Coopershill House, Riverstown, Co. Sligo

Contact: Simon O’Hara

Tel: 071-9165108

www.coopershill.com

(Tourist Accommodation Facility)

Listed open dates in 2021 but check in advance: May-Sept Tues-Sat, 2pm-6pm.

Fee: adult/OAP/student €10, child/ National Heritage Week €5

While we stayed in Annaghmore [1] during Heritage Week in August 2021 with Durcan O’Hara and his wife Nicola, we first visited Durcan’s cousin in nearby Newpark [2], then another cousin, Simon O’Hara, at Coopershill.

The O’Haras were a Gaelic family who managed to keep their position of importance through changes in sovereignty, from the invasion of the Normans through the Tudor and Stuart monarchy, the Cromwellian Parliament and the overthrow of King James II. The O’Haras of Coopershill and Annaghmore are of descendants of the “O’Hara Boy” family – the other O’Hara family of Sligo is the O’Hara Reogh family.

An ancestor, Tadgh O’Hara, encouraged his sons, Tadgh and Kean, to convert to Protestantism in order to be better able to hold on to their land. On Tadgh’s death in 1616 his sons, still minors, became Wards of Court. The eldest son, Tadgh, was raised by Sir Charles Coote (1581-1642), 1st Baronet Coote of Castle Cuffe, Queen’s County, who was Provost Marshal of Connaught and had much land in the area. Edward Cooper of Markree, another property which we visited, was a cornet in Sir Charles Coote’s dragoons. Tadgh died in 1634 and his property passed to his brother Kean. Some of the O’Hara relatives were implicated in the Rebellion of 1641 but Kean, as an Irish Protestant, was able to hold on to his property [3]. Coopershill belonged to the Cooper family but passed by marriage to the O’Hara family, as we will see below.

According to the Historic Houses of Ireland website, Arthur Cooper (born around 1716) and his wife Sarah (born Carleton, from Enniskillen, County Fermanagh) lived in a sixteenth century fortified house on the River Unsin (or Unshin), near the village of Riverstown. This house still exists as a ruin on the property of Coopershill, and we passed it as we approached the main house.

Arthur Cooper, b. 1716.
Sarah Carleton (born around 1718), wife of Arthur Cooper.

The pre-1700s house is attached to a farm building which was built in about 1830, according to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. The ruin is evocative and may have been retained in order to embody the picturesque notion of nostalgic antiquity. The newer house was positioned to been seen from a bridge, in a deliberately created picturesque view. The grounds were landscaped with plantings of trees and a deerpark, which remains today.

Pre-1700 ruin, called Tanzyfort House [4]
The pre-1700 ruin is attached to an 1830s farm building.
The farm building, called The Kennels, which housed the groundskeeper and the hunting dogs.

Legend has it that in the early 1750s, Arthur and Sarah Cooper engaged an architect and placed two buckets of gold sovereigns on the ground, instructing him to build a suitable house on a hill in the middle of their County Sligo estate, Cooper’s Hill. [5] The architect’s plans overshot the budget and the sovereigns ran out even before the walls were built! Arthur Cooper was forced to sell some of his land to continue building, and the house was completed around twenty years after it was started, in 1774. The completion date is noted on the keystone over the front door.

The keystone of the front door surround is inscribed “1774”, the date of completion. The O’Hara armorial plate would have been put up later, as the house was still belonging to the Coopers in 1774.
O’Hara crest on the stables at Annaghmore.

Coopershill has two similar facades, at the front and back of the house.

The front of Coopershill.
The back facade of the house, almost exactly the same as the front.

The stone, a high quality local ashlar, took eight years to quarry. [6] One would assume that the Coopers of Markree Castle and the Coopers of Coopershill are related, but Durcan told us that he has not found the connection.

The house has been attributed by Desmond FitzGerald, the Knight of Glin, to Francis Bindon, who also designed Woodstock in County Kilkenny (1740), which we visited later in the week. [7] Bindon also painted portraits, including those of Jonathan Swift and Charles Cobbe, Archbishop of Dublin. FitzGerald writes:

Perhaps Bindon’s very last mansion is Coopershill, County Sligo, although like most of these houses, no documentary evidence exists for it. Tower-like and stark, of similar proportions to Raford [County Galway], it is made up of two equivalent fronts composed with a central rusticated Venetian window and door, and a third floor three-light window. The fenestration is reminiscent of [Richard] Castle’s demolished Smyth mansion in Kildare Place, Dublin. Coopershill is sited particularly well and stands high above a river reminding one of the feudal strength of the 17th century towerhouse. As at Raford, the roof is overlapping and 19th century.” [8]

Raford House, County Galway, also attributed to Francis Bindon, built around 1760. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. It has the same tripartite door structure, with a Venetian window above and a grouping of three windows together above that.
Woodstock House, County Kilkenny, also designed by Francis Bindon.
A detail of Woodstock house, which shows some similarity to the tripartite window with rusticated surrounds above the front door at Coopershill. Photograph taken from the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The front has two bays on either side of the Gibbsian doorcase (a Gibbsian doorcase usually has “blocking” where rectangular blocks stick out at intervals). A “Gibbsian surround” is an eighteenth century treatment of a door or window, seen particularly in the work of James Gibbs (1682-1754); it usually has columns or pilasters with an architrave, that is, a lintel resting on columns, and voussoirs (wedge shaped elements, usually stones, forming an arch), a keystone (wedge shaped stone at the top of an arch) and pediment (a formalized gable derived from that of a temple). [9] Above the doorcase of Coopershill is a rusticated Venetian window (which Bence-Jones describes as “a window with three openings, that in the centre being round-headed and wider than those on either side; a very familiar feature of Palladian architecture”), and a three-light window on the centre of the top storey. All of the other windows in the front have rusticated surrounds (that is, a particular treatment of joints or faces of masonry to give an effect of strength).

There is a hardwood door with fifteen raised-and-fielded panels, an interlaced fanlight, and sandstone steps with dressed limestone parapet walls bridging the basement area. [10]

The Gibbsian doorcase – a Gibbsian doorcase usually has “blocking” where rectangular blocks stick out at intervals. In this case, the doorcase includes two “sidelight” windows, though this is not typical of a “Gibbsian” doorcase. Above the doorcase is a Venetian window.
view from the front of the house.
Bridge which we crossed on the drive through the demesne.

To reach the house we drove across a lovely bridge, pictured above, which was built at the same time as the house, in 1771. The foundation stones kept sinking into the mud and eventually sheepskin was laid on the ground, which stopped the stones sinking. This same technique is being used nowadays in the bog to create paths for walking. One’s first view of the house is attained when crossing the bridge.

A great little face carved into the bridge along with the date 1771. Photograph taken from the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
The view of Coopershill from the bridge.

Simon welcomed us, the seventh generation of the family to live here. Arthur and Sarah Cooper’s son, Arthur Brooke Cooper (1775-1854) (“Brooke” was Sarah’s mother’s maiden name), inherited Coopershill and married Jane Frances O’Hara, the daughter of Charles Edward O’Hara (1746-1822) from nearby Annaghmore.

Arthur Brooke Cooper (c. 1775-1854).

Their eldest son, also named Arthur Brooke Cooper, predeceased his father in 1845, so their second son, Charles William (1817-1898), inherited Coopershill on the death of his father in 1854. He also inherited Annaghmore on the death in 1860 of Jane Frances’s brother, Charles King O’Hara (1784-1860), on condition that Charles William take the name “O’Hara.”

The tennis court. The cousins from Annaghmore, Coopershill and Newpark play tennis together every week.

Fortunately Charles William Cooper O’Hara married well by marrying Anne Charlotte Streatfeild, daughter of Richard Shuttleworth Streatfeild of the Rocks, Uckfield, Sussex. They moved to Annaghmore and Charles William’s sisters, Margaret Sarah and Mary Jane Caroline Cooper, remained living in Coopershill.

