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Athan: Little Ford

There must be some doubt as to whether Ahane was ever a castle: local opinion is that it was no more than a mansion lived in by the O'Keeffe's after they were forced westwards. O'Riordans now live on the farm - the house of which is said to have been partly built from the old castle or house which lay further towards the Owentaraglin River in a field approaching a tall cliff. No trace remains, and there is no local idea of what the building looked like, and it has been gone, as far as memory goes, for over a hundred years. It was in all likelihood no more than 'a castellated mansion', as is suggested by Cronnelly in his Irish Family History, of the O'Keeffes.

The leaders of the family, or branch of them, resided here after leaving Dromagh and Drominagh during the middle of the 17th century (see also Cullen and Duarrigle). The O'Keeffe lands at Ahane had in fact been confiscated after the Desmond rebellion, but the family lived on as tenants until well into the 19th century in diminishing splendour. When the last meber lay dying in Millstreet Union Work House, as told to me by the Hickey brothers of Cullen, dogs were heard crying. This was said to be the case when any member of the family was about to die. They were fond of their dogs, and insisted on taking them into the church at Cullen during Mass until the priest denounced them from the alter. They were so enraged at this that one Sunday after Mass they followed him from Cullen to Nohavaldaly to kill him: but his horse jumped over a stream at Nohaval and sudden flood prevented them from following. (1)

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(1) The Castles of County Cork With 72 line drawings and 10 maps by the author James N. Healy

Copyright © 1988 by James N. Healy, p. 298.

Material reproduced by permission of the publisher.

The Mercier Press Limited

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24 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1