Friday, 3 May 2013

Galtee Castle


THE BUCKLEYS WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY TIPPERARY, WITH 13,260 ACRES


NATHANIEL BUCKLEY DL (1821-92) was a landowner, cotton mill owner and Liberal Party politician.

By the 1870s, Buckley was a millionaire and, in 1873, he purchased the Galtee estate of the Earl of Kingston, near Mitchelstown, County Cork.

Following a revaluation, he issued rent demands to his new tenants of between 50% and 500%. This led to a great deal of agrarian unrest, evictions and an attempted assassination of Buckley's land agent.

His actions also demonstrated weaknesses in the Irish Land Acts which were consequently amended.

Buckley was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire in 1867. At the 1874 general election Buckley was defeated and did not return to parliament.

At the time of his death aged 71, in 1892, he had residences at Alderdale Lodge, Lancashire, and Galtee Castle, County Cork. His nephew,

ABEL BUCKLEY JP (1835-1908) was born at Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, the younger son of Abel Buckley and Mary Keehan, of Alderdale Lodge. He was educated at Mill Hill School and Owen's College.

In 1875, he married Hannah Summers (who died in 1897) and they had one son, also Abel, born in 1876.

The Buckley family owned two cotton mills in Ashton: Ryecroft and Oxford Road, and Abel became involved in the business. At his death he was described as "one of the old cotton lords of Lancashire".

In 1885, Buckley inherited Ryecroft Hall from his uncle, James Smith Buckley, and was to live there for the rest of his life.

He subsequently inherited Galtee Castle. The estate had been purchased by his uncle, Nathaniel Buckley DL, MP, in 1873.

In 1885, Abel Buckley was elected Liberal MP for the newly created Prestwich constituency. In the general election of the following year, however, he was defeated.

Apart from his interests in the cotton industry, Buckley was a director and chairman of the Manchester and Liverpool District Banking Company and a justice of the peace.

He was a collector of fine art, and a racehorse breeder. He died at Ryecroft Hall in 1908, aged 73.


GALTEE CASTLE, near Clogheen, County Tipperary, was a mansion situated at the foothills of the Galtee Mountains, not far from Mitchelstown.

The original structure was built as a hunting lodge for the 2nd Earl of Kingston, ca 1780. The 3rd Earl further remodelled it ca 1825.

In the 1850s, the Kingstons were forced to sell off vast amounts of their landed estate due to debts, including the lodge and approximately 20,000 acres surrounding it.

This became a new estate, the majority of which remained leased to tenant farmers.

The building was remodelled and expanded ca 1892, when its new owner, Abel Buckley, inherited the estate from his brother Nathaniel, who had previously purchased sole ownership in 1873.

The Irish Land Commission, a government agency, acquired the demesne and house in the late 1930s, after allocating the land between afforestation and farmers. The house was offered for sale.

An offer was accepted from Father Tobin of Glanworth, County Cork, who wished to use the stone and the slates to build a new church in his parish.

Galtee Castle was thus torn down and dismantled ca 1941.

Today, very little is left on the site of the former mansion: Some of the lower base foundations are all that remain. Nearby are some estate cottages and two gate houses.

The woods and trails around the site have been developed as a public amenity area, known as Galtee Castle Woods.

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