Portraits of Charles William Cooper, who took the name O’Hara when he inherited his uncle’s estate, and his wife Anne Streatfield.

Stephen and I were excited to learn that an ancestor of Simon’s and Durcan’s who had lived at Annaghmore (albeit an earlier house), Charles O’Hara (c.1705-1776), was not only a friend of Edmund Burke, politician, writer and philosopher who wrote Reflections on the Revolution in France and A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, but also of Stephen’s ancestor George Macartney (1737-1806).

Annaghmore, County Sligo, which also belongs to the O’Hara family, and where we were staying while visiting Section 482 properties in Sligo. The principal seat of the O’Hara family since medieval times, the current house replaced an earlier house, and was built around 1820 for Charles O’Hara (1746-1822), MP for County Sligo, and enlarged and remodelled around 1860 to designs by the architect James Franklin Fuller, for Charles William Cooper, who took the name O’Hara when he inherited from his uncle.
The bedroom in which we stayed at Annaghmore.

Charles William and Anne Charlotte’s eldest son, Charles Kean O’Hara (1860-1947) inherited Annaghmore, and the second son, Arthur Cooper O’Hara (1862-1934), inherited Coopershill.

Charles Kean O’Hara of Annaghmore also did not marry and had no children, so when he died in 1947, Annaghmore passed to his nephew, Donal, eldest son of his brother, Frederick William O’Hara (1875-1949).

Three bay side of Coopershill.
Three bay side of Coopershill plus basement.
Basement of Coopershill.

Charles Kean O’Hara had many brothers and sisters. His sister Charlotte Jane O’Hara married Alexander Perceval of Temple House, County Sligo, another section 482 property which unfortunately we did not visit on this trip to Sligo. Charles Kean’s brother Richard Edward had meanwhile purchased Newpark, another section 482 property which we visited. Another brother, Alexander, moved to the United States. Although his brother Frederick was not the next eldest, his son inherited Annaghmore because his older brother, Richard Edward, only had a daughter. As we were told when we visited Newpark, if Richard Edward’s daughter had been a son instead, that child would have inherited Annaghmore!

Arthur Cooper O’Hara (1862-1934) also did not have any children, so Coopershill passed to his nephew, Francis Cooper O’Hara (1906-1982), second son of his brother Frederick. Francis had married an English woman, Joan Bridgeman, during his career of tea planting in India. After his father’s death in 1947, Frank and Joan moved to Coopershill to start a new life in agriculture.

The impressive front hall of Coopershill.
The front hall of Coopershill. Upon entry, one is greeted by a pair of busts in niches, deer heads, and a door with pilasters, pediment and fanlight.
Thomas Wentworth, the 1st Earl of Strafford (1593-1641).

The front hall has decorative plasterwork and carved door surrounds, with two doorcases on either side and one leading to the stair hall, with niches on either side. There is a nice contrast in the yellow of the walls, darker in the niches and plasterwork for emphasis. The hall features a large portrait of Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1593-1641). From 1632 to 1640 he was Lord Deputy of Ireland. He was a loyal supporter of King Charles I and was condemned to death by the Parliament and like Charles I himself, executed. He is not to be confused with the later Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford of a later creation (1672-1739) whose daughter Anne married William James Conolly, father of Thomas Conolly of Castletown, County Kildare.

The lock on the front door with its heart shape reminded me of the lock on the door of Cregg Castle in Galway.
The heart-shaped lock in Cregg Castle in County Galway.

After Frank and Joan’s family of six children had grown up, they began to take paying guests into their home. The website tells us some families came year after year for the childrens’ riding as the stables had several ponies. Frank died in 1982, and Joan continued for another four years on her own, joining a growing group of owners of large manor houses from all over Ireland who could only keep their houses in shape with the aid of income generated by taking paying guests.

Frank and Joan’s son Brian Cooper O’Hara and his wife Lindy took over the Country House Hotel in early 1987, and continued until their retirement in 2007. They now live in a new stone house beside the stables and their son Simon lives in Coopershill continues the business.

Stone accommodation next to the stables.

The dining room contains portraits of the ancestors, and the house has the original fireplaces. The room has a simple decorative cornice.

We then entered the Drawing Room, painted a bold turquoise. It too has a decorative cornice, tall windows with shutters and a marble fireplace.

Stephen admires the grandfather clock.
Through the windows, a wonderful view of the old bridge.

The Historic Houses of Ireland entry about Coopershill points out that the service staircase is of stone but the principal staircase is constructed from timber in a reversal of the usual fashion. There is good decorative plasterwork of the 1770s in the reception rooms and especially over the main staircase.

The view into the front hall from the staircase – one can see the lovely old floor tiles. The doorframe mirrors those in the front hall, with carved pilasters and pediment.
A rent table in the staircase hall. A tenant could place his rent in the drawer facing him then the table top spun around to the landlord. In this way other tenants may not see how much a particular tenant is paying.

The staircase hall has another niche, and portraits of William and Mary hang either side of the door. It’s unusual to have the Royalist Wentworth as well as William and Mary – Stephen says the family are keeping in with both sides! (normally a monarchist supporter of Charles I would be a supporter of King James II, who was overthrown by William). In fact the O’Hara ancestor, Kean O’Hara, was careful to keep in with both the Jacobites and the Williamites.

The fine timber staircase. Although there are pikes on either side of the window overlooking the stairs, the family were not rebels in 1641 or 1798, although some of their relatives might have been!
Ancient pikes.

There are not only pikes, but many other souvenirs from battles and travels.

An old blunderbuss.
A gong made from an enormous shell casing.
Simon showing us up the stairs.
Beautiful Adamesque plasterwork on the ceiling of the staircase hall.
The position of the staircase crosses the doorcase of the back facade of the house rather awkwardly, which is probably a result of the house being built over two decades.

Upstairs are the bedrooms, available for accommodation. All are en suite and several have canopied beds. You can see photographs of all of the bedrooms on the website.

The bedrooms doors also have elaborate carved doorcases.

We continued on up the stairs to the third storey.

After our tour upstairs, Simon took us down to the basement. Here he showed us some wonderful leather ammunition pouches that must be very old as they bear the initials of Arthur Brooke Cooper.

He also showed us the laundry, which still contains an beautiful old washing unit as well as the new ones. There is also a working, certified abbatoir, for processing the deer in the deer park for venison, which can be purchased (along with Coopershill honey, from their own bees).

Old laundry boiler, with lovely details.
An example of an old bell alert system for the servants, in the basement of Coopershill.
More complete set of bells for servants in Annaghmore.
A newer bell system at Coopershill.

We went outside after our tour to take a quick look around the stables and gardens.

Fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden are served to guests at Coopershill.
Archway leading past the tennis court to the stable yard.

[1] https://www.annaghmore.ie/

[2] https://irishhistorichouses.com/2021/11/30/newpark-house-and-demesne-newpark-ballymote-co-sligo/

[3] Bartlett, Thomas. “The O’Haras of Annaghmore c. 1600—c. 1800: Survival and Revival.”

Irish Economic and Social History. Vol. 9 (1982), pp. 34-52. Published on JStor, https://www.jstor.org/stable/24337261?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents

[4] Orser, Charles E. Jr. “Symbolic Violence and Landscape Pedagogy: An Illustration from the Irish Countryside” Historical Archaeology. Vol. 40, No. 2 (2006), pp. 28-44. Published on JStor, https://www.jstor.org/stable/25617328?read-now=1&refreqid=excelsior%3Ab2963d83c7041caf7fce13fe69e6dc6b&seq=5#page_scan_tab_contents

[5] http://www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Coopershill

[6] Mark Bence-Jones. A Guide to Irish Country Houses (originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988, Constable and Company Ltd, London.

[7] FitzGerald, Desmond, “Francis Bindon (c. 1690-1765) His Life and Works,” Quarterly Bulletin of the Irish Georgian Society April-Sept 1967.

