I love the lore surrounding old houses.
Recently, our neighbour George approached me in the pub with a story about our own home. He had spoken with a gentleman called Vincent Fitzgibbon, who used to live in Killeagh. When the Hogan family owned our house, it was used as a sawmill that manufactured wooden carriage wheels from 1920 through the mid-fifties. Fitzgibbon shared his memories of working there in 1948-49 with George.
As the story goes, one day a farmer approached Sam(?) Hogan to make some posts for him. A ship had sunk off the coast of Youghal, and the farmer had salvaged some wood from it. Now, Hogan was too clever to use this beautiful teak for something so utilitarian, so he told the farmer the wood was unsuitable for the task and offered to make the posts out of his own stock. In exchange, he would take the load of salvaged wood.
Apparently, this teak was used to make the staircase and front door to the house. I suspect that it also was used to make the fireplace surround in the master bedroom, too.
Maybe someday we can meet Mr. Fitzgibbon, and record his memories about the house. There is a very Irish tradition of oral storytelling, and I’m afraid writing what I remember after the fact looses much of its richness.