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Grange Places ARTICLES IN THE GRANGE BOOK (10)

These Grange Book articles are about 'places' within the Grange Parish locality. They feature Great Houses of a past era and the families who built, owned and lived in them; archaeology and religious sites of great historical significance. Lough Gur House remains in magnificent condition and is the home of the O'Sullivan family. Lough Gur and the surrounding lands are internationally famous for great natural beauty and rich archaeology, as well as extensive wildlife. The origins of place names are explained by John Carroll.

Rockbarton House, late eighteenth century, and Caherguillamore House, late seventeenth century, no longer exist, save a shell of the remaining walls of Rockbarton House. These houses, built on adjoining estates, were intrinsically linked through the O'Grady family. Probably the most famous O'Grady was Standish, the First Viscount Guillamore. He was a lawyer and a contemporary of Daniel O'Connell. He was appointed Attorney General for Ireland, and he was the leading officer for the Crown during the prosecution for treason of Robert Emmett. He bacame known as 'The Bloody Judge', some historians would say unfairly. Nigel Baring, a member of that banking family, lived at Rockbarton House for several years, and he is reputed to have acted in friendly fashion towards Ged O'Dwyer, later to become the renowned Major O'Dwyer of Aga Khan Cup fame. Brian Gallagher compiled a history of these Great Houses.

 

 

 

Lough Gur House, enjoying a panoramoric view of Lough Gur, was built in the 1780s, originally know as 'The Grange'. The house has been the home of Patrick and Fiona O'Sullivan and family since the early 1980s. The house and former estate were for years the seat of the famous de Salis family (Counts), landlords who owned huge estates in the locality. The de Salis history, recounted by Patrick O'Sullivan, could not be told without reference to the Bouchiers, Bouchier Castle, the Fanes including Mary Fane and Dorothy Fane , John Montagu, 4th Earl of Sandwich and many others. An interesting story is about the welcome address made in June 1893 by John O'Keeffe on behalf of the de Salis tenantry to Count (7th) John Francis de Salis and his wife, the Countess (daughter of Prince Caraman de Chimay of Belgium). Over the centuries, Lough Gur House was home to other families including Edward Croker, Richard O'Connell (Dáil Deputy and IRA participant at the Grange Ambush), Colonel RL Galloway, Tony Galloway and Peter Matson, from whom the O'Sullivan family acquired the house and lands. Pat Lombard has recalled the period of the 1950s and 1960s, when he lived on the estate during the Colonel RL Galloway era. Pat's father, Michael Lombard, was employed to manage the estate. Pat recalls others who were employed and lived on the estate with their families, including Connie Brosnan and Bill O'Brien. The house which was occupied by the Lombard family was previously occupied by the family of the author, Dáithí Ó hÓgáin, when his father was employed on the estate.

 

 

The ruin of the great house 'The Grange', popularly known locally as 'Crokers' comes into prominent view from the village at Lower Grange. Despite deriliction and decay over the years, it remains architecturally striking in outline. The house, built by Thomas O'Grady in the early 1800s, was inherited by the Crokers (of "I doubt it Says Croker" fame) in 1861. The house and estate was inherited from Captain Edward Croker in 1896 by his sisters, Helen Lady Dyer and Miss Caroline Croker. Caroline Croker died in 1926, and around that time the house became vacant. The history is told by Michael (Minie) O'Brien.

 

 

The history of the Grange Stone Circle is told by local land owner, Tim Casey. Containing 113 standing stones, the Circle, also known as Líos na Grainsí, is the largest and finest in Ireland. The Circle comprises a ring of continuous and contiguous uprights up to 2.8 metres high, with a diameter of 45 metres and backed by an earthen bank, 9 metres wide and about 1.2 metres tall. Twelve large orthostats were placed at intervals around the ring, each standing directly opposite one of the other 'axial' stones. Local archaeologist, Michael Quinlan, believes that the Circle dates to 2500 BC. 'Crom Dubh', the largest stone of the Líos - the 40 tonnes, 2.5 metres tall squared behemoth to the north of the entry way has acquired the name Rannach Crom Dubh (the Staff of Crom Dubh).  Séan P Ó Ríordáin, UCC archaeologist, excavated Grange Stone Circle in 1939, uncovering amazing archaeology. More recently, Helen Roche, UCC archcaeologist, excavated the site, adding new archaeological analyses of great importance. Great numbers of people travel to the Grange Stone Circle every year to witness the remarkable Summer Solstice sunrise.

 

Lough Gur, a small horseshoe-shaped water body (79 hectares approximately), is located some 20 kilometres south of Limerick City, at the heart of Ballyhoura country. Lough Gur (and its surrounds) is an outstanding heritage and natural resource of international significance and is one of Ireland's most important archaeological sites. The Report on Lough Gur Environmental Management Study (February 2009) is a huge source of information on the lake and its environment. The Lough Gur Heritage Centre has, inter alia, a magnificent interactive multimedia exhibition that brings to life over 6,000 years of history and archaeology of the lake and its locality. The Lough Gur Website is an enormous store of information, including a detailed analysis of local bird life by Geoff Hunt, Biodiversity Consultant.  The journals of the Lough Gur & District Historical Society are significant sources of quality information. The Inland Fisheries Ireland 2013 Report provides comprehensive information on Lough Gur fish life. Tommy Hourigan assembled an article on Lough Gur from various information sources.

 

Other articles are 'Grange and Nearby Places' by John Carroll, 'Places' by various authors, 'The Mass Rock' by James Canon Culhane, 'The Madden Forge' by Brendan Madden and 'Ballingirlough' by Marie Leo.

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