[8] I am indebted to the blog of “Lavender’s Blue” for this quote from Desmond FitzGerald. https://lvbmag.wpcomstaging.com/2018/10/02/coopershill-house-county-sligo-francis-bindon/

[9] https://irishhistorichouses.com/2020/04/18/architectural-definitions/

[10] https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/32313019/coopershill-house-cooperhill-riverstown-sligo

Newpark House and Demesne, Newpark, Ballymote, Co. Sligo

contact: Christopher & Dorothy-Ellen Kitchin

Tel: 087-3706869, 087-2894550

Listed Open Dates in 2021 but check in advance: March 1-5, 8-12, 15-19, 22-26, May 10-16, 24-27, 31, June 1-17, Aug 14-22, Sept 7-8, 9am-1pm

Fee: adult €7, OAP/student/group €5 

We visited Newpark House during Heritage Week, when we went on holidays to Sligo. We were delighted to discover that the owner, Christopher, is a cousin of Durcan O’Hara, with whom we were staying at Annaghmore in nearby Collooney.

Burke’s A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland tells us that Newpark was built for Robert King Duke (1770-1836), Justice of the Peace and Deputy Governor of Sligo, but the Historic Houses of Ireland website points out that he was only a boy of ten in 1780 when the house was built, so it was probably built for his father Robert (1732-1792). The Duke family descends from John Duke, who came to Sligo at the time of Oliver Cromwell and was granted land in Sligo in 1662. One can still see traces of their presence in the decorative plasterwork in the house. [1]

In 1910, the In 1910, the Duke family left Newpark, and it was purchased by Richard O’Hara, a younger son from nearby Annaghmore and Coopershill.

The house may have been designed by John Roberts of Waterford, who also may have designed Enniscoe in County Mayo, another house we visited during Heritage Week [2].

The house has a main rectangular block of three bays and two storeys, with a basement and dormer attic, built in 1780. The house was extended in the 1870s and lost some of its original features, but the original staircase remains.

A two-bay two-storey over basement wing was added around 1920.

The house is lime rendered with a tripartite entrance: a round-headed door-case flanked by narrow rectangular sidelights. There is another door in the front in the newer section of the house.

Two storey addition to the house.
The round-headed doorcase with side windows and fanlight.
Eaved roof rests on corbels, i.e. blocks projecting from the walls supporting the roof.
The Kitchens have recently received a grant to fix their gabled windows, which are on both sides of the house, and have decorative wooden bargeboards.
Gabled windows with decorative bargeboards, seen here above the later two storey addition.

The Historic Houses of Ireland website tells us that architect and writer Jeremy Williams observed of Newtown: “What strikes one is the harmony of the whole ensemble. Entrance gates and lodge, lime avenue, house, carriage-house, farm yard and partly walled demesne are all proportionate to each other and reveal the unpretentious lifestyle of a typical west of Ireland squireen, a rare survival today.” 

The gate lodge is available for hired accommodation. [3]

The entrance gates to Newpark.
My photograph of the picturesque gate lodge of Newpark – I did not realise it is much bigger than it looks from the side facing the driveway. You can see the lower storey in my photograph below.
Photograph taken from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, since I did not like to walk around the gate lodge, unsure if it had residents! In this photograph you can see the lovely arched window at the front.
The gate lodge is much larger than it looks from the photographs I took, since I did not walk around it. This photograph taken from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage shows that the side of the lodge away from the driveway has another storey, lower than that facing the driveway. This extension was built in about 1960 onto the original c. 1840 cottage. [4]
Entrance drive to Newpark.

Robert Duke (1732-1792) of Newtown married Lucinda Parke, daughter of William Parke of Dunally, County Sligo. The Parkes of Dunally were a branch of the Parkes who owned Parkes Castle in County Leitrim, which we also visited during Heritage Week.

Parkes Castle, County Leitrim, built in the early seventeenth century by Captain Robert Parke on the foundations on an old O’Rourke castle built by Brian O’Rourke, Prince of Breffne.

Robert King Duke (1770-1836) also married a Parke from Dunally, Anne. Newpark passed down through the family and it must have been his great-grandson, Roger Philip Duke (1874-1944), who sold Newpark.

Richard Edward O’Hara (1863-1948) who purchased Newpark in 1913 was the son of Charles William Cooper (1817-1898) of Coopershill, who took the name O’Hara when he inherited Annaghmore from his uncle, Charles King O’Hara (1784-1860) (the “King” may have been from Charles King O’Hara’s mother’s mother, whose maiden name was King). Charles William Cooper O’Hara married Anne Charlotte Streatfield, a wealthy heiress, and they lived in Annaghmore. They had many children, one of whom, Richard Edward O’Hara (1863-1948), purchased Newpark. He moved to Queensland, Australia, where he farmed, and married Ethel Fisken in 1911. They returned to live in Ireland and he purchased Newpark.

They had a daughter, Sheela, who married Finlay Kitchin, grandfather of the current owner, Christopher. Christopher’s parents moved out of Newpark only a few years ago to a house built on the property, yielding the house to their son and his wife, Dorothy-Ellen. Our week took a serendipitous turn when we learned that Dorothy-Ellen is the daughter of Mary White of The Old Rectory, Killedmond in Carlow, where we were going to be staying later that week! [5]

Dorothy and Christopher had arranged for a special event for Heritage Week, so Stephen and I purchased tickets for this: a nature talk and walk by Michael Bell of Naturelearn [6]. Christopher told us that the house would be open to visitors during the event.

Dorothy-Ellen in front of her home.
The gardens in front of the house.

Christopher greeted us and was kind enough to take time from his busy preparations for the Heritage Week event to give us a tour of the house. He pointed out that the geometrical plan is most unusual, and reminded the architectural historian Maurice Craig of a swastika, with four principal rooms of unequal size arranged around a small central hall. Another Section 482 property, Oakfield Park in County Donegal, also has this arrangement.

Front hall of Newpark, with “cobweb” fanlight.
The front hall of Newpark, with lovely plasterwork on ceiling: a decorative cornice and central ceiling rose feature.
The plasterwork on the front hall ceiling, of acanthus leaves and floral swags and a geometrical design.
Isaac Nicholson, b. 1840, a Kitchin ancestor.

The drawing room also has fine stucco work, with garlands and flowers and urns.

Above the fireplace the frieze of plasterwork has a shield with the arms of the Duke family, a chevron between three terns. The frieze also features the crest of the Dukes, a sword plunged in a plume of nine ostrich feathers. Robert O’Byrne points out that there is a cornet with plumes rising from it, and that this may represent the coat of arms of Lucinda Parke, wife of Robert Duke. [7]

The crest of the Dukes features in the cornice frieze, a sword plunged in a plume of nine ostrich feathers.

The other main reception room is the dining room.

Dorothy-Ellen took us downstairs to show us the basement, and the room in which she is creating a museum of the old things from the house.

All the heating is supplied by this passat boiler which Dorothy-Ellen showed us.

Dorothy and Christopher have converted their barns into a beautiful event space which they call the Juniper Barn. [8] They run it according to eco-conscious principals very like those of Dorothy-Ellen’s mother, a former Green party TD. We headed over to the barns to attend the nature talk.

The names of Christopher and Dorothy-Ellen’s children are carved in the swing.
I asked Christopher about the “S” shapes on the barns – they are part of the construction of the barn.
Barn with bellcote.
The beautiful interior of the barn, which is available for hire.
I was very impressed by the hanging plume pampas grass decorations, created by Dorothy-Ellen.

I was even impressed by the “decor” of the bathroom in the outbuildings, and especially like the stirrup incorporated into the chain of the cistern.

The animals and skulls brought by Michael Bell, including a huge vertebrae, and a dolphin skull.
A “death’s head” hawkmoth with what looks like a skull on its head. Michael Bell set up a moth catcher, and showed us the typical types of moths of the area.
Michael and his daughter brought us down to the lake to see what wildlife we could find. We saw different types of dragonflies, and he told us about the lonely swan, whose mate had died. I hope it won’t be lonely for long!

