They plan to give the 19th century home on Mahon peninsula back to the city for public use in time for the Capital of Culture event next year.
In a deal agreed yesterday with Cork city council, the supermarket tycoons said they will spend up to €2 million to bring the house back to its former glory.
When restored, the property, which was also home to the Murphy family who established Irish Distillers, will be available as a community resource.
Up to 16 housing units for the elderly will also be built on the site.
The home will remain in city council ownership and will be managed by SHARE, the housing charity for the elderly.
“This is an extremely generous offer from the Dunne family,” said Cork city manager Joe Gavin yesterday. “They want to make a contribution to Cork, especially given its status as Capital of Culture next year.”
Last night, a Dunne family spokesperson said the family have very fond memories of growing up in Ringmahon House and have a strong affinity with Cork, where their first store was opened.
“Dunnes Stores are delighted to be associated with the restoration of Ringmahon House, which will be of great future benefit to the Mahon community,” said the spokesperson.
Cork’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Colm Burke, said the city council is very grateful for the very generous initiative of Dunnes Stores.
“This will be another milestone as the city celebrates its designation as European Capital of Culture in 2005,” he said.
Restoration work is expected to begin in a matter of weeks.