Desmond Corban-Lucas (b. 1930) (Part 1)
7.0015.00 Select options

Desmond Corban-Lucas (b. 1930) (Part 1)


Want unlimited access to the Irish Life and Lore Oral History Archive? Subscribe by purchasing Gold Subscription, Silver Subscription or Bronze Subscription!

Track 1: The discoveries made during archaeological excavations at Ballynacarriga in North Cork, carried out prior to motorway construction, are described initially. The Lucases arrived in Ireland during the Elizabethan plantation of Cork and settled in West and North Cork. They appear to have acted as agents for various great landowners. The Lucas pedigree in Ireland has been traced back to the 1590s and in England to the 12th century. Desmond Corban-Lucas details the history of Ballynacarriga House and its builder, the Rev. Cornelius Pyne, rector of Ballyhooley and Glanworth. The land was leased to the Rice family initially and later to Desmond’s great-grandfather, John Lucas, who married Mary Corban. The Corbans were prosperous millers while the Lucas family had position and Desmond describes Laurence Corban’s will which attempted to prevent John Lucas acquiring Corban property. In 1857 Mary was widowed, with two small children and owning much property and a milling business. Eventually the Land Commission bought the property in East and North Cork and in Limerick, leaving land bonds to Desmond’s father. Desmond inherited the property under the terms of Laurence Corban’s will. His father came into the property in 1934 but as he would not qualify for his full pension in the Indian Police in Burma until 1935, he requested of a neighbour, Grace Montgomery, that she look after the property for that interim year, which she did, making improvements to the property. Desmond describes his great-aunt Mary Lucas’s efficient running of the farm. Track 2: Mary Lucas was running the farm during the Troubles of the early 1900s, and Desmond outlines her interaction with the IRA, and explains that, to his knowledge, very few houses were burnt in his area. He talks about a few properties which were destroyed by fire and gives his views on the destruction that took place. Factors such as the slowness of the work of the Land Commission, the desirability of land ownership and attitudes towards landlords are considered. Desmond discusses construction projects which provided employment in the past and the importance of creameries in North Cork. He outlines the strong relationship between Heaslips grain suppliers in Cork and the Mitchelstown creamery. Track 3: Desmond was 33 when he inherited the property from his father. He had studied engineering at Trinity College, Dublin and he and his sister, Elizabeth, ran the property after the death of their parents. He speaks about the difficulties of modernising the farm along with the paying of death duties and rates. Track 4: Farming practices during his father’s lifetime are outlined, and Desmond says that there was no effective market for vegetables as most people grew their own. Fruit trees were grown in the walled garden. It was a dairying farm with some butter being made until the 1920s, at which point the milk was sent to the Mitchelstown Co-Op. His grandfather, Arthur John, inherited at the age of 9 and when he came into his inheritance at 21 he had a dance floor installed at the house. He was educated at Harrow and Cambridge, with funding coming from the profits from the old Corban mill. Desmond speaks of the financial prudence of Laurence Corban, he reflects on the family’s ability to keep on good terms with their neighbours and he remarks he admires his Great-Aunt Mary’s abilities as a businesswoman.

Additional information


Disk, MP3

Audio series:

The Irish Country House and the Great War


128 kbps

Download time limit:

48 hours

File size(s):

10.74 MB, 13.22 MB, 15.70 MB, 22.06 MB

Number of files:


Product ID:



The lives and times of the Corban-Lucas family of North Cork

Recorded by:

Maurice O'Keeffe – Irish Life and Lore