Abandoned ireland



Co. Limerick

Documenting our Heritage

John Hunt built Curragh House in the latter half of the seventeenth century but the existing house dates from the eighteenth century. Hunt was granted the land, which consisted of 380 plantation acres during the Cromwellian plantations.

Jon Fitzgerald originally owned the land. At this time, the estate was called Curragh. When one of John Hunt's descendants, Aubrey Hunt, changed his surname by Royal License to de Vere in 1833, he also changed the name of the property from Curragh to Curraghchase. Aubrey De Vere married Mary Spring Rice and they had a family of eight, with their son being the famous poet Aubrey de Vere.

The younger Aubrey recalled that the lake at the bottom of the house was rich meadow when he was in his youth. A slender stream divided this meadow. Across the lake a monument to the de Vere family stands on a small hill. Near the house, there is a small cemetery to the de Vere's family pets.

Aubrey de Vere's work was influenced by his conversion from the Church of Ireland to Catholicism in 1851. He was a prolific writer, and his Poetical Works were published in six volumes in 1884. He is best known for A Lyrical Chronicle of Ireland (1862) and his pro-emigration Famine relief tract, English Misrule and Irish Misdeeds (1848).

The house was accidentally destroyed by fire in December 1941.

The grounds at Curraghchase were bought by the State in 1957 and the property is now used for commercial timber. Some of the state forest is used as a public amenity and includes tourist trails, camping and caravan park facilities, which make the area a popular tourist attraction.

There is one note of caution with regard to staying at Curraghchase. The lake facing the de Vere house is said to be haunted by the Lady of the Lake, who can be seen running through the water at various times at night. It is not known who she is or what happened to her, but the story has been told down through the generations.

Curragh Chase
Co. Limerick


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