(Note: Please respect the privacy of the owners of these houses as they are private dwellings.)
Kilmannock House was built in 1780 by Henry Thomas Haughton. Other occupiers were David Hewitson and M.W Knox. Capt. Samuel Barrett-Hamilton lived here from 1860 until 1921.
The ‘Barrett ‘ family coat of arms can be seen on the gable end of Clancy’s house at the entrance to the house. A self -portrait of Charlotte Barrett-Hamilton, who was a daughter of the landlord, can be seen inside. She is the ‘lady in blue’. Coursing was a very popular pastime with Barrett-Hamilton and a fine coursing ground was found here.
Hare Coursing and hunting were very popular in our parish. Kilmannock was one of the main coursing places in Ireland. The last meeting took place in 1827. Coursing also took place in Campile from 1930-1933. Bill Power from Ballinamona used sleep in a tent looking after the hares. The field was called Grennan’s Hare Field.
The following is taken from ‘Bassett’s Directory of County Wexford’ Published in 1885.
‘The Kilmannock Coursing Club holds two meetings a year. The first meeting takes place in April and the second one in October. Captain Samuel Barrett is President and Laurence Murphy of Ballykerogue is Secretary and Treasurer. There are 25 members.
The Captain takes great interest in coursing, but does not engage in it with his own dogs. The coursing ground is about 400 acres in extent and of its size is considered to be one of the best in Ireland. It takes in the estate of Captain Barrett’.
In 1921 the estate, of up to 800 acres, was divided into five farms of 150 acres and two small farms of 25 acres. Major John Barnwell bought Kilmannock House and 150 acres. His father was a wheelwright in Co.Offaly. John had a distinguished army career in the Great War 1914-18.
He joined the army at Crinkle Barracks in Birr. In 1911 he was posted to India. When World War 1 started in 1914 he was sent back to Crinkle Barracks to train volunteers. He fought with the Leinster Regiment in the brutal campaign of Gallipoli and other parts of Eastern Europe. He was in the Machine Gun Corps and won the Military Cross medal in 1918. and the DSO (Distinguished Service Order). He met with Lawrence of Arabia in the Middle East. After the war John returned to Crinkle Barracks and was in charge of the garrison there from 1919 until 1922.
The barracks was burned by the I.R.A in 1922 and John’s regiment was disbanded. His son Desmond, who was sergeant in the Enniskillen Dragoons, was killed in Tunisia in 1942 during World War 2.
Major John died in 1976 at 91 years and his son Brian and wife Elizabeth, who reared a family of eight children, took over. Brian passed away in 1998 and his son Patrick and Edel took over the house.
Kilmannock is a grand three storey house with a basement. The second and third storeys have a tripartite window in the centre.
The fine porch was added later. The drawing room has a lovely Carrera marble fireplace and beautiful mouldings on the ceiling. The pitch pine stairs stands out also.
In the reception room can be seen the Belfast stove which burned from October to April and heated the whole house.
In all there are 28 apartments and 14 bedrooms in Kilmannock House. The basement was the servants quarters and they had a separate stairs. Each room had its own bell to ring for service. In the basement, the wine cellar, fine open fireplace, bells for room service and the ‘dumb waiter’ can be seen.
This waiter was a lift for carrying meals to the upstairs rooms.
A secret tunnel can also be seen here which was probably used for hiding valuables. A water wheel was used to pump water from a well to a large tank on the roof.
The Barnwell family are to be thanked for the restoration work carried out on this magnificent house as its upkeep is costly and they make excellent hosts for their guesthouse!