Maryborough History

The Maryborough History

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Adapted Article from Stephen Hunter.
Rewritten by Onóir O Brien
The Maryborough has been a compelling destination for guests from near and far since 1997, conveying a feeling of grandeur from a bygone period. A restored 1715 three-story over-basement mansion on wooded hills above the Douglas River estuary serves as the focus of this superb four-star hotel, spa, and conference centre in Cork.  The Maryborough House was purchased in 1995 with 24 acres, although the 400-acre demesne of The Maryborough historically had a farm, orchards, woodlands, and gardens, most of which survives despite suburban development. The Maryborough has grown both internationally and locally because of its exquisite hospitality, award-winning Spa facilities, and bespoke weddings. The Spa was established in 2006 and welcomed the renowned spa brand ESPA.  The Maryborough weddings were elevated by the extension of the Orangery in 2014 that brought the beauty of the gardens from the outside in.
Dan O'Sullivan, the establishment's proprietor, discusses The Maryborough history with journalist Stephen Hunter: "There were three main families involved here." The Newenhams built the house and lived there for a long time. They and a private bank located first on Patrick St, then on South Mall, printed their own 5 Shilling bank notes and closed around 1825. Another branch of the family possessed 'Coolmore,' which is still standing outside Crosshaven and was regarded as this house's twin. The Perrier’s, who were originally Huguenots and supplied several Mayors to Cork, 
leased Maryborough from the Newenhams for 14 years. Finally, the Sherrard family stayed for the next 120 years. They made the gardens famous for their produce and were suppliers of agricultural machinery. By 1995, the old house was in disrepair. We purchased it, and the restoration, which was primarily done by Cork builders P.J. Hegarty's, cost £750,000. Rather than attempting to recreate a Georgian mansion from scratch, we upgraded remaining parts and blended modern features as gracefully as feasible. The new addition was built on the site of the old servant's quarters, stables, and courtyards, which were beyond repair. We collaborated with Dublin architects Cody and Associates, who specialise in Georgian restoration, and we're pleased with the outcomes."
Refurbishment work revealed traces of the foundation of an earlier, possibly 17th century house. The previous house was probably smaller and faced up Maryborough Hill, rather than down to Rochestown, as the current house does. There are wine cellars and a well, which supplied the house with water.” 
As the biggest establishment in the locality, Maryborough acted as a cog in the Ascendancy administrative machinery, including what passed for justice at the time: “There is a big stone cell which was sometimes used to hold prisoners temporarily. The place is steeped in history, and we would have loved to put in a restaurant down there, but it wasn’t possible with the fire safety requirements.”
While discussing the grounds with Stephen, Dan shared some fascinating history. “There were little sentry posts in parts of one wall, which the Newenhams’ erected to charge tolls on the road that they had built in the direction of Carrigaline. Hugh Sherrard was good enough to supply me with a list of all the trees and shrubs, so visitors with an interest can go out and see what we have. At over 300 years old, some of the trees are approaching the end of their life cycle. We have a 25-year-old woodland plan to ensure proper replanting and the County Council has been very supportive of this. All sorts of wildlife roam the place, including rabbits, pheasants, squirrels, and foxes.”
The semi-ruinous rustic cottage within the exit of the hotel was once a 
Milk Maids house and as Dan explained  “The last milk maid lived in it 
until 30 years ago and her daughter approached me recently to tell me
 that she was born and reared there.”
Dan went on to tell Stephen about a former resident and the "dew bath," 
which is a relic of an old folk medicine practice. “One of the Sherrard’s gardeners dropped by recently celebrating his 85th birthday. He is a fine healthy man whose father was a gardener before him. He said that every morning when he lived in the Orchard House, he used to strip naked and
 run out and roll in the dew of the grass, and that’s what he attributes his
 health and long age to! Whatever its scientific merits, it certainly didn’t
 do any harm.”
Dan O'Sullivan's meticulous renovation and partnership with expert architects have restored The Maryborough's Georgian splendor and revealed remnants of an earlier 17th-century residence, immersing guests in several centuries of captivating history. Enjoy your one-of-a-kind stay with us, as you become a part of The Maryborough history. MARYBOROUGH OFFERS HERE