The original mansion house was built in the 1820’s as a luxurious home for a local butter merchant, complete with a basement, privy, two coach houses and two stables. Perfectly positioned on the hilltop overlooking the city, so he could view his cargo coming in and out of Cork harbour, it was aptly named Lee View House.
During the 18th century, Cork’s economic wealth prospered through the export of butter, pork and salted beef to the West Indies with English settlers benefitting most. By the close of the century, the local industry had evolved to include textiles, tanning, distilling and brewing, all of which were generating financial gain for the city. The wealthiest families began to move to the suburbs with villas and houses built along the northern hills such as St. Luke’s, Sunday’s Well and further east to Montenotte and Tivoli.
Similarly, fine houses were built in Blackrock and Douglas on the south side. These were often set in well-kept grounds and were far from the overcrowding of the city centre. New bridges allowed access to these areas, while in the later 19th century – railways, such as Cork, Blackrock, Passage Railway improved connectivity.