Skip to main content

This news post is more than 1 year old

13 August 1922: The destruction of Mitchelstown Castle

Read Terence Dooley’s article on the Irish Revolution and Country House burnings on Century Ireland.

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, features 50 essays from leading international scholars that explore a turning point in history, one whose legacy remains controversial a century on. Building on their own expertise, and on the wealth of recent scholarship provoked by the Decade of Centenaries, each contributor focuses on one event that illuminates a key aspect of revolutionary Ireland, demonstrating how the events of this year would shape the new states established in 1922. Together, these essays explore many of the key issues and debates of a year that transformed Ireland.

In collaboration with Century Ireland, we are making the 50 essays freely available online. Today’s essay is by Terence Dooley and it details the destruction of Mitchelstown Castle in Cork, the largest country house to be destroyed during the civil war in Ireland.

On 13 August 1922 Mitchelstown Castle in Cork became the largest Irish country house to be destroyed during the civil war. Early histories of the War of Independence and civil war in Ireland make no reference to this event, and little mention of the burning of around 300 Irish country houses, here defined as the (former) residences of Irish landlords. Nor, indeed, was serious consideration given to a related issue, the growth in agrarian disorder.While it can legitimately be argued that the foremost desire of revolutionaries was to secure Ireland’s sovereignty, sight should not be lost of the fact that the chaos of the 1920–23 period created local conditions in which republicans and agrarian activists, often one and the same, staged their own micro-revolutions that had ulterior social ambitions, most notably the redistribution of lands. Case studies of country house burnings can be useful in elucidating this. Continue reading (you will be redirected to the website of Century Ireland)

Ireland 1922, edited by Darragh Gannon and Fearghal McGarry, is published by the Royal Irish Academy with support from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media under the Decade of Centenaries 2012-2023 programme.


Ireland 1922