There are still enough surviving elements of the grandeur that once enveloped the house and lands around Maglass to set the imagination wandering back – away back – to the early 18th century.
There’s ample evidence of the walled orchard and of the spacious, stone built outhouses and the cobbled courtyard with solid hints of industry and belonging to one of the great houses of its time and of its locality.
Body of Evidence
And the body of evidence is in good hands as a conservation project has been ongoing at Maglass for the past couple of years.
This project is a joint venture between Gary Reidy, the latest in a long line of owners, and the Heritage Council under the GLAS Traditional Farm Buildings Grant Scheme in association with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and under the guidance of local conservation advisor, Eamon Fleming.
Character of the Landscape
The objective of this scheme is to ensure that traditional farm buildings and other related structures that contribute to the character of the landscape, and are of significant heritage value, are conserved for active agricultural use.
The grant is available for the conservation of traditional farm outbuildings, including roof, walls, structural repairs, windows and doors.
The names: Ledmond, Hilliard, Babington, Sealy and Roche are those most associated with the long and colourful history of the house.
The Roche Name
But it is with the Roche name that it is remembered best by recent generations in the locality.
The late Denny O’Sullivan of Barrack Street, Castleisland often spoke of Maglass House or Roche’s of Maglass – as it was often referred to. .
Denny’s people were from Ballymacelligott and his father and grandfather worked in one capacity or another in or around the ‘big house’ and, as a keen historian, he had a lot of the history and folklore attached to it.
The Big House
The Roche family and the big house was, in its day, a major employer in the sprawling Ballymacelligott parish.
The old house itself is gone. It was deemed a dangerous structure and was demolished almost a decade ago with a planning stipulation that an exact replica would be built in its place.
The outhouses survived and are now well into a long and painstaking process of restoration.
A Good Example
The stonework has been expertly re-pointed and the roof structure stablised, re-slated and restored to its former glory.
“This is a good example of what can be done with an old farm building which was essentially derelict, but has now been given a new lease of life,” said conservation advisor Eamon Fleming.