Welcome to Maggie’s Cottage! Built in the early 1900's, the cottage rests on a lovely lane in Dooree, County Tipperary, Ireland just 2 miles from the village of Upperchurch.
Maggie Bourke came to the cottage as a teenager and lived here most of her life with her brother Tom. After Tom’s sudden death in 1967, Maggie stayed there on her own, living a long and blessed life.
Maggie was known for her warm heart and her endearing eccentricities. She spent her days tending to her animals, baking, and doing housework. Her favorite pastime was racing outside at the sound of anyone passing by to flag them down for a chat. This way she kept track of everyone's families, their health, and any local news. It was also a good opportunity to ask if anyone had seen her beloved cow, who had a habit of escaping the yard, leaving Maggie to set off down the lane calling for her far too often.
Her neighbor and dear friend, Mary Ryan Maher, has this to say:
“Maggie had a very special bond with children and lots of young people loved to call to Maggie’s house and chat with her about their girlfriends, boyfriends, broken romances, etc. Many is the counseling session Maggie had in that kitchen in Dooree, including nursing this authors broken heart from time to time as a teenager. Needless to mention this was all done under “THE OFFICIAL SECRETS ACT,” as Maggie swore that no mother or father would ever know.
It was also known that Maggie accommodated a few mitchers from school [mitchers: kids cutting school/playing hooky] on rare occasions! Maggie Bourke, may the bed of Heaven rest your gentle soul, my childhood friend, my confidante, and as you were known to me 'my extra grandmother'.” - Mary Ryan Maher
Maggie has been gone for over twenty years, and her sweet cottage has changed hands several times, but to the people of Upperchurch, it will always be “Maggie Bourke’s.”
I first came to Upperchurch by chance in 2002. In my first evening at a local pub, I became enamored of the people and the music, and was drawn to return again and again. A few years later, I started looking at derelict cottages, as that was all I could afford. After many months of searching, and several misfires, I was starting to lose hope of finding anything. One day I got a phone call from my friend Roisin Ryan, age thirteen, announcing that she had found the perfect house for me.
I was reluctant to look at something I couldn’t buy, but Roisin was persistent. One look at Maggie's sweet, cozy, renovated cottage, and I was sold. When the financing fell into place, seemingly by magic, I knew it was meant to be. It wasn't until after I purchased the cottage that my uncle told me County Tipperary is the home of my ancestors. They all left for America in the 1820's, but their history somehow drew me home.
When you stay at Maggie's, you are in the “real Ireland,” and will experience a side of the country few tourists do. Two miles from the village, the cottage views offer nothing but rolling hills and beautiful stone ruins. Wander thru the countryside and meet my warm and welcoming neighbors. Or follow one of the beautiful walking trails mapped out by the village hill walking group.
As peaceful and remote as the cottage feels, it is still within driving distance of many of Ireland's best historical sites. After a day out touring, curl up by the turf fire, or head to one of the local pubs for a pint and a taste of the local traditional music.