[The following are notes that I got from Sr. Evelyn Houlihan of Drishane (12/10/1998) about Drishane Castle and Convent. I think she said that it was Sr. Alphonsus McMahon (87) who died in 1997 who had these notes. Most of the information may have been already recorded in this document by Canon Costello. There were two separate pages but I merged into one because they were mostly repetitive ]
Drishane Castle was formerly owned by a branch of the McCarthys, Princes of Desmond. After the Anglo-Norman Invasion, these chiefs came eastwards from Kerry and owned the castles at Carrigaphooka, Kilmeedy and Drishane. The Castle and a part of the residence were erected by Dermot McCarthy in 1436-1450. The McCarthys were the owners until the Cromwellian invasion, when the castle and estate were confiscated.
The Yeomen Field is the field near Coole cross - Cromwell's army came up the road from Keale bridge (not there then) and felled trees around Coole Cross. Then their horses (pulled) them into the field and started to place them as large guns to attack the Castle. The stunt worked for McCarthys put out the white flag and surrendered. That is the reason why the castle was never shelled.
Drishane became the property of a Landlord, named Henry Wallis. There was a tradition that he evicted Dermot's widow, then a very old lady - her name was Julianne McCarthy O'Leary - and that she died on the door-step of the Castle.
The Wallises built a beautiful residence and were in possession of Drishane until the early 20t h century. Eventually they became bankrupt and sold the lands and castle to
Mr. Stack of Fermoy.
The Architecture changed in the late 17t h
century or early 18t h
century, known by
masons and architects as the levelling of the course. This is visible around the big window opposite the iron door. There were bullet-marks fired by rifle (from where the Statue of the Blessed Virgin now stands) to test the strength of the door. Its purpose was to protect the Wallises from the Fenians. (Incidentally, this statue was the first symbol of Catholicity seen in Drishane since the eviction of the McCarthys.)
In 1908 Mr. Cornelius Duggan was instrumental in the purchase of Drishane for the Sisters of the Holy Infant Jesus, whose order was established in France in 1662 by Rev. Nicholas Barre, a Friar Minime. It is interesting to know that he was closely connected with St. John Baptist de la Salle, the founder of the well-known de la Salle Brothers.
In March 1909 the first members of the community arrived and the first Mass was celebrated on 25t h May. The official opening took place on the 8t h Sept. 1909. His Lordship, Most Rev. Dr. Mangan, presided at the Solemn Mass of Inauguration. Canon Casey of Millstreet was celebrant, assisted by Rev. E. D. O'Connor, Secretary to the Bishop.