We then headed back to see the gardens around the house, including the herb garden and walled garden.

The herb garden, created by Christopher’s parents.
The walled garden contains a polytunnel.

[1] http://www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Newpark

[2] http://www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Newpark and see my entry about Enniscoe, County Mayo, https://irishhistorichouses.com/2021/11/25/enniscoe-house-gardens-castlehill-ballina-co-mayo/

[3] https://www.juniperbarn.ie/accommodation

[4] https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/32403317/newpark-house-newpark-sligo

[5] https://irishhistorichouses.com/2020/07/16/the-old-rectory-killedmond-borris-co-carlow/

[6] https://www.naturelearn.com

[7] https://theirishaesthete.com/2019/01/30/frieze-it/

[8] https://www.juniperbarn.ie/venue

Enniscoe House & Gardens, Castlehill, Ballina, Co. Mayo

contact: Susan Kellett Tel: 096-31112 

www.enniscoe.com

(Tourist Accommodation Facility)

Listed open dates in 2022 but check in advance: April 1-Oct 31

Garden, April 1-Oct 31, weekdays 10am-5.30pm, weekends 1.30pm-5.30pm

Fee: garden & heritage centre adult €8, OAP €6, child/student €3, family 2 adults and 2 children €15

Enniscoe House, County Mayo.

We visited Enniscoe House in August, during Heritage Week. I was delighted that the owner, Susan Kellett, had heard of and likes my website! She gave us a lovely tour of her home, which she also runs as an upmarket guest house. One can stay in the beautiful bedrooms in the house where breakfast is provided and dinner is also an option, or in self-catering accommodation in converted stables.

Enniscoe house is a two storey house with a five bay entrance front, with a central window in the upper storey above the pedimented tripartite doorway. The doorway has Doric columns and pilasters, and sidelights. The side elevation has five bays. [1]

Side of the house.

Susan’s father inherited the property from his cousin, Mervyn Pratt (1873-1950). Mervyn’s grandfather, another Mervyn Pratt (1807-1890) married Madeline Eglantine Jackson, heiress, from Enniscoe. We came across Mervyn Pratt before, when we visited Cabra Castle. [2]

Mervyn and Madeline Eglantine’s daughter Louisa Catherine Hannah Pratt, the sister of Joseph, the second Mervyn’s father, married Thomas Rothwell from Rockfield, County Meath (which is currently for sale for €1.75 million [3]), and Susan’s father was their descendant. [4]

The view from Enniscoe House. The house is on the shore of Lough Conn. The horses are Connemara ponies – the land is leased to the National Parks and Wildlife, and they are keeping rare breeds such as Connemara ponies on the property. President Erskine Childers gave a herd of Connemara ponies to the state, and these ponies are related to them.

An informative booklet about Enniscoe which Susan gave me tells us that in ancient times, there was a castle at “Inniscoe,” one of the chief residences of the Kings of Hy-Fiachrach (who claimed descent from Fiachrae, brother of Niall of the Nine Hostages). The booklet tells us that traces of early earthworks can still be found. “Innis Cua” means the island of the hound. The O’Dowda, a Hy-Fiachrach family, ruled in the area and were famous for their greyhounds, which probably led to the Anglicised name Enniscoe. From the time of the Normans coming to Ireland, the land was fought over by the Bourkes, Barretts, Lynotts and Cusacks, and eventually owned by the Bourkes. At one stage Theobald Bourke, “Tibbot ne Long” (Theobald of the Ships), 1st Viscount of Mayo (1567-1629) owned the land around Enniscoe.

The information booklet tells us that the Patent Rolls of James I state that Enniscoe was possessed by the sons of John McOliverus Bourke in 1603 (this Patent Roll sounds like a great source of information! Copies are available in the National Library, and the information is gathered from 1603-1619). In the Strafford Inquisition of 1625, which gathered information about the landowners of County Mayo for Thomas Wentworth, the Earl of Strafford (who had plans for a Plantation), Richard Roe Bourke was recorded as having one third of the castle, town and lands of Enniscoe, and Thomas Roe Bourke had the other two thirds.

By 1641, the Bourkes no longer lived at Enniscoe. Susan’s booklet tells us that a Roger William Palmer owned the lands at one point – perhaps related to Roger Palmer, 1st Earl of Castlemaine (1634-1705), who was married to Barbara Villiers, who later became a favourite of King Charles II.

In the 1660s, a soldier in Cromwell’s army, Francis Jackson, was granted the lands at Enniscoe. This was confirmed by Charles II in 1669. He settled down to live in Ireland and to farm the land.

In the mid-eighteenth century George Jackson (1717-1789), great grandson of Francis, built a large farmhouse, using stones of the old castle of “Inniscoe” and oak trees recovered from nearby bogland. This house was a tall single gabled building of five bays, and it has been incorporated into the current house – Susan pointed out to us where the newer house joins to the old. George married Jane Cuffe, daughter of James Cuffe of Ballinrobe, County Mayo, and sister of James, the 1st and last Baron Tyrawley of County Mayo [of the second creation – the first creation of Baron Tyrawley was for Charles O’Hara in 1706].

A portrait of Jane Cuffe, daughter of James Cuffe of Ballinrobe, County Mayo, wife of George Jackson (1717-1789).

George Jackson’s son, George “Two” (as he is called by the family) (1761-1805), became a Member of Parliament for County Mayo in the Irish House of Commons, with the aid of Baron Tyrawley.

Colonel George Jackson, MP for County Mayo (George “Two”).

George Two expanded the house into what it is today. The old house was three storey but the new front was two storey. He built on two large reception rooms and a grand staircase. The architect Jeremy Williams attributes the design of the enlargement of the house to John Roberts (1712-1796) of Waterford, who also designed Christ Church Cathedral in Waterford, and may have built Moore Hall in County Mayo. [5] The stucco work in the Stairway Hall is similar to some in Deel Castle done in the 1790s, which is situated across the lake from Enniscoe, for James Cuffe, Baron Tyrawley.

James Cuffe bought the life interest of Deel Castle, which had also originally been a Bourke castle, from his uncle (the brother of his mother, Elizabeth Gore) Arthur Gore, 1st Earl of Arran. James Cuffe built a new house a short distance from the castle. Deel Castle reverted to the Earls of Arran after James Cuffe’s death, but is now a ruin, and the house was burnt in 1921 and not rebuilt. David Hicks has written about Deel Castle and the neighbouring house, Castle Gore, on his website. [6]

The large entrance hall of Enniscoe has a frieze of foliage, and Adamesque decoration in the centre of the ceiling.

The inside of the front door with its old locks.
Front Hall of Enniscoe, with beautiful stuccowork, and fishing rods on the walls.

The portrait in the Front Hall of the man in wonderful frilled pantaloons is an ancestor, Sir Audley Mervyn (about 1603-1675), Speaker in the Irish House of Commons. His parents Henry Mervyn and Christian Touchet purchased lands in County County Tyrone from Mervyn Touchet, the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven, which Audley Mervyn (who was named after the Touchet estate in Staffordshire, Audley) inherited. [7] The heads of Indian deer were shot by the brothers Audley and Mervyn Pratt while fighting with the British army in the early 1900s. The carved hall chairs picture the Bourke family crest of a chained cat; Susan’s mother was a Bourke from Heathfield House, Ballycastle, County Mayo. [8] The pike was caught in Lough Conn in 1896 and weighs 37 lbs!

Delicate stucco work in the ceiling rose in the front hall.
Fireplace in front hallway. The crest in the fireplace is the Nicholson crest, painted by a family member. Above the crest is a white horse, the crest of the Jackson family.

The front hall leads into the staircase hall, which is built on the exterior wall of the old house. The staircase hall has a frieze of urns and foliage and a glazed dome surrounded by foliage and oval medallions of classical figures.

