Home Real Estate Blackwater Castle, with 1,000 years of history and one of Ireland’s oldest inhabited keeps, for sale for €2m – The Irish Times

Blackwater Castle, with 1,000 years of history and one of Ireland’s oldest inhabited keeps, for sale for €2m – The Irish Times

by Ozva Admin

Address: Blackwater Castle, Castletownroche, County Cork

Price: €2,000,000

Agent: Sherry FitzGerald Cottages

View this property on MyHome.ie

Few private houses in Ireland have as rich a history as Blackwater Castle in Co Cork. Some of that past is cataloged in the Book of Fermoy, or Book of Roche, a 15th-century manuscript, written over 200 years, now housed at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin. It documents the Roche de Fermoy family, whose successive generations called Blackwater Castle home from 1100 to 1666.

It’s hard to know where to start with a historic property dating back almost 1,000 years, so the chronological order makes more sense.

This has been done by the Nordstrom family, and the castle’s current owner, Sheila O’Keefe, wife of Patrick Nordstrom, who has spent considerable time documenting its past since her family purchased the 65-acre stack in 1991, after having been managed as a 10 room hotel.

Flint scattering found in the 1990s, now housed in the National Museum of Ireland, dating to 8,000-10,000 years ago, confirms that the grounds had humans here in the Mesolithic period.

Add in a woman’s jawbone excavated from caves on the riverbank from the Neolithic era and copper axes from the Bronze Age, now housed in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and the keep already has tangible elements of all epochs going back 10,000 years.

Iron Age tracks, best seen from aerial maps, link the property, which sits on a 70-foot headland overlooking the River Awbeg, with that of Ardpatrick in Co Limerick, along a 20km track through the Ballyhoura Mountains.

Saint Patrick is known to have visited Ardpatrick, where he is said to have founded a monastery, and the fact that the castle has a well from that time dedicated to Ireland’s patron saint, which supplies all the drinking water to the castle, means that there is a good chance that you have also visited Blackwater.

From this early Christian period are “female power items that are very important to us,” says O’Keefe, of the Sheela-na-gig carving that was originally discovered when Ireland was surveyed in the 19th century.

These figurative limestone carvings of nude women with an exaggerated vulva, the best of which is at the Round Tower at Rattoo in Co Kerry, may have been used to fight death and demons, and are also considered symbols of fertility depicting a pagan goddess. .

Scholars, however, are still divided on its origin.

“We still have people who come here looking for a boost in that department,” O’Keefe says of her links to fertility.

O’Keefe has written a book, The Mystery of the Sheela na Gig, aimed at younger readers, about Irish history through the prism of North Cork, taking them on adventures in the tower of Blackwater Castle.

And at the entrance to the tower in Blackwater (from around 1400) there is an original murder hole, where rocks and all kinds of debris would accumulate.

they have been thrown to maim enemies.

Walter Raleigh knocked on the door in 1580, and although he did not take the castle, as the family had the foresight to invite him to dinner, it marked the beginning of the fall of the Roches, for although they were loyal to the crown, they remained. Catholics.

Cromwell tried his best to capture the castle in the winter of 1649, but was defeated by Lady Roche, whose husband was imprisoned at the time.

But in 1666, it was inhabited by Colonel John Widenham, who was granted the property by Cromwell, and remained in the Widenham family for 300 years until 1963, when it was purchased by Lord and Lady Cotter and subsequently run as a small hotel until the Nordstrom family bought the stack in 1991.

They began generating income by renting it out exclusively: “There were 10 bedrooms in the castle, but we changed it to nine suites and then developed the courtyard, where we now live,” says O’Keefe.

Spanning 9,579 square feet (890 square meters), its location on a raised promontory 70 feet above the river is indicative of its defensive strength, but there is also a calm air from the views of the surrounding 65 acres of gardens, green and native, mostly ancient. oak – forest.

An orchard with old medlars, Mirabelle plums, apples and pears has now been supplemented by a restored orchard, and the entire estate has a no-mow policy, with the exception of the lawn directly surrounding the keep, to welcome all natives. Flora and fauna.

“The property enjoys dual-shore fishing rights (it’s a rarity these days to have both sides of the shore) and its amenity value is staggering, between fishing, old-growth forest walks and plenty of room to hack,” says Roseanne De See Hunt. from Sherry FitzGerald Country Homes, which is handling the sale of this piece of Irish history, seeking €2m.

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