HOUSE WEEK OF THE

Irish Examiner - Property & Interiors - - Property - Tommy Barker re­ports

AGRUESOME link to the Aus­tralian Ir­ish bushranger and folk hero Ned Kelly comes with the pretty, but also pretty trun­cated, pe­riod home — Bal­ly­clough House: it’s set along a leafy cul-de-sac, in peace­ful coun­try­side, be­tween Glan­worth and Kil­worth and just off the M8, half an hour’s drive north of Cork city.

So, for what it’s also ‘worth’, it’s a world re­moved, and a cen­tury and a half in time, from the may­hem of leg­endary New South Wales’ rustlings, shoot­ings and hang­ings thanks to the fame/in­famy of the Kelly Gang.

In its ear­li­est in­car­na­tions, Bal­ly­clough House was a seven-bay Gothic Mun­ster man­sion, re­port­edly with up to 40 rooms, but the build­ing’s grandeur was cut short of that tally in 1928 by the Land Com­mis­sion, when much of it was de­mol­ished and its lands re­as­signed.

More than cen­tury ear­lier, and in the full­ness of its orig­i­nal form and spread, it was the birth­place and fam­ily home of a Sir Red­mond Barry, who was the third son of 12 chil­dren born to Ma­jor Gen­eral Green Barry and Phoebe Drought of Bal­ly­clough.

Born in 1813, Red­mond Barry went to a mil­i­tary school in Eng­land and thence to TCD and was called to the bar in Dublin. By the 1830s, he had trav­elled to the far side of the known world and was at the bar in New South Wales when he rose to an em­i­nent po­si­tion in an­tipodean so­ci­ety around Mel­bourne.

He sen­tenced an Ellen Kelly (nee Quinn) and some co-de­fen­dants to three years hard labour for her in­volve­ment in the at­tempted mur­der of a NSW po­lice­man, and re­marked to Mrs Kelly then that if her son Ned Kelly were in front of him, he’d have given him 15 years as an ex­am­ple to all Aus­tralia’s ne’er do wells.

As luck, good or bad, would have it, by 1880, Ir­ish-born Sir Red­mond Barry did have the same, no­to­ri­ous Ned Kelly in per­son be­fore him in the dock and sen­tenc­ing him to death by hanging for mur­der, he con­cluded his sen­tence with the cus­tom­ary rider “May God have mercy on your soul”.

Twelve days af­ter Kelly’s ex­e­cu­tion by rope, Sir Red­mond Barry who had been ill with di­a­betes and was ig­nor­ing med­i­cal ad­vice to rest up, died aged 67 from what the doc­tors de­scribed as “con­ges­tion of the lungs and a car­bun­cle in the neck”, a co­in­ci­den­tal fate viewed in some quar­ters as an act of Di­vine ret­ri­bu­tion.

Back in the Bal­ly­clough neck of the woods, and af­ter changes of for­tune and own­er­ship which in­cluded re­fur­bish­ment and ex­ten­sion 25 years ago, Barry’s an­ces­tral home Bal­ly­clough House comes for sale for its cur­rent own­ers of the past eight years or so on 1.87 acres.

It’s guided at ex­cess-€450,000 by Black­wa­ter river-based coun­try homes spe­cial­ist Michael H Daniels, who says it en­joys “a quiet ru­ral po­si­tion within easy reach of Cork city and the M8 mo­tor­way.”

At­trac­tively cloaked in green Vir­ginia Creeper, and with lofty stone fa­cades in the Eliz­a­bethan Tu­dor style, as well as mul­lioned win­dows, it’s a pretty man­age­able home of pe­riod roots, with fea­ture stone carv­ings and win­dow trim, wood carv­ings and has an im­pres­sive Tu­dor-style stair­case — orig­i­nal to the house’s ear­lier con­struc­tion, as is the for­mer ball­room area. Ac­com­mo­da­tion’s done to a com­fort­able, age-ap­pro­pri­ate level and look and lux­ury, and in­cludes hall and wain­scoted stair hall, li­brary with dais and bay win­dow, with gallery and ex­posed ceil­ing beams, sit­ting/din­ing room open plan off the kitchen which has a Stan­ley range, util­ity room, plus four bed­rooms (two are small) and two bath­rooms.

As be­guil­ing is the slate-rooofed, lofted stone coach house and for­mer sta­bling, with ex­ter­nal gable steps, and the land­scaped grounds in­clude trimmed lawns, shrubs, flower beds and herba­ceous bor­ders, fruit gar­den, vegetable gar­den, a glasshouse and an api­ary, with bee hives scat­tered about the grounds.

Now per­fectly timed on the early sum­mer mar­ket at its quoted €450,000-plus level, it can be ex­pected to at­tract the eye and wal­lets of traders up and traders down, re­lo­ca­tors from abroad, Brex­i­teers, and even city-based Cork com­muters, look­ing for an aes­thetic slice of coun­try life. VER­DICT: Bring a suit of ar­mour and join the Kelly Gang, at Bal­ly­clough.

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