The stairs, part of the newer build for George Jackson Two, nips across the doorway of the drawing room. Susan pointed out how one door – see in the photograph below, has a blocked off section in its height, as a result – compare it to the other door in the photograph below it.
The doorway height is lowered due to the way the staircase nips across it in the hallway.
The door on the other side of the drawing room, without the lowered height of the other door. The decorative overdoors were added later than the original carved timber surround, probably in the 1870s.
It’s hard to capture the wonderful curving sweep of the top-lit staircase in a photograph, with its lantern roof lined with beautiful neoclassical stucco work.

One can see the division between older original house and the newer part clearly. Behind the staircase hall is a lobby with a delicate interior fanlight opening onto the staircase of the earlier house.

The fanlight of the original doorcase to the older house, at the foot of the older staircase.

The Rising of 1798, which had been inspired by the French Revolution, came to Enniscoe, in the form of French soldiers under General Jean Joseph Amable Humbert, who landed at Killala in County Mayo on August 23, 1798. George Jackson was a Colonel in the North Mayo Militia and so would have opposed the 1798 Rebellion and the incoming French troops – although he was stationed further south as militia regiments were never stationed in their own county. The French soldiers stopped at the house at Enniscoe and Susan told us that the troops drank his wine, later declaring that it was “the only good wine in Ireland”! The scaffolding from the enlargement of the house was still lying in front of the house when the troops arrived and they used it for firewood for their campfire. George’s regiment were summoned back from the south, and Colonel Jackson was made Military Governor of the Crossmolina area. He was responsible for killing or imprisoning many of the defeated rebels in the surrounding countryside, and it is said that he lined the road from Crossmolina to Gortnor Abbey with severed heads on pikes. General Humbert and his troops were defeated by the British Army in the Battle of Ballinamuck. [9]

Susan’s mother, an artist, Patita Bourke, painted a scene famous from the 1798 Rebellion, when the French troops billeted themselves in the home of the Church of Ireland Bishop Joseph Stock of Killala (who wrote a memoir of the incident).

One result of the 1798 Rebellion was that the Irish Parliament was abolished by the Act of Union in 1800, which was supported by George Jackson. George was promoted to Colonel of the Carabineers, a dragoon in the British Army, and the position was inherited by his son, William.

William married Jane Louise Blair, daughter of Colonel William Blair of Scotland, and moved to England, and died young. He died in 1822 and his wife predeceased him in 1817 so their only daughter, Madeline Eglantine Jackson, was left an orphan at the age of six. She was raised by her aunt at Stephenstown in County Louth. Her mother’s sister was Catherine Eglantine Blair, who married Matthew Fortescue, whose father had built Stephenstown. They arranged a good marriage for Madeline when she turned 18, to a cousin of the family, Mervyn Pratt of Cabra Castle. They married in 1834.

Madeline and Mervyn settled in Enniscoe and Mervyn had the estate surveyed in order to set to work on an enormous scheme of draining land and building roads. The booklet Susan gave me tells us that during the famine, the Pratts did their best for those in the area and they gained a reputation for good management and fairness.

Patita painted a portrait of Madeline Jackson, based on the picture below.
Madeline Jackson.
Mervyn Pratt, husband of Madeline Jackson.
The Drawing Room has the original silk Adam design wallpaper, which has faded over the years from pale blue to mushroom pink.

There are two large reception rooms on the ground floor, as well as the dining room.

The intricately carved mirror over the fireplace in the drawing room is made of wood and was never gilded. Rosette-detailed cut-white marble Classical-style chimneypiece.
A beautiful dollhouse which Susan used to admire as a child; her mother made the furniture and even installed the electric light.
We liked this “conversation sofa.”

Madeline and Mervyn had five children. Their only son Joseph joined the army and served in India, and when he came home, took over the running of Enniscoe. He married his cousin Ina Hamilton of Cornacassa, County Monaghan (this house has been partly demolished. It was built around 1800 for Dacre Hamilton). [10]

Joseph Pratt was one of the first landlords to start selling his land to his tenants under the Wyndham Land Acts of 1903. Joseph and Ina did much to improve their estate, farming and creating the garden within the old walled garden. The Heritage Centre gives us an idea of what life on the farm was like for both the home owners and the many people employed on the estate. 

Joseph’s elder son Mervyn was injured in the wars and the younger Audley was killed in the First World War. The Heritage Centre located in the walled garden at Enniscoe displays a hippo skull which Audley brought home from Africa when he fought in the Boer War (1899-1902).

Major Mervyn lived all his life in Enniscoe, and was particularly interested in gardening and fishing. His rock garden and greenhouses were well-known. He never married, and left Enniscoe to his cousin Jack Nicholson, Susan’s father (Jack was a great-grandson of Madeline Jackson). Mervyn did not spend much time in Cabra Castle in County Cavan which he also inherited, and he left it to another cousin, Mervyn Sheppard.

Jack Nicholson married Patita Bourke, daughter of Captain Bertrim Bourke of Heathfield, County Mayo. In his blog, David Hicks tells us that Heathfield was purchased by the Land Commission and the family were allocated a farm at Beauparc, County Meath. He adds that former President of Ireland Mary Robinson was from the Bourke family of Heathfield.

The second drawing room of Enniscoe, with George “Two” over the fireplace.

Jack was a Professor of Veterinary Medicine, so I felt a bond with Susan, as my father, Desmond Baggot, was also a Professor of Veterinary Medicine! Jack was head of the Veterinary College of Ireland, so perhaps their paths crossed as my father was studying there at the time of my birth, before we moved to the United States where my father did his PhD in Ohio State University. Jack died in 1972 and Enniscoe house and lands passed to his children. In 1984 Susan Kellett took over the property from her brother.

The house is full of Patita’s creative and sometimes cheeky paintings.

This is an example of Patita’s creativity – she thought the original painting of the seascape was rather dull, so she painted the foreground of the girls on the balcony onto the original painting! The wallpaper in this bedroom is by David Skinner, who reproduces wallpaper from historic houses using scraps from the original.

The dining room was originally the library. The side nook was created by Susan’s parents. It has a simple early nineteenth century cornice of reeding and acanthus leaves.

Stephen and Susan in the dining room.
Cut-veined white marble Classical-style chimneypiece, and to the left, the dining nook added by Susan’s parents.
A painting by Patita of Heathfield House, her childhood home, of herself with her mother and sister Binki. Her father Bertrim Bourke was killed in the First World War and she paints him as a ghost in his military uniform.
A painting by Patita of Enniscoe and her family, painted in the 1950s.

Next we went up to the bedrooms. Susan’s son DJ and his wife Colette help to run the guest house. The main bedrooms open off the oval top-lit landing. They are classically proportioned large rooms with canopy or four poster beds, all with en suite bathrooms.

One of the bedrooms available for Bed & Breakfast.
This unusual piece of Victorian style furniture is original to the house.

The bedrooms are on slightly different levels, since the newer part is of two storeys built on to the original three storey.

The doorcase in one of the bedrooms of the older section of the house. The shouldered doorcase is distinct from the doorcases of the newer rooms. Not pictured here is an unusual latch on the door. The latch could be opened from the bed. Susan had never seen such a contraption before until she came across one in Hampton Court in London!
This staircase in the older section of the house leads to the attic. The maids would have slept upstairs and the butlers downstairs, to keep them apart. In the past, the Pratts would have employed many people in the house, in the gardens, in the stables, where there was a forge, and on the farm.
A view on to the stable yard.
The stable yard.

After our wonderful tour, we headed over to the walled garden and the North Mayo Heritage Centre, which also provides a genealogy service. [11] It is a member of the Irish Family History Foundation, which provides a country wide service through the website RootsIreland. North Mayo Heritage Centre covers the northern half of County Mayo, and the Centre in Ballinrobe covers the southern half.

There is mature woodland around Enniscoe that supports a diversity of plant, insect and animal species.

The door to the walled garden has this lovely horse carving, the crest of the Jackson family.

