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Dripsey (Irish: Druipseach, meaning "Muddy river") is a village in County Cork on the R618 regional road around 20 km west of Cork City. It is situated on a tributary of the River Lee, the Dripsey River. It is in the Catholic parish of Inniscarra. Other areas in this parish are Berrings, Cloghroe, Tower and Mathey. The village has two pubs (The Lee Valley Inn and The Weigh Inn), one shop (Mary Lars) which also doubles as the post office. Dripsey has one primary school and one play school with many of the children attending secondary education in the nearby village of Coachford.
Dripsey's name is derived from the Irish name Druipseach, which means muddy river. It is made up of Lower Dripsey, Dripsey Cross and Model Village. Model Village is the most populated part. Dripsey became built up in the Model Village largely due to the potato rush of 1898. There is a woolen mills located on the Dripsey river, which eventually closed down in the late 1970s. In 1997, the "shortest" St. Patrick's Day parade took place in Dripsey.
Dripsey formed its own GAA club in 2004. In 2005 it won the County Junior B Championship. In 2009 Dripsey won the Junior B County final after beating Diarmuid O Mathunas in the final. On the 15th of February they won the Junior All-Ireland final after beating Tullogher Rosbercon (Killkenny)2-15 to 0-18. The Colours of their jerseys are red and blue. Red because of the Woolen Mill's hurling team's jerseys and blue recognising the parish colour of Inniscarra.They also lost to Aghabullogue in the Scaith Na Scoil hurling final 4-6 to 2-2 in 2012. .
Dripsey Castle is located on the back road to Coachford. It is an outpost of Blarney Castle that was built in the 1400s by the McCarthy Clan of Munster. It was captured by a Comwellian Army in 1650. It was lived in until the early 1900s, but has recently fallen into disrepair.
Dripsey Paper Mills was founded in 1784 and the base ruins are still visible.
Dripsey Woollen Mills were founded in 1903 and provided considerable employment in the area up until the late 1970s. The old buildings are still present, adjacent to the River Dripsey.
Dripsey Castle (or Carrignamuck Castle) is situated about a mile from the village of Dripsey on the banks of the River Dripsey.
The castle is a ruined five storey tower house. The eastern wall was damage by Oliver Cromwell's troops in the 17th century. It is part of a chain of castles which was owned by the Lords of Muskerry which extended from Blarney to other side of Macroom.
The name Carrig na Muc translated "rock of the pigs" came from medieval times where pigs were slaughtered on a special rock before being prepared for banquets.
Carrignamuck Castle is believed to have been built in the late 15th century. It was built by MacCarthy, Lord of Muskerry who also built the famous Blarney Castle and a number of other Irish Castles in the region. It was customary for the Lord of Muskerry to live in Blarney Castle, while his successor occupied Carrignamuck Castle.
Cormac Mac Teige MacCarthy, Lord of Muskerry, built Blarney Castle, one of the most famous castles in Ireland. He also built Carrignamuck Castle, among others, during the latter part of the 15th Century.
It was usual for the Lords to have trusted relatives living in their outlying castles, who would support the Lord with his own guards when required. It is known that the Lord of Muskerry lived at that time in Blarney Castle and that his successor was always posted at Carrignamuck Castle. Lord Cormac's brother Eoghan lived for a time at Carrignamuck, until Cormac was killed during an argument between the two brothers. Because he had killed his brother, the Lord, Eoghan's claims on the title were denied and he was debarred from succession.
On the death of Sir Cormac MacTeige, in 1583, his next brother Callaghan succeeded as Lord of Muskerry. He, however, gave up his position at the end of that year in favour of his nephew, Cormac MacDermod. Callaghan was allowed to resume his residency at Carrignamuck as his nephew's Lieutenant and this situation eventually became permanent and he founded a branch of the family called the MacCarthy's of Carrignamuck. His son Cormac inherited the estate, but forfeited it in 1641.
In 1650, Oliver Cromwell's troops led by Lord Broghill, attacked and captured Carrignamuck Castle. During the bombardment, the eastern wall was holed. Some years later, the castle was bought by the Colthurst family who built a new house in the grounds. In 1903 the castle was purchased by industrialist and politician Andrew O'Shaughnessy, but has not been inhabited for many years.
Today, the castle lies in a state of disrepair, over looking a man made reservoir, known locally as "The Pond". The pond was actually used to run the turbines back when the woolen mill was still in operation.
Dripsey Paper Mills
In 1784, Dripsey Paper Mills was started by Batt Sullivan, and under him became one of the most famous in Ireland. Batt Sullivan developed papermaking methods he had studied in France, as they were considered to be the most advanced in Europe. Dripsey became known for its fine quality paper, and were contracted to produce Treasury Bills and Bank Notes for the Bank of England.
In 1812, the mill covered six acres of ground – three of the acres were of buildings, passages and houses, and the other three were taken up by the mill pond. The number employed in the mills was 400. Many of these would have been carters of rags, which was the raw material. Rags were brought from the quays in Cork, having been imported from London, Liverpool and Belfast. Many of the mill workers lived in a small village which grew up around the mill, called Blackpool, which stretched for about three-quarters of a mile and which consisted of sixty mud cabins and some stone houses. The remains of the stones can still be seen.
