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Coppinger's Court

Category: 
Fortified house

These substantial and romantic ruins were once the home of Sir Walter Coppinger, a visionary, entrepreneur, moneylender and possible despot (he is said to have hung people who displeased him from the gable of the house)!  A wealthy Cork merchant, Sir Walter intended to build a large town in this rich valley, centred around his mansion. Only the house was ever built, sometime around 1618, It is four storeyed,rectangular with two wings projecting from the east wall and a centrally aligned wing from the west. Rumoured to have a chimney for every month, a door for every week and a window for every day of the year, the remains confirm its sumptuousness. Some mullioned windows remain as do well preserved and ornate chimney stacks.The kitchen was probably in the NE section where there is a large fireplace and bread oven. It was a fortified house though, as demonstrated by the bartizans, gun loops and machicolations. Sir Walter supported the Royalists in the turbulent times of the 1630s and died in 1639. Two years later, after the Rising of 1641, the house was torched by the rebels, reputedly including his younger son, and doesn't appear to have been rebuilt or inhabited since. The Court apparently had two entrance gates made out of silver. After the Rising these were stolen and said to have been thrown into Lough Aurickeen near Glandore where they still remain!

Townland: 
Ballyvireen
Location: 
Approximately two miles west of Rosscarbery, off the R597
References: 
OS Map 89: W2603,3597
Fieldnotes: 

It is astonishing to see this enormous, grand pile sitting in a little field almost in the middle of nowhere. It still impresses even in its ruinous state and has much to admire.  Ravens inhabit the battlements and cattle seek shelter in the old kitchens and service rooms, unimpressed by its faded grandeur.