The new owner of Mallow Castle is a descendant of an Irish Potato Famine emigrant.
Mallow Castle, the former residence of the Jephson family, has been bought by a Famine emigrant's great-great-grandson and is now open to the public.
There are in fact not one but two castles on the grounds of the estate. The 'old' Mallow Castle was built in the twelfth century by the Normans and underwent several redevelopments before it was burned down in 1689 during the Irish Confederate Wars. Instead of restoring it, Sir Thomas Norreys, lord of the castle, built a new house on a different part of the estate and his family lived there for four hundred years.
The family sold the castle in 1984 to Mike McGinn, a management consultant from Washington DC, who is the great-great-grandson of a Famine emigrant.
The herd of white deer were included in the estate's inventory. A rare sight in Ireland, they are descended from a pair given as a wedding present from Queen Elizabeth I to her goddaughter Elizabeth Norreys circa 1610, upon her marriage to Sir John Jephson.
Mike McGinn and his wife Judi Moore have received a warm welcome from locals, many of whom have never been inside the castle grounds up to this. Speaking as the descendant of a poor Famine era emigrant, Mike McGinns is very happy to be back in the land of his forebears,
My ancestors left not because they wanted to but because they had to.
The next step in Mallow Castle’s history will be to open it up to the public. It will also be home to an Irish American museum.
The emigration experience of Irish people to America is well known and well documented. Mike McGinn believes the many successes of Irish people and Irish Americans in the United States are not celebrated and hopes Mallow Castle will now be able to facilitate this,
To show the people of Ireland what some of their ancestors accomplished in America.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 10 July 1985. The reporter is Michael Walsh.