By Jim Herlihy
In Griffiths Valuation, 1854, the Townland of Dawstown, Parish of Garrycloyne, the house is occupied by Edmond Mullane, the lessor being Charles Putland and the house valued at twelve pounds. In 1861/62 the Valuation Office records show the house occupied by Edmond & Matthew Mullane and in 1865/66 there is a note; ‘Occupier applied for a division of valuation. It is however, a joint occupancy and cannot be divided. House dilapidated’.
It is obvious that the house was falling into disrepair and may be assumed that ‘the large flowering lime, good orchards, gardens and fish ponds of Dean Rowland Davies’ day were also in decline due to the inability of a tenant farmer, faced by harsh economic realities, to maintain them’.
There was a certain amount of local folklore about the great physical strength and athletic prowess of the Mullanes. Dan Turpin recalls being told that one on them leaped the gate in the farmyard ‘with a scythe in each hand’, the same gate being six or seven feet high!
The Mullanes left Dawstown and in 1879, John Turpin from Loughane West leased the property from George Putland’s three daughters, namely Charlotte Mab, Georgina Dorothea and Constance. The lease is dated 29th September 1879 and was for a period of thirty one years, at the yearly rent of one hundred and thirty six pounds, four shillings and eight pence sterling, payable half yearly on the 25th March and the 29th September. The said George Putland (the 4th) who lived in Bray, Co. Wicklow, died on 12th October 1876 and his three daughters became entitled to the land as tenants in common under his will dated 10th May 1871. The only legacy of the Putland family remaining in the Blarney area is the bridge at Waterloo (built in 1812) known as Putland’s Bridge and the glen nearby, known locally as Putland’s Glen. Similarly there is to this day a road named Putland’s Road in Bray Co. Wicklow.
John Turpin married a neighbour, Julia Kelleher from Dawstown in 1855. Her brother was Fr. Daniel Kelleher, P.P. Youghal, and later Catholic Dean of Cloyne. He was imprisoned in Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin, for his involvement in Land League affairs and was visited there by Archbishop Croke of Cashel and a ballad was composed about him. When John Turpin died in 1908 he left the property to their son, John Turpin Jar. (1865-1954), who in 1901 married Anne Meaney (1878-1949), who was of the publican family in Waterloo, Blarney, adjacent to Putland’s Bridge. Their daughter, Madge Turpin (b 1909) married Michael Hayes and they had six in family. Their son, Patrick Hayes is now in residence at Dawstown.
Dan Turpin recalls being told that when his grandfather John Turpin purchased Dawstown House it was in bad repair and that substantial renovation had to be done to it. Shortly before 1920, a part of a wall in the farm yard collapsed and revealed that a sword, two pistols and a copper flask shaped container with a spring closing top for holding shot had been concealed in the wall. The purpose of the concealment of such weaponry was possibly to prevent them falling into the hands of the Whiteboys or such underground organisations. Dan Turpin recalls seeing the sword and flask container; the pistols had disappeared when was growing up.
The walls of Dawstown House were two and a half feet thick. The front façade had at ground level, six windows and a large hall door with circular steps up to it and upstairs had seven windows. The façade was simple but impressive. There were two cellars under the left hand end of the house as one looked at it. There were four bedrooms upstairs with additional bedrooms in a wing at the back of the house which was used by farm labourers. Inside the main door there was a hall measuring about 20ft. by 20 ft. tiled with large red tiles. There were doors from the hall leading to the kitchen, parlour, ‘upper cellar’ and the room known as the ‘breakfast room’.
The House and Buildings Return (Form B.1) and the Return of Out-Offices and Farm-Steadings (Form B.2) as part of the 1911 Census relating to Dawstown House, includes a stable, a coach house, two cow houses, two calf houses, a dairy, a piggery, a fowl house, a boiling house, a barn, a potato house and a shed.
Dawstown House remained standing until 24th April 1956 when it was accidentally damaged by fire, alas beyond repair. Madge (Turpin) Hayes, the above mentioned, in preparing for the homecoming from Australia of her uncle, Brother Joe Turpin, lit a fire in the house which caught some jackdaws nests in the chimney causing the fire to spread to the upper portion of the fourteen roomed two-storey house, completely destroying the house. Mrs. Hayes and her brother Dan Turpin remember bacon hanging from the oak rafters in the kitchen of the great house, the same rafters which once adorned the old roof of the mansion attached to Blarney Castle.
The above excerpt was taken from a much larger article titled ‘Dawstown and the Davies Family’, written by the Jim Herlihy, which appeared in Issue 3 of the ‘Old Blarney’ Journal.