drowning in the nearby Lee. Lotabeg changed hands from the Mahony family in the 19th century to the Donovan family and the house is currently on the market.
A 2 storey late Georgian house built in 1798 Lotamore had several owners, most notably, the Perrier family who were a merchant family of Hugenot origin and several members of this family became Mayor of Cork during the 1800s. The house underwent different incarnations over the years, serving as the offices of the Irish Hospital Sweepstakes in the mid 1900s to a 20-room guesthouse. Changing with the times, since 2017 Lotamore has become a modern and state-of-art fertility clinic.
Lota Lodge (Vienna Woods Hotel)
Dating back to circa 1765, Lota Lodge is thought to have been designed again by Davis Duckart in the Regency style for Lord Barrymore as a hunting lodge. A century later it was owned in 1875 by the Sharman Crawford family. There had been an extensive fire in the premises in 1902 and it was rebuilt the following year. The property was acquired by the Brothers of Charity after the Crawford’s left in 1946 and used as a seminary from the early 1950s until the mid 1960s. In 1964 Joan Shubuek converted the property into a hotel renaming it ‘Vienna Woods’ after having lived in Austria for some years and felt there were some similarities between the area and Vienna. The Fitzgerald family and Michael Magner purchased the hotel in 2006 renaming it ‘The Vienna Woods Country House Hotel’ and continues to be a leading hotel in Cork.
Historic houses of Glanmire and vicinity / compiled by the Glanmire Heritage Society. Glanmire, Co. Cork : Glanmire Heritage Society, 2011.
A guide to Irish country houses / by Mark Bence-Jones. London : Constable, 1988.
Big Houses of the Northside / Stephen Hunter. Archive Issue 3 ; 1999