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Dunboy Castle, Castletownberehaven, Co Cork
Puxley's Castle at Dunboy was built by Henry and John Puxley in 1739, the family having been granted the lands previously belonging to the O'Sullivans overlooking Bantry Bay, County Cork. The family prospered thanks to smuggling and copper mining, despite the curse laid upon them by the ousted O'Sullivans.

In 1866 their descendent, Henry Lavallin-Puxley, began extensive alterations to the castle. However, Henry's beloved wife died in 1872 and he was so devastated by her death that he left Ireland, never to return. The house was never properly finished and was only used as a summer retreat thereafter.

Henry Puxley's grandson was due to spend August there in 1921 and he hired staff to prepare the grand house for the festivities. It was a stormy time in Ireland though and one night the Republican army burnt the house to the ground. Many wonderful statues, furnishings, paintings, glass and china were lost. Maybe the curse of the O'Sullivans had come true at last.

This is the most fabulous of all ruins. Its driveway runs from the dilapidated gatehouse, through pine woods, towards a charming creek of clear water. The mountains of the Beara Peninsula lie behind and the rugged coast stretches away in front. The great house is of an exceptionally elegant design and, at first sight, could almost be whole. The tower of the originally castle can still clearly be seen and a corridor leads from it towards the new part of the house with many little rooms heading off it. It's the main reception rooms that take your breath away though. One can only imagine how grand they must have looked, with red and black marble columns below great vaulted arches that span the entrance hall and galleries running along its length. The tall elegant windows face out over the sea allowing a marvellous aspect. Below the house, in the creek, the remains of a little promontory or boat house jut into the water and an old boat slowly rots away beside it. 

Sadly, there are rumours of a hotel chain buying the property and developing the castle into a grand hotel or country club. I urge you to visit it as soon as you can, before it is no longer the most beautiful ruin in Ireland.

Another point of interest to some is that Daphne DuMaurier visited Dunboy in the 1930s and was so taken with it, its story and surroundings that she wrote a novel, Hungry Hill, based on the Puxleys and their castle.
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