Dromdihy – otherwise Dromdiah – County Cork has featured here a couple of times, the first occasion almost eight years ago, when the building was in a very poor condition and looked as though it were destined to go the way of so many other abandoned Irish country houses: into oblivion (see pictures above). However, a couple of years later, the property was bought by a couple determined to bring it back to life and when the Irish Aesthete revisited in 2018 (see pictures immediately below) work had begun on clearing the site and parts of Dromdihy hitherto submerged in vegetation had re-emerged. The interior also, much of it previously inaccessible, was likewise visible and even possible to explore (albeit only at basement level, the upper floors having long-since been lost). Further progress was made, but then the pandemic intervened, putting something of a halt to proceedings. Now, however, work on the site has resumed and considerable changes occurred, as can be seen by the latest number of photographs (see bottom series). All being well, within another year or two, Dromdihy will habitable and once more be a family home.
As was noted here back in 2015, Dromdihy dates from the early 1830s when constructed for Roger Green Davis, agent for the absentee landlord Sir Arthur de Capell-Brooke. A description of the house thirty years after being built noted that it ‘consists of a centre and two wings, ornamented with Doric columns and with a portico at the eastern end, by the hall is entered, and off which are hot, cold, vapour and shower baths. The first floor comprises five sitting-rooms; on the second floor are four best bedrooms, with dressing-rooms and water-closet…’ Evidently Green Davis spared no expense on the property: it is said that the stone was cut by craftsmen brought from Italy for the purpose. But if the design was admirable, its execution left something to be desired: seemingly from the start Dromdihy suffered from damp, the roof leaking and the interior manifesting both dry and wet rot. Green Davis’ son John, a barrister, sold the place to William Stopford Hunt, an Assistant Land Commissioner and well-known cricketer. He retained ownership of the estate until 1923, at which time the house and surrounding ninety acres were purchased by the O’Mahony family. They ran a manufacturing and timber business on the estate but by 1944 the house was deemed uninhabitable and its roof removed. It went into decline thereafter, one that until recently looked irreversible. But, as has already been mentioned and as these pictures demonstrate, provided sufficient determination and imagination exist, no building is beyond salvation. Dromdihy deserves to be held up as an example of what can – and should – be done in this country.