The walled garden was restored in 1996-9 under the Great Gardens of Ireland Restoration Programme. The head gardener at Enniscoe from 1872 to 1912 was William Gray, who moved to Enniscoe from St. Anne’s in Clontarf, where he had worked on Benjamin Lee Guinness’s estate. Much of the present ornamental garden is much as it was in William’s day.

Enniscoe, County Mayo, by Maria Levinge, oil on board. Part of the exhibition of paintings of walled gardens in 2021 in the Irish Georgian Society [12].

Storyboards from the Heritage Centre, including a picture of the booklet which Susan gave me which gave me much of my information.

[1] https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/31303803/enniscoe-house-originally-inishcoe-house-prospect-co-mayo

[2] https://irishhistorichouses.com/2021/03/28/cabra-castle-kingscourt-county-cavan/

[3] https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/homes-and-property/new-to-market/restored-1-75m-georgian-estate-in-co-meath-brought-into-the-21st-century-1.4630736

[4] http://thepeerage.com/

[5] https://www.dia.ie/architects/view/4559/ROBERTS%2C+JOHN+%5B1%5D#tab_works

Moore Hall, County Mayo, also attributed to John Roberts of Waterford. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

[6] http://davidhicksbook.blogspot.com/

[7] Dictionary of Irish Biography, which contains an informative piece on Audley Mervyn. https://www.dib.ie/biography/mervyn-sir-audley-a5803

[8] p. 151. Great Irish Houses. Forward by Desmond FitzGerald and Desmond Guinness. IMAGE Publications, 2008.

[9] Guy Beiner’s book entitled Remembering the Year of the French (University of Wisconsin Press, 2007) discusses folk history and how this French incursion and the 1798 Rebellion in Mayo is remembered.

[10] https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/41400944/cornecassa-house-cornecassa-demesne-co-monaghan

[11] email: northmayo@gmail.com

www.northmayogenealogy.com

[12] https://irishhistorichouses.com/2021/09/24/an-exhibition-in-the-irish-georgian-society/

Markree Castle, Collooney, Co Sligo

Nicholas Ryan

Tel: 071-9167800

www.markreecastle.ie

Open: June, July, Aug, 12 noon-4pm

Fee: Free

Markree Castle hotel, 2021.
Castellated three-bay ashlar stone gate lodge, built around 1835 to the designs of Francis Goodwin (who also designed Lissadell in County Sligo). Central two-storey tower with integral carriage arch flanked by single-storey wings. Arched windows in the wings, and hood mouldings. [1] Unfortunately we did not find the other gate lodge entrance, reputed to be even more impressive.

During Heritage Week in 2021, Stephen and I went to County Sligo. We stayed in wonderful B&B accommodation in a historic house, Annaghmore, near Collooney, owned by the O’Haras, who have owned the estate in County Sligo for centuries.

Annaghmore, Colooney, County Sligo, where we stayed during Heritage Week 2021.

We learned that the O’Haras and the Coopers, who own Coopershill, another section 482 property which we visited during Heritage Week, are related, and Coopers also owned Markree Castle until very recently. In 1989, Charles Cooper, having worked in the hotel business all his life, came back to Markree to renovate the castle and run it as a hotel. In 2015, the Corscadden family purchased the castle and undertook further renovations. This is the same Corscadden family who own Cabra Castle in County Cavan, who so generously upgraded Stephen and me to the honeymoon suite when we stayed! The Corscaddens also own Ballyseede Castle hotel in Tralee, County Kerry (also section 482) and Bellingham Castle in County Louth, which is available as a venue for weddings and events, with accommodation. Unfortunately Markree Castle is too expensive for us to stay in, except perhaps as a very luxurious treat, but I contacted the hotel and we made a date for my visit. When we arrived, however, we were told that they were in the middle of an event and we were asked to return in an hour or two. We took the time to explore the outside, although we were unable to access the gardens, which seem to be only accessible through the castle.

The west side of the castle, which overlooks the car park.

We wandered across the Unsin River to the stable complex, which has also been renovated for rental accommodation. We learned later that this accommodation is not part of Markree Castle hotel. In Mark Bence-Jones’s entry in his A Guide to Irish Country Houses (published in 1988), he writes in the supplement that Edward Cooper and his wife moved into a new Georgian style house in the yard. The stables are now called Markree Homefarm Apartments and are available for rental accommodation. [2]

The Unshin River, which served in the past to partially moat the castle.
Entrance to stone stable yard, built 1771. Two storey house added in about 1990.
Markree Homefarm accommodation.

The castle replaced an earlier residence, which the Landed Estates website of National University of Ireland Galway tells us was called Mercury. [3] The first Cooper to own the property was Edward Cooper (died 1676), an officer in Lord Collooney Richard Coote’s regiment in Oliver Cromwell’s army. He was given the land at Markree, previously owned by the McDonaghs, as payment for his soldiering. He married the widow of an O’Brien killed by Cromwell’s army. She was called Mary “Rua” (Red Mary), and she probably married Cooper in order to protect her sons from the Cromwellians. According to the history board outside the castle, Red Mary and Edward Cooper lived first in Luimneach Castle (Luimneach is the Irish for Limerick), which one of her sons inherited, while the other inherited Markree. In his online blog, Patrick Comerford identifies Mary Rua’s husband as Conor O’Brien, and writes that it was Dromoland Castle that Mary Rua’s son inherited. [4] In the family tree on the information boards, Edward Cooper also married Margaret Mahon, from County Roscommon. This accords with The Peerage website, but according to that website, Arthur, Edward’s son who inherited Markree, was Margaret Mahon’s son and not the son of Red Mary. According to The Peerage, Edward’s son Richard lived in Knocklong, County Limerick. [5]

During the Williamite wars at the end of the 17th century, Markree Castle was occupied by the army of James II. The Coopers returned after William III’s victory at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The Coopers intermarried with other prominent local families, including the Cootes, Wynnes and Synges, and by the 1720s, Joshua Cooper (1694-1757) was one of the largest landowners in Co Sligo, with over 40,000 acres.

Arthur Cooper, who inherited Markree from his father Edward who fought in Cromwell’s army, had a daughter named Anne who married John Perceval (1700-1743) of Temple House in County Sligo, another Section 482 property, which unfortunately we did not get to visit this year. I hope to be able to visit next year! In 1881 Alexander Perceval of Temple House married Charlotte Jane O’Hara of Annaghmore, so the owners of our accommodation are cousins of the owners of Temple House. Furthermore, we visited two other Section 482 properties in Sligo during Heritage Week: Coopershill and Newpark, both of which are also owned by cousins of the O’Haras of Annaghmore!

An information board outside the hotel gives a history of Markree Castle.
According to this family tree on the information board outside Markree Castle, Edward Cooper married Maire Rua O’Brien and also Margaret Mahon.

It was Arthur’s great-great-grandson Joshua Edward Cooper (about 1759-1837) who built the castle in 1802 around an earlier structure. Arthur’s son Joshua (1694-1757) married Mary Bingham from Newbrook, County Mayo. His son, another Joshua (1730-1800), was MP for County Sligo and opposed the Act of Union, which abolished the Irish Parliament, so that Ireland was run by the Parliament in London. He married Alicia Synge, daughter and heiress of Edward Synge, Bishop of Elphin, and she brought him a large fortune. [6]

His son Joshua Edward Cooper (about 1759-1837) was also MP for County Sligo in the Irish House of Commons, and after the Act of Union he sat in the House of Commons in London until 1806. According to the Dictionary of Irish Biography, he replaced Catholic leaseholders with Protestants to acquire more voting power, which caused considerable resentment and which may have been the reason that his house was sacked in 1798 during the Rebellion. This may be why he commissioned Francis Johnston to enlarge Markree in 1802, to make it into a castle – it may have needed repair. We came across the work of Francis Johnston (1760-1829) when we visited Rokeby in County Louth. Johnston had been a pupil of the architect Thomas Cooley. At the time when he was commissioned by Joshua Edward Cooper, Johnston had been working on Townley Hall in County Louth, which I was lucky enough to visit recently during the annual Adams auction viewing that is held in the house. It has an amazing staircase and domed rotunda.

