Wednesday, September 12, 2007


(pictured: sign from the entrance to Arbutus Lodge)

(pictured: a stately looking Arbutus Lodge in Cork, photo by Paddy Leahy)

Last night I received bad news. The home where Jerome was born is no more. Demolished. Gone.

Arbutus Lodge on the Old Blackrock Road has seen many changes, from when Jerome's parents (my GGG Grandparents) lived there to raise 9 children in 1841 all the way through to the recent fire damage that ravaged the house and deemed it unworthy of salvage in the new owner's eyes. My efforts to try and protect it as a historic site too late, I had not even made it over to Cork to see it in person, something I had hoped to do. I am grateful that Ronnie was allowed entry and viewed the house first hand, he was my eyes and ears, and relayed to me through his photos just how terrible of a condition the house was in, and yet, looking past the soot and damage, I could close my eyes and imagine for a moment the glory of Arbutus Lodge in it's day. I saw the original fireplace, and thought how Jerome and the family must have sat by the warm fire on cold nights. I saw the original staircase, and wondered how many times the children would run up and down those stairs, and I imagined how they would peer out the windows on rainy days. My family's home... gone.

(pictured: the site where Arbutus Lodge once
stood in it's glory days on the Old Blackrock Road, Cork)

Ronnie saved a few bricks for me, and is getting the sign on the entrance which says "Arbutus Lodge", who knows how many years it has hung there, displaying it's provenance to the rest of the city, possibly 166 years if not more. We might have missed the boat to try to get the home marked as a historic sight, but I have to admit that it was probably not worth salvaging. I've seen the cracks in the walls, the interior damage from the fire, and as much as I hate to admit, it probably was worth more dead than alive according to an article that ran in the paper over there last year. It's a testament how important it is to preserve our history, to not wait until the last moment, when it may be too late. Arbutus Lodge was in the hands of a new family up until last year, they were the keepers of the house, and it's history. I only wish they realized the importance of the site, that it was more than a home, it was living history. I feel that when we are surrounded by living history, that it is our responsibility to preserve it for future generations to come. However, this family was more than likely not aware of the historic value of Arbutus Lodge, hence the fate which fell upon it this week. Thank gosh we saved Jerome's Celtic Cross just in the nick of time.

(pictured: an old piano charred from a previous
fire and demolished along with the home)
Photos: Courtesy Ronnie Herlihy.