Re: Re: Cork Transport

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From to-day’s quondam Cork Examiner:

03 May 2007

Last stand by defenders of a Gaelic clan fortress

THE ‘peasant mentality’ of the vandalism at Tara (Letters, April 30) is hardly adequate to describe the destruction proposed by the NRA at Carrigaphooca Castle Demesne near Macroom in Co Cork.

There are two registered national monuments and a protected structure within its demesne and part of the landscape is listed in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage category on historic gardens and designed landscapes.

Much more importantly, however, is the fact that Carrigaphooca Castle is the symbolic reference point for the Irish Brigades, as Prof John A Murphy has pointed out. It was from this castle that Justin MacCarthy, Lord of Muskerry and Carrigaphooca, led the first Irish brigade to France with troops from the castle’s hinterland.

A lieutenant-general of France, Justin MacCarthy commanded an estimated 30,000 men in the Irish Infantry Regiment of King Louis XIV (1690). The troops were drawn from the hinterland of Carrigaphooca and Macroom, Cork and Kerry. These legendary Irish brigades fought in every great European war. In 1792, the farewell banner of the Irish brigades was presented by Comte de Provence to Col Edward Stack of the Dillion Regiment at Coblentz. Col Stack was a descendant of the MacCarthy Mór of Carrigaphooca Castle.

It is within this Muskerry/French intellectual aristocratic circle that Edmund Burke (whose mother was a Nagle from Mallow) and Daniel O’Connell (nephew of Count O’Connell) honed their philosophies and political ideals.

Now the setting of Carrigaphooca Castle, this evocative symbol of the dispossessed, is condemned to a compulsory purchase order for a new super Euro route highway when there are two alternative routes.

Gone forever will be the evocative picture of the castle where, in the mist, you can imagine the flying flags of the Irish regiments and soldiers marching on foot. The evocative atmosphere at Carrigaphooca Castle, stone circle and manor house is a tangible reminder of these Irish brigades. The NRA is proposing now to obliterate the entire setting of the castle, the remnants of its bawn and its associated manor house by placing a four-lane highway and two flyovers less than 200 metres from the castle door.

Thus the visual amenity of the castle, which has stood for 800 years, is utterly destroyed for future generations.

Carrigaphooca Castle was built by Dermot MacCarthy, brother to Cormac Láidir, who built Blarney Castle. As Prof Murphy reminded us, it is on route to Muckross Abbey and Kilcrea Abbey both built by the MacCarthy Mór clan. This is the Gaelic royal route of our chieftains and should be preserved as a heritage trail.

WB Yeats included a story from Carrigaphooca Castle in his collection of Irish Fairie Tales.

We are, indeed, a petty people.

Eileen Stack Shanahan
Castle House
Co Cork

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