IrelandGenWeb-L ArchivesArchiver > IrelandGenWeb > 2011-03 > 1301265579
Subject: [Irish Genealogy] West Cork Castles - DALYs Castle (Salem) nearMacroom
Date: Sun, 27 Mar 2011 22:39:39 +0000 (UTC)
SNIPPET: The May-June 2005 issue of "Ireland of the Welcomes" magazine has a fascinating article about West Cork castles by Jo KERRIGAN (who lives in Macroom) with splendid colored photographs by Richard T. MILLS. Ms. KERRIGAN states that within a five-mile radius of her home there are at least half a dozen castles. Spread your wings a little farther and there are still more, too many to cover in one story. Per the authoress, the castles of West Cork stands as both an echo of the past and a signpost to the future. In an age when development has obliterated history is so many parts of the world, it is inspiring and encouraging to know that there is still somewhere we can go to find continuity, somewhere we can still find that long-ago Ireland. Per Ms. KERRIGAN, one of the richest legacies we possess in Ireland are our castles. Echoes of a chequered and often dangerous past, recalling rebellions, wars, the urgent need for protection or the arrogant wish to flaunt power, they now sleep peacefully on sea-girt promontories, rocky outcrops or high vantage points over river crossings. When it comes to castles Ireland stands supreme. Jo reminds use that all land belongs to somebody, and it is always a good idea to ask permission before you cross a field to look more closely at a fascinating ruin. Most owners are welcoming; but if they aren't, respect their privacy and be content to photograph from the road. And always remember that these are very old structures. Winding staircases are difficult to climb, stonework can be loose. Take care and respect the past.
One charming photo is of Michael and Margaret DALY who live in Castle Salem, a 17th century manor house attached to a 14th century fortified house, Benduff. This sweet-looking older couple welcome visitors from all over the world to their castle. Benduff, explains Margaret, was built in the 15th century by the McCARTHYs, but a Quaker family called MORRIS took it over in the 1660s. Per Margaret, "Quakers are very peace-loving people and it was they who gave it the name Salem or Shalom, meaning peace. There's a Quaker graveyard outside by the gates." By a miracle, she reveals, the castle was saved from the despoiling of CROMWELL's soldiers since it is tucked into a valley and not clearly visible to those passing by. "That castle roof has stood for centuries and it only started leaking about ten years ago. That's workmanship for you!" The manor house was built on to the castle by the MORRIS family from whom a Dr. FITZGIBBON, then chief surgeon for West Cork, bought it. Finally the DALY's bought it from Dr. FITZGIBBON in the 1890s. "It's been in the DALY family now for over a hundred years, so I suppose you could say I married into the castle set!"
At that time, in the early 1960s, the medieval castle was used simply for storage; however, as tourism became a bigger industry, Michael and Margaret wondered if something could be made of their historic treasure. "We found that people were always coming by and wanting to see the castle and that was the starting point." Of course, they asked questions, so Margaret researched all she could about Benduff and Castle Salem. Oddly enough, it was the leaking roof which gave the DALYs the final impetus to share their knowledge with a wider audience . An American lady who was impressed with the castle and Margaret's knowledge suggested to the couple that they set up proper tours, make a small charge, and put the money towards the roof restoration fund. So they did. Now, during the busy summer months tours are a full-time job, especially as tea and home-made scones are included in the modest charge.
Per Margaret -- "We've banked every penny from tours in Castle Salem Restoration Fund at the AIB in Clonakilty, but because it's privately owned, agencies such as the Heritage Council could give us a grant if we can double that sum ourselves. Of course, we'd be liable for the entire debt which is more than we want to face at our age." Nevertheless, they hope that somehow a way will be found to fund the essential repairs.