A group of friends and neighbours who came to welcome home Kathleen Gill and family. (Picture: Joe Prendergast)

“It would require a language beyond my mind to express the gratitude and love that I feel toward all of you for the collective time, talent and treasure that was steadfastly given to rebuild the Hogan house,” sentiments shared by Kathleen Gill upon visiting the home of her late relative Nora Hogan recently.

Nora Hogan’s house, probably the best-known house in Coolboy, is neatly set into the south slopes of the Galtee Mountains overlooking Kilbehenny Village on the Cork-Limerick border. 

It wasn’t the first time that Kathleen had visited the former home of Nora Hogan but the condition of the premises today is a vast improvement compared to her first visit almost five years ago.

Back then, Kathleen had to fight her way through briars and brambles to get close to the dilapidated premises but thanks to the dedicated work of Joe Pendergast and friends, she returned on this occasion to a beautifully restored home, a surprise that simply took Kathleen’s breath away.

“It was all so surprising and enchanting,” said Kathleen in appreciation of the efforts made by Joe. “I never dreamed that you had laboured so much to return this home to its original purpose. I noted every detail from the smoke first seen piping out of the chimney from the road below to the thatched roof and rebuilt front wall, the ceiling beams and white washed painted walls in and out – glass in the windows that were illuminated with softly glowing  candles – the saddle outside and all of the outdoor accents.

“You cleared out the front and side yard and then inside, the bed and furniture, a home made bench by a local carpenter, the warm blazing fire with mantel adorned with framed pictures of family gone by and family still present.”

Full story in our Christmas special ‘By The Fireside’ in shops now