It had been a while since we last went on a family adventure and what better place than Dunboy Castle? Together with Ardea castle in Tuosist and Carriganass Castle in Kealkill it was one of the strongholds of the O’Sullivan-Bere clan.
Set against the backdrop of Bere Island and its Ardnakinna Lighthouse one can understand why this was an important strategic location.
In 1602 the castle was besieged by a 5,000-men strong army, sent by the English crown. It took them 2 weeks to defeat the 143 men of Dunboy, using cannons to blast the outer walls. There are plaques on the remains of the castle wall to commemorate those who have fallen.
Just half a mile from the site of Dunboy Castle is Puxley mansion. After the defeat in 1602 of the Sullivan-Bere clan, the land was granted to the Puxley family who built a mansion nearby the ruins of the old castle.
During the Irish War on Independence, like many other manor houses such as Ardtully in Kilgarvan, Puxley Mansion was burnt down by the IRA in 1921. In 1999 the site was purchased by four local businessmen with the intention of opening a four-star hotel here.
The plan was to restore and rebuild the mansion, and open a four-star hotel there. In a fine example of the goings-on in Celtic Tiger Ireland, the plans soon went way overboard and Ireland’s first six-star hotel was to be opened here. Fifty million euro was to be pumped into the project. It was due to open in 2009 but failing to sell adjacent apartment units, in 2010 funding dried up and work had to be suspended even though renovations had been 90% completed. It has been lying idle since.