In July 1823, it was reported that the valuable machinery, including some which had just arrived as part of plans to extend the business, was destroyed by a band of ruffians, consisting of 8 or 12 persons, supposed to have proceeded from the city. This, reportedly, caused in excess of £1000 worth of damage to machines alone, possibly due to fire. At that time, the Paper Mills were owned by the Magney Brothers from England. A full account can be seen here.
In 1837, it was reported by Samuel Lewis to be "situated in a deep and well-wooded glen; the buildings are of handsome appearance, and the works afford employment to a number of persons, varying from 70 to 100, in the manufacture of large quantities of paper for the English market."
After many years of being bought and sold, the paper mills were finally closed in 1864.
However, many years later, during World War I, Peggy, a daughter of the Bowen-Colthurst family, who at that time lived in Dripsey Castle, built a cheese factory in some of the buildings of the old paper mills and this was closed in 1921.
Dripsey Woollen Mills
In 1903, Mr Andrew O'Shaughnessy purchased Dripsey Woollen Mills from Mr Charles Olden who was then senior partner of the firm of Atkins and Chirnside and Company. It had previously been a flour mill. High quality woollen goods such as cellular blankets, bed-spreads and ladies and gents tweeds were made and exported to the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada and the United States.
As with the paper mills, a village grew by the mills, as more mill-workers came to the area. There were about 70 houses in the village which bore the unusual name of the Model Village and was seen as a social experiment at the time.
Some years later Mr O'Shaughnessy purchased Sallybrook Woollen Mills, Glanmire, and in 1929 he took over Kilkenny Woollen Mills, which was then in liquidation, thereby establishing himself as one of the leading woollen manufacturers in the country and an exporter to such far away places as China.
Dripsey Woollen Mills was one of the last operating Woollen Mills in Ireland.
The Dripsey Ambush
On the morning of 28 January 1921, in an area known as Godfrey's Cross, located about half way between the villages of Coachford and Dripsey, an IRA ambush party of men from the 6th Battalion Cork No. 1 Brigade lay in wait for a convoy of British troops that regularly used this road when travelling between Ballincollig Barracks and Macroom.
News that the IRA was preparing for action soon became common knowledge amongst the local population. One resident of the area, who lived just outside the village of Coachford at Leemont House, was Mrs Mary Lindsay, a woman with strong Loyalist convictions. Upon hearing of the IRA's preparations, she travelled to the military barracks at Ballincollig and informed the British authorities of what she knew.
The barracks in Ballincollig was occupied by troops from the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. Their commanding officer, Colonel Dowling, decided to launch an attack against the IRA. At around 3.30p.m. a column of British troops under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Garret Evans left the barracks for Dripsey village. At Dripsey the troops dismounted from their lorries, divided into five groups and set out to surround the ambush party. The IRA had scouts posted and one of these saw the approaching troops and alerted his comrades. The officer in charge of the ambush ordered a withdrawal, but firing soon broke out. Eight members of the IRA (five of whom were wounded) and two civilians were captured and brought to Ballincollig barracks. Two of the more seriously wounded IRA men were subsequently moved to the military hospital in Victoria Barracks. The others were later transferred to the military detention barracks in Cork where they awaited trial by military court.
On 8 February 1921 the trial of eight of the ten men captured at Dripsey opened in the gymnasium of the military detention barracks. As a matter of principle, Republicans who were captured and brought to trial refused to recognise or acknowledge British courts and claimed that they, as citizens of the Irish Republic, were only subject to laws that were passed by Dail Eireann. On this occasion, as the defendants would be liable to suffer the death penalty, brigade headquarters decided to test the legality of the military courts and sanctioned the appointment of defence counsel for the men. The defendants were;
Volunteers Thomas O'Brien, Patrick O'Mahoney, Timothy McCarthy, John Lyons, Jeremiah O'Callaghan and Daniel O'Callaghan, Eugene Langtry (civilian) and Denis Sheehan (civilian).
The military court consisted of a colonel and two majors of the British army. When the trial opened, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges. The proceedings lasted two days. Volunteer Jeremiah O'Callaghan together with Eugene Langtry and Denis Sheehan, both of whom had no connection with the IRA, were found not guilty and released. The remaining defendants were found guilty and sentenced to death.
Of the two men still detained in the military hospital, Captain James Barrett died while still a prisoner on 22 March 1922. Volunteer Denis Murphy stood trial in Victoria Barracks on 9 March. He was found guilty and sentenced to death, but this sentence was later commuted to one of 25 years' imprisonment.
Dripsey - Unlikely World Record Holders
The village of Dripsey is recorded in the Guinness Book of World Records at having the shortest St. Patricks Day Parade in the World measuring just 23.4 metres. It went the distance from one door to the next of the village's two pubs, The Weigh Inn and The Lee Valley.
It continued for nine years (1999 - 2007) until the closure of The Lee Valley Inn.