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The Bodyke Evictions: Mary Fort House

The O'Callaghan family was an ancient Cork family resettled in Clare in Cromwellian times. In 1878 they owned four thousand, eight hundred and forty-two acres in county Clare.

The Pedigree of the O’Callaghans of Mary Fort,  taken from a notebook of T.J.Westropp, 1881

The Pedigree of the O’Callaghans of Mary Fort,
taken from a notebook of T.J.Westropp, 1881.
Click on the image for larger version

The family residence of the O'Callaghans, Mary Fort, was situated some miles from Bodyke itself. Dating from the early eighteenth century, it was a three-storey, five bay gable-ended house over a high basement, facing south, southeast over terraces and parkland, with a central front door protected by a one-storey Ionic pillared portico.

The Pall Mall Gazette's correspondent, Henry Norman, gave this description in 1887: "Mary Fort is a splendid modern residence, which might have been transplanted straight from the most aristocratic West-end square of London. A square flight of stone steps, seven yards wide, leads up to the door under its four handsome columns, and the visitor finds himself in a large and magnificently furnished hall, typical of the lavishness with which the whole mansion has been constructed and furnished."

Mary Fort was demolished in 1967 by the last member of the family to live there, Colonel Conor J. O'Callaghan Westropp.

During the 1880s, Colonel John O’Callaghan was the owner of Mary Fort House and the O’Callaghan Estate.

Mary Fort House, Lismeehan (Mary Fort),  near Tulla

Mary Fort House, Lismeehan
(Mary Fort), near Tulla
(Photo: Huibert Jan van Ingen, 1958)
Click on the image for larger version

According to an account by Norman "Colonel O'Callaghan is a soldierly-looking man of sixty, with iron grey hair and moustache exhibiting, and to such an extent as to provoke immediate sympathy, in the deep lines of his face and his haggard and worn look, the strain which his truly unenviable position has imposed upon him."

Colonel John O'Callaghan, the landlord at the centre of the controversy at Bodyke

Colonel John O'Callaghan, the landlord at
the centre of the controversy at Bodyke.
Photo courtesy Archives, NUI, Galway.

O'Callaghan-Westropp Collection of photographs in Foto


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Bodyke Evictions