The impressive elegant staircase by Francis Johnston in Townley Hall, County Louth.
The impressive elegant staircase by Francis Johnston in Townley Hall, County Louth. My photographs could not capture the extent of its full sweep, captured in the photographs from Country Life magazine, below.
Image from Country Life. The spiral of the staircase in the central domed rotunda at Townley Hall. Pub Orig CL 23/07/1948 
Image Number: 
 535673  
Publication Date: 
 23/07/1948  

Johnston also Gothicized Tullynally Castle in County Westmeath, 1801-1806, and enlarged Killeen Castle in County Meath 1802-1813. He also designed Ballynegall House (1808-1816) in County Westmeath, sadly now just a ruin, and Ballycurry House, County Wicklow (1807), along with many ecclesiastical and civic buildings, including the General Post Office on O’Connell Street in Dublin, in 1814.

The castle is a stone twelve-bay, three-storey over raised basement mansion which contains parts of earlier houses. [7] The bays are easier to count at the back (i.e. the garden front) of the castle. According to Mark Bence-Jones, the original seventeenth century house was rebuilt in the eighteenth century as a three storey block, with a five bay front and a three bay breakfront, and a garden front of one bay on either side of a curved bow. The castle was enlarged in 1802 to a design by Francis Johnston, and then in 1866 enlarged again, to a design by James Maitland Wardrop of Edinburgh. I found it impossible to work out what part of the castle was built when, so I defer to Mark Bence-Jones:

In 1802, Joshua Cooper commissioned Francis Johnston to enlarge this house and transform it into a castle of the early, symmetrical kind. Johnston extended the front of the house to more than twice its original length to form a new garden front with a central curved and Irish battlemented tower; the end bay of the original front and the corresponding bay at the end of Johnston’s addition being raised to give the impression of square corner-towers. The entrance was in the adjoining front, where Johnston added a porch; the garden front, with its bow, was not altered as far as its plan went; but an office wing was built at one side of it, joined to it by a canted link. In 1866, the castle was further enlarged and remodelled by Lt-Col. E.H. Cooper, MP, to the design of Wardrop, of Edinburgh. The garden front bow was replaced by a massive battlemented and machiocolated square tower, increasing the side of the dining room; a new entrance was made at this side of the castle, under a porte-cochere at the end of a 2 storey wing with Gothic windows which was built jutting out from this front. Johnston’s porch was replaced by a 2 storey battlemented oriel, and mullioned windows to match were put in on this and the new entrance front. A Gothic chapel was built where Johnston’s office wing had been. [8]

The large square tower with two-storey square-profile oriel window, and on the west front, the two-storey canted bay window.
The garden front of Markree Castle, with its central curved bow. The ornamental doorway was added in 1896.
An old photograph on display inside the castle of the garden front.
Another old photograph of Markree (I assume) that is on display inside – I can’t work out what part of the old castle this is.
I think this photograph is of Cabra Castle, also owned by the Corscaddens.
I think this photograph is also of Cabra Castle, also owned by the Corscaddens.
The 1870 addition, “a new entrance was made at this side of the castle, under a porte-cochere at the end of a 2 storey wing with Gothic windows which was built jutting out from this front.This is next to another addition from this period, the large square tower with two-storey square-profile oriel window. To the side, or west front, is two-storey canted bay window.
The entrance door under the porte-cochere.

One enters through the arched doorway in the battlemented vaulted stone portico. The doorway leads to a straight flight of stone stairs leading up to the main floor, under an impressive vaulted ceiling.

The two storey wing with Gothic windows that was added by the architect Wardrop, leading to the porte-cochere.
The two storey wing with Gothic windows that was added by the architect Wardrop, leading to the porte-cochere.

Joshua Edward Cooper (1761-1837) became unwell and his brother Edward Synge Cooper (1762-1830) took over the running of the estate in Sligo and became MP for County Sligo in 1806. Joshua Edward Cooper and his wife Elizabeth Lindsay, daughter of Robert Lindsay, MP, from County Tyrone, had no children, so Edward Synge Cooper’s son, Edward Joshua Cooper (1798-1863), inherited Markree when Joshua Edward Cooper died in 1837. As well as serving in the House of Commons in the UK, Edward Joshua Cooper was an astronomer, who created Markree Observatory. He was influenced by childhood visits to the Armagh Observatory.

Remnant of the Observatory at Markree. Photograph from the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Edward Joshua Cooper (1798-1863) had no son, only daughters, so his nephew Edward Henry Cooper (1827-1902), son of his brother Richard Wordsworth Cooper (1801-1850), inherited Markree. When he inherited, he then put his stamp on the castle by having it further enlarged (the Wardrop enlargement).

The large square tower with two-storey square-profile oriel window, next to the porte-cochere.
The mullioned arched window in the porte-cochere with Gothic tracery and hood moulding, and the glass ceiling in the upper storey.
The top-lit drawing room inside the porte-cochere.
On the west front, the two-storey canted bay window.
The garden, past the two storey canted bay window on the west front.

Wardrop also added the Gothic chapel.

The stained glass window of the Gothic chapel added by Wardrop, and beyond that, the two storey porte-cochere.
The Gothic chapel has a lovely external stone staircase up to it.

At the top of the vaulted entrance staircase one can go through to the main reception, or to the left, to the chapel.

The east side of the castle.

Edward Henry Cooper (1827-1902) was an Irish officer in the British Army, and a Conservative politician in the House of Commons in the UK. He was defeated in the 1868 election by the Liberal candidate Denis Maurice O’Conor from Clonalis in County Roscommon (another section 482 property still owned by its original family). When he died, Markree was inherited by his grandson Bryan Ricco Cooper (1884-1930), who was born in Simla in India. He was an MP for South Country Dublin (1910) at Westminster, and was involved in the Gallipoli landings during World War I. During the Irish Civil War in the 1920s, Markree Castle was occupied briefly by the Irish Free State army. Bryan Ricco Cooper was elected to Dail Eireann after Independence. He sold much of the estate’s land but continued to live at Markree.

The Castle stood empty and derelict for several years after World War II, and featured on the front cover of The Vanishing Country Houses of Ireland in 1988, illustrating the decay of many great houses at the time. Charles Philip Cooper, a grandson of Bryan Ricco, who had worked in the hotel industry, converted Markree into a hotel in 1989.

The reception hall is surrounded by a carved wooden gallery and contains a Victorian double staircase of oak, lit by a heraldic stained glass window illustrating the family tree with portraits of ancestors and monarchs.

The hotel reception, in the corner under the heavy wooden gallery.
Top left, King John, middle top, King Henry VIII, top right, Queen Elizabeth I. Bottom left, Bryan Cooper, middle, William Cooper, and Sir Richard of Bingham on bottom right.

According to Mark Bence-Jones, the great top-lit galleried hall with a timbered roof is located where Johnston’s staircase used to be.

It was hard to capture it all in photographs, there were so many details!

A long library divided by pairs of grey marble Ionic columns has been formed out of Johnston’s entrance.

The large drawing room in Johnston’s round-faced tower in the middle of the garden front, and the ante-room adjoining it, which are now the dining room, were redecorated between 1837 and 1863 by Edward Joshua Cooper, MP, in an ornate Louis Quatorze style, with much gilding and “well-fed” putti in high relief supporting cartouches and trailing swags of flowers and fruits.

We were prevented from fully entering the dining room as staff were preparing it for the next event so I took a photograph from a booklet displaying the room.

Unfortunately nobody could explain the fabric of the building and its stages of renovation and enlargement and the manager was unable to identify the portraits on the walls. However, we asked to see inside a bedroom, and were taken down to the basement to see the honeymoon suite. The basement is the oldest part of the castle.

