HOUSE WEEK OF THE
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.