History of Leamlara House

Leamlara House was built sometime in the eighteenth century. In its building, stone from the fourteenth century Barry Castle at Leamlara was utilised. Authorities differ on a more specific date of erection.

Tomas O Riordain (Where the Owencurra flows, 1982) attributes it erection to the second decade of the eighteenth century. James N. Healy (Castles of County Cork, 1988), on the other hand, dates it to 1764. An early twentieth century description of the house offers an earlier date:

A winding avenue, over a stone bridge, leads to the house: below it are small lakes, and on the west-side a stretch of terraced gardens, an ornamental fountain, and a fine waterfall. Under the sitting room floor is buried the skull of a favourite horse belonging to a Standish Barry, who in 1729 ran it to death, with a reprieve for a friend, but arrived too late. The mansion was built about the end of the 17th century, land being at the same time given by the family for Lisgoold Churchyard with the object of closing the churchyard of Leamlara, on the demense, owing to objection to "keening" then habitual at funerals.
'Cork and County Cork in the 20th century', Hodges and Pike (Brighton, 1911).

Leamlara House was a two storey house on a "U"-plan, the wings extending back. The house featured a seven bay cut-stone front with a three bay breakfront; shouldered doorcase with entablature and entablatures on console brackets over the ground floor windows.

There were side elevations of the seven and five bays, both plain. In the seven bay elevation, which was the principal garden front, the lower had been given wider late-Georgian windows going down almost to the ground. The staircase hall was impressive with a wooden bifurcating staircase at the back of the entrance hall, filling part of the space between the two wings. The house was demolished in 1966.

In 1838, the Standish Barry family gave a lease of land and a contribution of £300 to build Leamlara church. The people of Leamlara also contributed to the cost of the building. The church was built of stone quarried locally and the sand used in the building was found quite close to the church.

Henry Standish Barry (1873-1945), the last Standish Barry to live at Leamlara, installed an early electric lighting system at Leamlara, using a water turbine below the house, controlled by a lever in the study. At bedtime, he would close off the valve, after which the family and guests had to make do with candles.

Before his marriage in 1899 Henry built a Dower House adjacent to Leamlara church for his mother and aunt. They never lived there and they returned to England. Rarely used as a dwelling the Dower House fell into disrepair and was demolished in the 1960s.

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