Giving up tips from aristocratic postmen for love

There is no great fondness today for the heritage of the Anglo-Irish landowners, whose great country houses have shaped our towns and ruled our tenant populace for hundreds of years. But at the same time, many local stories passed down through the generations will tell how some of the nobles went out of their way to help the local people; sometimes at the expense of their own safety and reputation.

because they didn’t have everything in their favor. The high walls around their lands held them as captive as a suspicious populace. So her own broader social network was vital to her survival. And strict compliance and closed ranks were required to maintain this network.


Robert has an illicit liaison with Eileen in a scene from The Minnits of Anabeg

It meant the Minnitt family, the landlords of Annaghbeg in Co Tipperary, had a lot to lose as they stuck their heads over the parapet to help the locals during the Great Famine. Joshua Minnitt of Anaghbeg House near Nenagh was a Protestant Justice of the Peace and owned an estate covering more than 1,000 acres.

Minnitt saw food being exported even as the local population began to starve. This prompted him to intervene with the British authorities to reduce the amount of food being taken from the region to feed British forces abroad. The latter campaigned in Africa, India and Mexico, and absorbed vast quantities of goods in Ireland.

Irish tenant farmers have hitherto depended on lumper potatoes for most of their diet, and while a blight ruined this crop, vast quantities of grain, livestock and other produce were exported from the country in shiploads.


A look inside from one of the picture windows

A million starved to death and a million left the country. The effects on the economy reverberated, causing massive emigration to further shrink the population in the decades that followed.

In 1847 the population of England was just over 15 million while that of Ireland was 8.5 million. It has recently been estimated that if the authorities had fed the starving in those years, Ireland’s population would now be around 30 million.

Joshua Minnitt’s son Robert, who played a key role in managing his father’s estate, mingled with the local renters on a daily basis. He even went further than his father. Too far indeed by the standards of his own family. Much to Joshua’s dismay, Robert went to the newspapers to speak about the appalling conditions at the local workhouses in Tipperary. Local “big houses” often played a role in their operation.


One of the reception rooms

Worse, he fell in love with Eileen Kennedy, a local Catholic girl, and married her against his parents’ wishes.

Probably under pressure from “big house” society, Joshua disowned and disinherited Robert.

Rather than take over the family seat, Anaghbeg House and its 1,000+ acre estate; Robert would instead become a postman and he and Eileen would raise 13 children in a tiny house on the outskirts of the Minnitt holdings. Robert and Joshua never spoke again..

Joshua’s grandson, James, later joined the independence struggle and served as a Republican motorist in the years leading up to the founding of the state.

Her story was told on screen by London-based writer-director Alan Brown, a direct descendant of Joshua and Robert Minnitt. His 2013 movie The Minnits of Anabeg starring Patrick Bergin and Frank McGrath was part of a trilogy directed by Brown about how The Famine impacted Irish families.

At almost 4,000 square feet, Ballycraggan House in Puckane was among the larger houses owned by the Minnitts of Annaghbeg. It has the appearance and size of a widow’s house or estate manager’s residence. Perhaps the Minnitt Estate needed to hire someone after Robert left the herd and they lost his estate manager skills.

The timing is about right as Ballcraggan was built in the mid 19th century and contained the structure of a then derelict smaller ‘gentleman sharecropper’ farmhouse’ which itself had been built some 50 years earlier.

Today, Ballycraggan appears on the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage’s list of Houses of Interest, which highlights its gables and chimneys as distinctive landmarks, distinguishing it from the more sober Georgian style that typified country houses of this size in the Victorian era .

The property was acquired and further worked on by its current owners who have adapted it to create accommodation suitable for family living.


A tree house for children on the premises

Ballycraggan has a hard sweeping tree lined driveway leading to a front parking and turning area. The house itself has a terracotta painted plaster facade under a slate roof. Ballycraggan is entered via double doors and the accommodation is spread over two main floors. The current owners have invested a lot of money to adapt the house to modern family life, but it has not lost its historical residential character and atmosphere.

Today it has an open kitchen, which forms the heart of the house. But there are also four reception rooms and the formal dining room in particular transports you back to the era of the Minnitts of Annaghbeg.

For remote workers, a downstairs reception desk has become a home office/study, and at the back there’s a family room and shoe room, which is handy given the home is just over 12 acres. There are six bedrooms (one of which is ensuite) and a family bathroom on the first floor. The bedrooms are of a size that would allow for more bathrooms, although planning permission is required. Historical features include coving, ceiling rosettes, sash windows, and the gables and chimneys mentioned above.

At the rear is a stone stable building with four stalls and a shed. along with a dilapidated outbuilding.

Savills demands 750,000 euros. Giving up tips from aristocratic postmen for love

Fry Electronics Team

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