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Sunday, May 29, 2022

‘Large Houses’ in 18th-century double houses at Tipperary and Meetha

Deanery, Bogherclaw Street, Cashel, Co Tipperary Asking Price: €800,000 (Auction AMV) Agent: DNG Liam O’Grady (062) 31986

Thomastown House, Dulick, Co Meath
asking price
: €2.8m
agent: Cunanan (01) 6286128

Cashel’s Historic Deanery, long associated with the famous Rock of Cashel and the Rock of St Patrick’s Church, has been put up for sale ahead of auction with a guide price of €800,000.

Cashel has always had two deans since the Reformation.

And in the early years of Irish statehood, the two incumbents were like chalk and cheese.

The Dean of the Church of Ireland was usually a learned academic, often from a pastoral parish in England. It was set in an 18th-century grand deanery overlooking the historic rock and city.


View of Cashel from the Deanery

From 1916 to 1924 the dean was Trinity-educated William Chadwick Bourchier, a gentleman character who had previously been pastor of the Marquess of Camden in England.

Quite the opposite and, in these times, the Catholic dean in Cashel was Innocent Ryan, a flamboyant whose crazy antics were not known to go to Father Ted.

Ryan almost single-handedly handled the 1918 Sinn Féin tide of Tipperary when he declared his election candidate “The Anti Christ.” Innocent had read the James Connolly “socialist” quote in Pierce McCann’s propaganda leaflet. And those who voted as instructed by the pulpit certainly weren’t going to give their No. 1 to the Prince of Darkness.

Two representatives were immediately sent to the party headquarters in Dublin and a sympathetic priest was sent to Kashel to speak in the pulpit and reassure the people that McCann was certainly not the Devil and that it was okay to vote for him. It was enough for McCann to take the seat.

At the height of the War of Independence, Innocent caused an immediate armistice at Cashel and the city was swallowed up by pilgrims in search of blood-stained statues.

Jimmy Walsh, a farm worker in Templemore, claimed that a sacred well appeared in his bedroom floor and that three of his statues of the Virgin Mary were bleeding.


Children praying at the ‘bleeding’ statues of Tipperary, 1920

Before the week ended, 15,000 pilgrims a day were descending on Templemore to see the statues placed outside the Dawn’s shop.

British rebellions focusing on the city ceased and it was declared that the Virgin had saved the city. Templemore’s clerics sensibly kept their distance.

Not so much Innocent Ryan who immediately summoned sculptor Jimmy Walsh to Cashel. Innocent was impressed and someone claimed that people who touched Walsh at Cashel Presbytery were cured of diseases.

Overnight, the crowd moved to the cachel, where it became so chaotic that the RIC withdrew from the streets and the IRA was forced to take steps to control the crowd of “pilgrims, beggars, stallholders and undesirables”.

The IRA acted as initiator and manager and began charging for parking.

Again someone was sent to Michael Collins in Dublin. He orders Dan Breen to interrogate Walsh and bring back an idol of him.

Collins smashed it off a table, smashed it and a mechanism that included the function of an alarm clock and a fountain pen bulb filled with sheep’s blood. Walsh fled to Australia while the innocent Ryan immediately turned.

He wrote a letter for publication in Irish Times Saying that “the sweating or bleeding happened behind my back and without my knowledge.”

Then in the 1930s, Ryan embraced the anti-jazz movement, beginning with a 3,000-strong march against jazz music.

The Secretary of the Gaelic League accused the then finance minister, the then Finance Minister, Reserve Sean McEnty of being a “spirit buried in jazz”, after alleging that “he is doing jazz every night of the week.”

Ryan wrote a letter to Cashel Urban District Council in 1936 claiming that a hall he owned was being rented out for “the wrong kind of dance” and was “a center of immorality and religion and source of epidemic for the country”.

Dean had visited one spot and there was evidence that “the people there were not doing Irish dances but dirty foreign dances entering the country and corrupting innocent civilians.” The hall was closed.

We can only wonder how the Eminent Church of Ireland grew out of the brand of Bedlam in The Deanery, steadily increasing its contrast over the course of three decades.

Consistently occupied by the Anglican Dean since 1790, the historic house became the official rectory for the Church of Ireland Parish in the 1960s.

It is spread over 4,050 square feet with eight bedrooms, one of which is enclosed. There are two kitchens, a dining room, drawing room, conservatory, study and other ancillary rooms.

Outside there is a boundary wall and pasture. The property is going up for auction on 29 June, guiding €800,000 through DNG Liam O’Grady.

Meanwhile, another ‘big house’ built in the mid-18th century has hit the market this week in Dulik, Meath.


Thomastown House, Dulick, Co Meath

Thomastown House, on 65 acres, was the home of the Kettlewell family until 1851, leaving it to a cousin, Ecklin Molyneux, a young and ambitious legal eagle.

He further expanded his prospects by marrying the daughter of Sir Joseph Napier, Lord Chancellor of Ireland. Unfortunately, she died young and Molyneux remarried. He would eventually marry three times.

He went on to become the County Judge of Meath, a Queen’s Counsel, and Head of Law at Queen’s University Belfast. When the current owners bought the house in the 1990s it went down.

Within six months they replaced the roof, excavated and tanked the basement and replaced the floor boards on one floor. He restored the courtyard to include six loose boxes.

Accommodation includes a drawing room, formal dining room, a study, a large kitchen/breakfast room, five extra-large bedrooms, a boot room and an office that opens to the gardens outside.

Most period features are in situ and intact, including chimney fragments.

The farm is a range of building and its location, good condition and 65 acres will make it a prime target for parties returning from abroad and for the wealthy city type looking for a rural horse riding/hobby farm within reach.

Coonan auctioneer is asking for €2.8m.

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