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Reendesert

Category: 
Fortified house

This impressive fortified house was built sometime before 1616 by Sir Owen O Sullivan. In order to get into English good books Sir Owen had turned on his cousin, Donal Cam, after the Battle of kInsale in 1601 and as a reward Queen Elizabeth granted him his cousin's lands and properties. This did not go down with the locals and Sir Owen and his descendants were know contemptuously as O Sullivan Galldha or Foreigners Sullivans. Sir Owen abandoned his former home at Carriganass castle near kealkil and built himself an impressive new pile here at Reendesert. More comfortable than a tower house it was T shaped in design with an attic and a basement. It had elaborate chimney stacks, ornate windows and large fireplaces but came complete with many defensive features as well: bartizans, machicolations and gunloops,all referring to a less than peaceful period.

The building was nearly destroyed in the 1650s during the Parliamentarian Wars under Cromwell.  During the late nineteenth century the east arm was made into a country house and the west arm converted into farm buildings. It was valued at £6 in the Griffith Valuation (1837) and was leased to a Robert Warren from the Bantry estate. Nearly fifty years later The Irish Builder describes the ruins of a curious old Elizabethan building with its modern addition and beautiful gardens. The house remained inhabited until the twentieth century. Today it is in a disgraceful and neglected state and no one seems sure who owns it. No sign of the beautiful gardens.

 

Townland: 
Reendisert: headland of the hermit
Location: 
Just off the N71 after Ballylickey.
References: 
W000530
Fieldnotes: 

This enigmatic ruin can be glimpsed on the main road from Bantry to Glengarrif, the tall chimney and gables hinting at a former grandeur. Now it is neglected and unloved and no one seems entirely sure who owns it. Foliage is taking over and inside everything is a jumble of masonry and decay. Years of nest-making twigs have cascaded down the main chimney, an oddly unsettling sight. Stairs have collapsed but here and there windows, added or renovated later, retain some of their wooden surrounds.

In the woodland near the old house is the remains of a little clachan or settlement, their once comfortable homes now mouldering amongst all the undergrowth.

Please note this is on private property and permission must be gained for access.