Puxley Mansion: 250 years of history
In 1730 the Puxley family were granted lands (by the British Crown) in the Castletownbere area. They first came to the Beara Peninsula from Galway and gradually acquired land, first by lease and then by purchase.
John Puxley, together with Lord Bantry, raised money to start copper mining in the Allihies area in 1812. They brought several miners from Cornwall to work in the area. With the profits of the mining ‘Copper John’, as he was known, bought the lands around Dunboy.
Dunboy Castle was formerly owned by the Donal (Cam) O’Sullivan Bere’s clan. The O’Sullivan Bere’s lost power following a siege in 1602 on their castle by 4,000 troops led by Sir George Carew. A total of 143 local fighters held out for 11 days. When the castle was taken the survivors were all slaughtered. The remains of that castle are still on the estate.
The Puxley Mansion, originally a large tower house built in the 15th Century, was extended in 1868 with the increasing wealth of the family. In 1921, the Victorian Gothic mansion was burnt down by the IRA during the Civil War. This was done in retaliation for the destruction of houses by the British which harboured IRA men and weapons.
Up until 2009 (at the time of the start of the collapse of the Irish banking system and the bursting of the whole property ‘bubble’ here) the mansion was being restored to a luxury five-star hotel. The luxurious Capella Dunboy Castle was scheduled to open Summer 2010.
Capella Hotels and Resorts had respectfully restored the castle and its surroundings to provide a guest experience with the unique flair of the Beara Peninsula and West Cork. Resort amenities were to include an intimate spa with eight treatment rooms, fine dining, a wine bar, and helicopter service to and from Waterville Golf Links and other courses on Ireland’s west coast.
Sadly, none of this will (seemingly ever) be completed – tens of millions of Euro, borrowed from banks by developers, has been spent so far, and now, I suppose, technically, we ALL own a bit of it…
It did actually open ‘for one night only’, and then was forced to close its doors. It’s all fenced off now and will probably stay that way for the foreseeable future.