Curraghchase House & Woods

Curraghchase House, Co. Limerick
This image is owned by the Limerick Studies Collection. © Mr P.J. O'Dwyer.

Curraghchase House was built in 1657 by Vere Hunt, an officer in Cromwell’s army, and remained the home of the De Vere family for over 300 years. The famous poet Aubrey De Vere was born in the house in 1814, but the mansion was destroyed by fire in 1941 and only the outer walls remain today. However, this has not deterred the Lesser Horseshoe Bat from making the cellars of the house its preferred hibernation site. It is the largest known site in Co. Limerick for this protected bat species, which is listed on Annex II of the EU Habitats Directive.

Curraghchase House and its 230 hectares of land were purchased by the State in 1957 and the area is protected as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The landscape is characterised by glacial drift deposits on carboniferous limestone rock-base, and is punctuated by a series of small lakes and fens.   Here the variety of sedges and rushes make an ideal foraging site for the Lesser Horseshoe Bat.

Large-scale tree planting on the estate took place in the 19th century. The woodlands are a mix of deciduous and coniferous trees and include varieties of oak, sycamore, hornbeam, Scots Pine, beech, ash, and hazel. Some areas of the estate support more exotic shrub thickets such as snowberry and laurel.

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