1867 – Puxley Mansion, Castletownbere, Co. Cork

Architect: John T. Christopher



Puxley Mansion, lies on a hillside west of the town of Castletownbere near the older Dunboy Castle. It was the home of the Puxley Family who developed and operated the copper mines near Allihies from 1812 to 1868 – their family papers inspired Daphne du Maurier’s novel, Hungry Hill. This building originally only consisted of the square keep, which now stands at the back of the mansion. This keep was granted to the Puxley family in the 1700s. In 1866 the keep was extended with a large Gothic mansion by Henry Lavallin Puxley from the profits of selling the mines.

Built of Ballyknockan granite with dressings of Ballintemple limestone. Built in little over a year with the contract signed 5 July 1866; and the house almost finished by October 1867. Designed by J.T. Christopher; with executant architect E.H. Carson. It seems there was a court case shortly after with the contractor suing the client in Cockburn v. Puxley with Carson called as a witness. Christopher was an English architect, and this is his only Irish work.

Shortly after, his wife died at childbirth. According to local lore, the heartbroken husband attended her funeral in the parish of Allihies and never returned to the mansion again. The mansion is an eclectic Victorian house reminiscent of some of the domestic work of Richard Norman Shaw in the UK. Some of the family continued to use the mansion at Dunboy as a holiday home.

It was burnt by the IRA on 9th June 1921 in reprisal for the destruction of houses that harboured IRA men and weapons by the Crown Forces. Later the Puxley family received compensation and left the area for good. The gutted and roofless mansion was sold at an auction to a local in 1927.

In 1999 the Dunboy Estate, with the ruined Puxley Mansion and the remnants of Dunboy Castle, were put up for sale. It was purchased by an investment company, who started to restore the mansion to become a luxury 6-star resort. Closed again due to the Financial crisis of 2007-2008, and standing abandoned for many years. Sold again in 2022, the hotel complex awaits completion.