This enigmatic building stands sentinel on the banks of the estuary where the Four Mile Water River reaches the sea just outside Durrus. It was built in the 1790s as a grainstore by the Evanson family who owned the nearby house at Friendly Cove.This area of West Cork is not suited to grain growing but the severe shortages during the Napoleonic Wars meant that all land available was used to produce food. Farmers would bring their grain here to be sold. It was then taken by boat to Cork where it was shipped on to the UK. Only traces of the original quay remain.The building was originally four storeys high, tall and narrow, with three distinct areas inside, partitioned by doors.Today the inside is a shell but you can see it was well made with some fine features.The windows are attractive, the joists where the ceiling beams were once fixed are sturdy and there are traces of damp proofing for the floors. A single flue, running the entire height of the building is located at the western end and provided some protection against the damp.
The building was put up for sale in the 1829 and included a kiln. By 1847 it seems to have been used as an auxiliary workhouse, the main workhouse in Bantry being over-flowing. it was probably used for children under 15 and staff included a Chaplain, physician, matron and porter. It was no longer in use by 1850.
There is another grainstore across the estuary at Sea Lodge.
The walk down to the building is interesting yet a disorientating - ask permission if you meet anyone on your travels. Once passed the farm buildings, you pass through a gentle rounded field compete with tall skinny standing stone. Look carefully and the strange shapes in the ivy further on are the remains of the old grainstore.
The first time I tried to get near this large and rather melancholy building I was beaten back by the brambles, but the second time was more successful. The old grainstore was built at sea level on and against rock. A small track leads down towards the rear entrance, the whole building at first looking as though it is impenetrable so thick is the ivy. The inside though is remarkably clear and impressive. The floors have long since gone as has the roof, but you can see see the joists for the flooring, and tiles used as a simple damp proof course at each level. The space remaining is lofty, almost cathedral like with clear and impressive views upwards. There seem to be three distinct areas, once separated by doorways at each level. The most easterly area has a large chimney flue running from floor to roof levels. The remains of a hammock made from old fishing nets hung in this area. Huge knotted trunks of ivy swarm over the stone work. Its is light and airy from all the windows but it must have been a very damp place to keep grain - even damper as a home for destitute and starving children. A bleak and remote place to have been kept, dangerous too with its opening out onto the water. The original entrance would have been from the sea, but the quay has long since disappeared.