More than two centuries of charm and tradition permeate this country mansion, with its stunning views over the meandering River Blackwater below.
With an 160 acre private estate to explore, it’s easy to see why generations of guests have returned to this six bedroom family home just half an hour from Ireland’s second largest City, Cork.
The house was built in the Georgian style, on the elevated fortifications of a ruined castle. Acquired in the mid-20th century as a fishing retreat with its 3km of double bank fishing, it became part of the Devonshire family estates, which include Lismore Castle about 20km downstream.
A bright fanlight entrance with a cobweb of curved astragals, separate the entrance lobby from the expansive hallway that is the core of the house.
Papered walls are lined with a profusion of formal gilded portraits, studiously ignoring the snooker table below – a reminder that above all this is a family home.
The superb fishing and opulent comfort of Careysville house continue to be enjoyed by the latest generation of the Devonshire family. With permission of Lord Burlington, Careysville House now becomes available for exclusive hire.
There are splendid views across the Blackwater valley from all the chambers, and the capacious drawing room must have witnessed many an exaggerated yarn of the noble salmon around the open hearth.
An expansive modern country kitchen occupies the sunny front corner, where large Georgian sash windows and paneled shutters that feature throughout the lodge, flood the rooms with light.
Genteel dining is best announced by dinner gong in such a large home. Twelve can sit down to a salmon supper in deep-buttoned leather and mahogany elegance.
Understated opulence informs the house, where an idiosyncratic mixture of the functional, the personal and the invaluable cohabit.
Monolithic walls, languid blown-glass panes, and the occasional wayward floor board, are testimony to the antiquity of the building.
A family bathroom serves one of the six bedrooms that radiate from the landing – all the remainder are ensuite.
Crisp white sheets, and freestanding piping hot baths await the weary guest.
The sweeping stairway passes a flurry of rainbow coloured parakeets, now frozen by the taxidermist, and leads to the bedroom accommodation.
The tree-lined private avenue runs for a kilometre to the main road ensuring total privacy and peace. An estate of more than 160 acres beckons exploration, or bring canoes and slip down the Blackwater.
The house is equipped with all modern appliances, and is fully centrally heated. There is WiFi, a library of books, games and DVDs.
There is also a first class in-house chef who specialises in local produce, should you choose to avail.
Smoking – No, sorry!
Parties – The owners regret Stag, Hen, Wedding or 21st parties are not admissible.
the house, surroundings, atmosphere, the people, the open fires, beds, bedlinen, every single element of our stay simply could not have been better.
We were looking forward to this stay so very much, and as we had people from all over Ireland popping in and out, each and everyone of them said, the best Christmas/New Year venue they’d ever be to. Maura met us and showed us around the house, the bedrooms were unbelievable, the open fires with all the wood there to replenish the fires when needed – it was the best.
We had a black tie dinner on New Years Eve. It went down a storm…walks down by the Blackwater river, we’re all stuck for words.
A huge, massive thank you to you Maura, all our crew want it again next year…sssh don’t tell anyone else! Take care Maura, have a great 2020.
P. Harvey, December 2019
The Blackwater valley is centrally placed for a plethora of outings and days of exploration- so many we just can’t list them all, so here are a few of our favourites…
Within easy walking distance is the village of Clondulane, but you will need to take the 5 minute car trip to Fermoy for the nearest supermarket. The M8 motorway ensures a very quick trip from here to Cork City.
photo Andreas F. Borchert
Labbacallee to the north west of Fermoy, is Irelands largest prehistoric wedge tomb and dates from roughly 2300 BC
The renowned Mitchelstown caves exhibit some stunning examples of stalagmites and stalactites that are well worth the visit.
Fermoy was established as a garrison town around the same time Careysville house was constructed, and the camp quickly became the largest military establishment on this island during the 1800’s.
If our ex cricket pavilion seems incongruous, you will be interested to learn that in Victorian times cricket was the largest and most popular sport in the Ireland, irrespective of class or religion. Indeed in 1855 the first team to represent this island thrashed their English opponents by 107 runs.
The magnificent Lismore Castle with its long and distinguished history, has splendid gardens open to the public during the summer months, and compelling cultural events are held in the town throughout the year.
The Munster Blackwater – there being several other rivers of the same name – is Ireland’s second largest river after the Shannon, and unquestionably one of the great salmon rivers of Europe. A lazy snaking river, it is also makes for very fine for canoeing.
The views of Lismore Castle from the water as you approach the final weir are spectacular. Beyond that the river becomes tidal for the final 30km to the sea at Youghal.
By Air: Flights to Cork, Kerry Airport (Farrenfore), Dublin or Shannon.
Cork Airport – approx 40 mins from house.
Kerry Airport – approx 2 hours from house.
Shannon Airport – approx 1 hour 30 mins from house.
Dublin Airport – approx 2 hours 30 mins from house.
By Sea: Ferry crossings from Pembroke/Fishguard to Rosslare.
Stena Express – 120 mins (summer only from Fishguard)
Swansea/Cork Ferry is 45 mins from the house.
Rosslare Port is approx 2 hours 30 mins from house.
Dublin City Port/Holyhead has a fast crossing and is approx 2 hours 30 mins from house.
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