Blowing in the Wind I

Last January, the Irish Times reported that a land parcel of 800 acres in County Tipperary was being offered for sale as a single lot with an asking price of €11 million. According to the article, ‘a wide range of investors and land speculators are expected to express their interest in the sale.’ The reason for that interest, and the figure this parcel was expected to make, arises from the fact that the site contains two substantial clusters of wind turbines (18 and 12 respectively), with a third now underway and expected to active in two years’ time. The turbines were originally developed by a mining company which, between 1999 and 2015 extracted zinc and lead from the ground. Long before the mine closed, in 2009 the company embarked on developing the first group of wind turbines, the second commissioned in 2013. The operation of this business is managed by another body, a Canadian-based global fund called Brookfield Renewable Partners, which in 2016 struck a ten-year deal with Facebook to provide its energy needs: the latest cluster of wind turbines here will generate power for Facebook’s  data centre campus in Clonee, Co Meath, and its new European headquarters in Ballsbridge, Dublin.

Killoran House stands less than a mile from the Lisheen wind farms. For many hundreds of years the land here belonged to members of the Campy or Campie family, the first of whom was a soldier Solomon Camby, originally from Norfolk it seems, whose name is mentioned in reports of the Battle of Marston Moor (July 1644) when Parliamentary forces defeated the Royalist army. He was then a member of the cavalry regiment that came to be known as the Ironsides; Camby was part of what was called the ‘Maiden Troop’ headed by Captain Robert Swallow and drawn from Norwich. Subsequently in 1649 he came to Ireland as part of the New Model Army and was involved in crushing opposition here; he appears to have been in County Mayo in 1653 when English troops attempted to burn down Ballintubber Abbey. Like many other soldiers, he was rewarded for his services in land, and this was confirmed by the post-Restoration English government in 1667 when Major Solomon Camby was granted over 1,700 acres in the barony of Lower Ormond, County Tipperary and some 90 acres in the barony of Forth, County Wexford. One may assume that the original Solomon Camby was a staunch Protestant, but in the 18th century one of his descendants married a member of the Lalor family, who had always remained Roman Catholic. By the time Solomon Lalor Cambie inherited the former Lalor estate at Killoran in the following century he must also have been a Catholic (since he was educated by the Jesuits at Clongowes Wood College). His land holding ran to almost 1,600 acres and it was probably for this reason that he decided to build a new residence for himself.

Killoran House dates from around 1850, and is a typical solid gentleman’s residence of the period, with an extensive yard to one side of the building. The three-bay, two storey entrance front is curious because the centre bay entrance projection has its door around one side. The front, on the other hand, is taken up by a large and elaborate fanlight window; inside, the space directly above acts as an additional room off the landing, accessed via a pair of shuttered doors. Otherwise the interior is, again, typical of the time although the cantilevered staircase is lighter than usually the case for the mid-19th century. Currently on the market, the house is in a very poor state of repair, and looks to have been left empty for quite some time. Many of the windows are broken and slates missing from the roof. As a consequence, large quantities of rain water have entered the building and some upper floors have collapsed. Almost all the interior fittings like chimney pieces have been removed. Surrounded as it is by wind turbines, and with more due to be added to their number shortly, Killoran House’s prospects do not look cheering. The property is, naturally, included on the local authority’s list of protected structures.

Apologies to anyone who looked at this earlier when the text was missing…

24 comments on “Blowing in the Wind I

  1. fitzfitz says:

    … needless dereliction captured very effectively indeed … depressing to see on a dark, cold Monday morning …

  2. Peter says:

    Googling the property now, it appears that the house is now located on 4 acres, and will be going for auction with a starting price of 90k

  3. Alwyn Byrne says:

    In what way was this structure protected? Total dereliction of duty to this house.

  4. Shamefull. Local planners to blame?

  5. Bob says:

    Sad to see its decline and future – who would want to buy it stuck in the middle of a windfarm?
    I stayed there in the mid 1980’s, Ned Camby was the then owner. The room you mention off the landing was at that time a private chapel.

  6. Margaret says:

    This will be my family farm soon. It has been in my family since 1843 and I am the last in the line. You get tired of pouring money into a place and the man who knew how to do restoration work died two years ago and we live 4 hours away with no intention of moving back home. I know when the sale is over I can never drive back by….I will be hugely disappointed.

  7. Oh my goodness, I worked in Killoran House in 1998 for an archaeological firm and know it inside out. The wall in the yard is likely the remains of a late medieval bawn wall. The kitchen is extremely likely to be a remodeled fortified house as it’s lower than the Georgian/Victorian front of the house, and the “back stairs’ for the servants were set into walls far more likely in a late medieval castle, and I think I remember a corbel.
    Weirdly, when you went into the rear of the house (kitchen) you passed by the entrances to a tiny house in the hallway on your left, I estimate 17/18th c, probably originally “outside” the walls of the fortified house. The estate had an ornamental boating lake. In the “hotpress” upstairs in the older section of the house, a room with no windows, there were bundles of early photos of Victorian and Edwardian gentry having picnics and larking about in Killoran. How I regretted that I didn’t take those photos with me and deposit them in the National Archives. I occasionally think of Killoran House and wonder how it was. Seeing it in this state is very sad but even in 1998 the roof was leaking dangerously and the largest bracket fungus grew out of the walls on the back stairs.

  8. Diana says:

    The wind mills wouldnt put me off tbh but there is a staggering amount of work needed when it has been left go this far, especially to do it to a good standard. Many multiples of 90k…..

