Kilworth author, Noel Howard has just published a local history book entitled ‘Ballinacarriga Kilworth – a House, a Family, a Village’.
The book, illustrated with some pictures not seen publicly up to now, recounts the story of Ballinacarriga House, Kilworth, built by and home to the Pyne family from 1730 until the early 1850s. They had strong ecclesiastical connections and three of the brothers married three local women who were Catholics.
In 1854, Mary Anne Corban and her husband John Lucas settled there after their marriage. Mary Anne’s father was against the marriage and within a few years (1857), tragically, her father and husband had both died leaving her with two small children.
Those two children coped in different ways with their father’s loss. One, the son brought Ballinacarriga House to the brink of bankruptcy while the daughter courageously fought to keep it solvent. This entailed a very difficult decision on the part of Mary Lucas. Many older Kilworth people would have known her to be referred to as ‘Miss Lucas’.
The Corban-Lucas family had strong military, social, religious and colonial connections with Britain. When many ‘Big Houses’ in north-east Cork were targeted, looted and destroyed during the fraught years 1919-23, Ballinacarriga was never attacked, despite the strong connections with the empire and its strategic location close to Fermoy barracks, Moore Park military camp and Kilworth camp.
The author contends that there were specific reasons for it not being attacked at a time of political turmoil and suggests that Mary Lucas (Miss Lucas), who died in 1925, was mainly responsible for the house remaining unscathed.
Her generous nature and disposition as an employer went beyond her employees and often extended to local people in need. The Corban-Lucas family occupy the house to this day. In nearly 170 years it survived family differences, near insolvency, war, tragedy and dereliction when others in the same social circle were not so fortunate.
This book will be of interest to anyone keen on local history in general and Kilworth people in particular. Some of the illustrations have not been seen publicly up to now. There is a map from 1841 with standout features identified and a key showing how Kilworth has changed with changing times.
The book is available on Amazon in kindle and paperback and is also available in Centra and Carmel’s Garden Centre, Kilworth; The Favourite, Mitchelstown and in Bermingham’s and Hanley’s Newsagents, Fermoy.
(Noel Howard is a retired social care worker and manager who worked in the Irish juvenile justice system for nearly 40 years. He edits publications for Social Care Ireland and co-edited, with Dr Denise Lyons, ‘Social Care: Learning from Practice (2014)’. He lives in Kilworth and has long had an interest in the area’s local history.)