  9. Noel Ryan says:

    Maybe the sentiment of oppressed, exploited Native Irish might be best captured by referring to edifices like this as ‘Castle Rack Rent’? Like the Southern Plantations in America, they were only viable through the abundance of cheap labour to work as ‘slavies’ inside, gardeners outside and miserable tenantry paying extortionate ‘rent’ at the pleasure and whim of ‘landlords’. They told ‘us’ to ‘go to hell or to Connaught’! Well, we never went away but survived, albeit in a penurious state for a long time.

    • Ireland and the Southern states of America do not have a monopoly on disparity of wealth. England in the Regency period had its own, sometimes suffering, underclass employed by the wealthy gentry. The present state of much of Irelands built heritage can not simply be explained by its history.

      • Noel Ryan says:

        What the English gentry/nobility did to their own people at home is one thing. But inflicting misery on others abroad is totally different. English legacy in Ireland is abominable. Epigenetics shows that the effects of Trauma can persist through six (6) generations. Traditional Gaelic Society was Collective. The Norman-French invaders introduced Feudalism to England and from there it was transferred to Ireland. Where hundreds of Clansmen might have lived on their Clan Lands, under English rule one person might ‘own’ vast tracts of lands taking the wealth for themselves. ‘Big’ houses were unsustainable without exploitation of the natives.

    • Iolanda says:

      And what about the Irish who themselves kept black slaves in America! Let’s not be narrow minded and one sided about this!!!

      • Noel Ryan says:

        Yes, too true, sadly. But they had most excellent ‘teachers’ in Ireland for centuries before that. In as much as there were Irish Plantation Owners who exploited Slave Labor, there were many more who fought in the Union Army to fight the Confederacy. I’ll allow you may be ignorant of Irish history but before they introduced African Slaves into the Caribbean to work on their Plantations, the English first had Irish Slaves. Oliver Cromwell, Regicide, Puritan, Republican Parliamentarian in the 1650’s was responsible for some of the most horrific abuses of the Irish, in the name of his God. When the death rate from exposure and disease became ‘uneconomic’ the Irish were removed to the Virginias and Carolinas to work on their Plantations there, to be replaced by Africans who were considered more suitable for the climate and conditions. The worst fate of all was that of Irish Women. There are extant letters from the Caribbean English requesting Irish Virgins for their pleasure houses! Literally hundreds were despatched to fill that most degrading form of slavery.

  10. Michael Thomas says:

    Many of the Norman French invaders,as you call then ,were also moved out to the West by the later wave of people.All those so called Irish names,Fitzgerald,Butler ,Roche etc…The population is a great mix of.people.Who technically is Irish.What about the Viking settlers before the English !

    • Noel Ryan says:

      Okay. If I were to be specific, I’m referring to Cambro-Norman-French-Vikings. Giraldus Cambrensis (Gerald of Wales) was their chief propagandist, denigrating the Native Irish in order to dehumanise them, thereby providing a guilt-free invasion and expropriation. The Isle of Mann he rationalised belonged to Britain because there were no snakes in Ireland but there were two varieties in Britain ergo (this is where Monty Python Logic kicks in) it belonged to England despite the ancient cultural and linguistic ties between Eire and Oilean Mananain Mac Lir. Manx is closer to Gaelic Irish than Welsh to this day. The Cambro-Norman Invasion of Ireland was justified on the basis of the Papal Bull ‘Laudabiliter’ of the one and only English Pope Nicholas Breakspeare aka Hadrian/Adrian the Fourth. Despite enduring Irish devotion to Rome, the Papacy has rarely been sympathetic or supportive of the Irish cause.

  11. […] to a recent account of Killoran House, County Tipperary, ( here is another building that was once part of the same estate. On raised ground several hundred […]

  12. Emma Richey says:

    The saddest bit about this is that you have here a salvageable house, but because of the number and size of the wind turbines it will now be uninhabitable. It also looks as if the wind farm developer has not adhered to the minimum distance rule either but this rule is actually not fit for purpose. A safe distance to live from a wind farm is at least 10 miles. Probably none of you have had the misfortune of finding yourselves living near wind farms but I can tell you that it is torture 24/7. There have been several cases within Ireland where local people have successfully challenged the developers over noise and health issues but the outcome is always the same, in that the people have to leave their homes when it should be that the wind farm is dismantled. The industry does not care about people or the planet. Ireland does not need wind farms yet they are being installed everywhere despite local opposition. The reason behind this is because companies such as Amazon and Google have built vast data centres in Ireland. Just one of these will use as much electricity in a day as the whole of Dublin. You may have seen recent coverage of a bog in Donegal sliding down the hill into the river, polluting it and killing all the fish. This was caused by developers installing a wind farm nearby and by disturbing the bog they have actually released huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. The investor in the wind farm is Amazon. If anyone is exploiting Ireland it is Google, Amazon etc and Ireland’s own Government who are complicit in this scam. The tax payer is paying for the whole thing via subsidies. Here endeth the first lesson, sorry! and sad for this lovely little house. P>S Channel 4 put out a programme recently called ‘Is your online habit killing the planet’, worth watching.

    • Iolanda herron says:

      Yes indeed, the distance those wind turbines are from killoran house do not adhere to EU legislation! I am on the case at the moment! Listen actually are seeking permission to increase the diameter of the existing ones! An absolute disgrace!!!

  13. Deepesh says:

    Have there been any updates to this topic? I notice the house is still for sale after all this time so I guess they didn’t find any buyers. Devastating to see such a beautiful building left to ruin like this.

  14. Gordon Smead says:

    This home was lovely when my wife and I stayed here on our honeymoon in 1980. Ned gave us a ride to and from church in Thurles one Sunday. Another day we went shopping in Thurles. My wife turned 21 here. It is sad to see the place in such disrepair. Our bathroom was in a turret with a windowed roof 15 or 20 feer up. Our bedroom was beautiful. Ned’s wife was a good cook.

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