The honeymoon or bridal suite.
The honeymoon or bridal suite.
The honeymoon or bridal suite.

[1] https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/32402632/markree-castle-markree-demesne-sligo

[2] http://www.markreehomefarm.ie

[3] http://landedestates.nuigalway.ie/LandedEstates/jsp/property-list.jsp?letter=M

[4] http://www.patrickcomerford.com/search/label/castles

[5] http://thepeerage.com/p37382.htm#i373817

[6] Dictionary of Irish Biography, https://www.dib.ie/biography/cooper-joshua-a2017

[7] https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/32402620/markree-castle-markree-demesne-sligo

[8] p. 201. Mark Bence-Jones. A Guide to Irish Country Houses. Originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978; Revised edition 1988 Constable and Company Ltd, London.

2021 Section 482 List

The list of properties for 2021 has finally been published! Here it is – not too different from last year, though there are a few new places, and a few have been removed since last year.

List of approved buildings/gardens open to the public in 2021 

Section 482 Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 

Due to COVID restrictions properties may not be open as advertised, please check with the property owner before arranging a visit to any of the properties listed. 

Carlow 

Borris House

Borris, Co. Carlow
Morgan Kavanagh
Tel: 087-2454791
www.borrishouse.com
Open: Feb 2-7, 9-14, 16-21, 27-28, June 1-3, 8-10, 15-16, 22-24, 29-30, July 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-21, 27-29, Aug 3-5, 10-12, 14-22, 24-26, 31, Sept 1-2, 12 noon -5pm Fee: adult €10, child €5, OAP/student €8, 

Borris House, County Carlow
Borris House, County Carlow. Photograph from Country Life.

Huntington Castle 

Clonegal, Co. Carlow
Postal address: Huntington Castle, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford
Alexander Durdin Robertson
Tel: 053-9377160
www.huntingtoncastle.com

Open: Feb 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, Mar 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, Apr 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, May 1-31, June 1-30, July 1-31, Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, Oct 2-3, 9-10, 16- 17, 23-24, Nov 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, Dec 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 11am-5pm
Fee: house/garden, adult/student €9, garden only €6, OAP house/garden €8, garden only €5, child house /garden €6, garden only €3, group and family discounts available 

Huntington Castle, County Carlow.

The Old Rectory 

Killedmond, Borris, Co. Carlow.
Mary White
Tel: 087-2707189 

https://www.blackstairsecotrails.ie/ 

Open: July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 9am-1pm Fee: adult €10, OAP/student €6, child free 

Old Rectory, Killedmond, County Carlow.

The Old Rectory Lorum

Kilgreaney, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow

Bobbie Smith
Tel: 059-9775282
www.lorum.com 

(Tourist Accommodation Facility) 

Open: Feb 14-November 30 

Old Rectory Lorum, County Carlow. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Cavan 

Cabra Castle (Hotel) 

Kingscourt, Co. Cavan
Howard Corscadden.
Tel: 042-9667030
www.cabracastle.com
Open: all year, except Dec 24, 25, 26, 11am-12 midnight Fee: Free 

Corravahan House & Gardens 

Corravahan, Drung, Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan Ian Elliott
Tel: 087-9772224
www.corravahan.com 

Open: Jan 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, Feb 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, Mar 1-2, 8-9, May 4- 5, 9-12, 16-19, 23-26, 30-31, June 1-4, Aug 14-31, Sept 1-2, 9am-1pm, Sundays 2pm- 6pm
Fee: adult €10, OAP/student/child €5 

Corravahan, County Cavan.

Clare 

Barntick House 

Clarecastle Co. Clare
Ciaran Murphy
Tel: 086-1701060
Open: May 1-31, Aug 1-31, 5pm-9pm
Fee: adult/student €5, child/OAP free, group discount available 

Loughnane’s 

Main Street, Feakle, Co. Clare
Billy Loughnane
Tel: 086-2565012
www.eastclarehostels.com
Open: June 2-July 31, Wed-Sun, Aug 1, 4-8, 11-22, 25-29, 2pm-6pm Fee: Free 

Newtown Castle

Newtown, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare Mary Hawkes- Greene
Tel: 065-7077200 

www.newtowncastle.com 

Open: Jan 4-May 31, Mon-Fri, June 1-30 Mon-Sat, July 1-Aug 31 daily, Sept 1-Dec 17 Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm
Fee: Free 

Newtown Castle, County Clare. Photograph from National Library of Ireland.
Newtown Castle, County Clare. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Cork 

Ashton Grove

Ballingohig, Knockraha, Co. Cork
Gerald McGreal
Tel: 087-2400831
Open: Mar 1-12, May 4-31, June 1-3, 14-25, July 17-18, 31, Aug 14-22, Wednesdays 2pm-6pm, Tues, weekends & National Heritage Week, 8am-12 noon 

Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €3 

Bantry House & Garden

Bantry, Co. Cork
Julie Shelswell-White
Tel: 027-50047
www.bantryhouse.com
Open: Apr 1-Oct 31, 10am-5pm
Fee: adult €11, OAP/student €8.50, child €6, groups over 8-20, €8 per person, groups 21+ €7 per person 

Bantry House,County Cork. photograph from Tourism Ireland.

Blarney Castle & Rock Close

Blarney, Co. Cork
C. Colthurst
Tel: 021- 4385252
www.blarneycastle.ie
Open: all year except Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, Jan-Mar, Mon-Sat, 9am- sundown, Sun, 9am-6pm, Apr-May, 9am-6pm, June-Aug, Mon-Sat, 9am-7pm, Sun, 9am-6pm, Sept, Mon-Sat, 9am-6.30pm, Sun, 9am-6pm,
Oct, Nov, Dec daily 9am-6pm,
Fee: adult €18, OAP/student €15, child €10, family and season passes 

Blarney Castle, County Cork. photograph from Tourism Ireland.

Blarney House & Gardens

Blarney, Co. Cork
C. Colthurst
Tel 021- 4385252
www.blarneycastle.ie
Open: June 1- Aug 31, Mon-Sat, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 10am-3pm Fee: adult €10, OAP/student €7, concession joint with castle

Blarney House, County Cork. Photograph from National Library of Ireland.

 Burton Park 

Churchtown, Mallow, Co. Cork Paul Doherty
Tel: 022-59955
www.slieile.ie 

Open: May 8-July 7, Mon-Sat closed Bank Holidays, Aug 14-22, 11am-3pm Fee: adult/child/OAP/student €9 

Burton Park, County Cork. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Brideweir House 

Conna, Co. Cork
Ronan Fox
Tel: 025-36386
Open: Jan 1-Dec 24, 11am-4pm
Fee: adult €10, child/student €5, OAP free 

Brideweir, County Cork. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Creagh House

Main Street, Doneraile, Co. Cork Michael O’Sullivan
Tel: 022-24433 

(Tourist Accommodation Facility) 

Open: April-Sept
Public tours of house all year 

Drishane Castle & Gardens 

Drishanemore, Millstreet Town, Co. Cork Thomas Duggan
Tel: 087-2464878, 029-71008 

www.millstreet.ie 

Open: June 1-Sept 30, Mon-Sat, (Jan-May, Oct-Dec Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm by appointment only) National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9am-5pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/student free, child free when accompanied by adult 

Drishane Castle. Photograph from the National Library of Ireland.
Drishane Castle, County Cork. Photograph from the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Drishane House 

Castleownshend, Co. Cork

Thomas Somerville
Tel: 028-36126, 083-574589

 www.drishane.com 

Open: May 1-20, Aug 14-22, Sept 13-23, Oct 1-20, 11am-3pm Fee: adult €10, OAP €8, student/child €6 

Drishane House, County Cork

Dún Na Séad Castle 

Baltimore, Co. Cork
Donna O’Driscoll
Tel: 087-7374592
www.baltimorecastle.ie
Open: March 1-Oct 31, 11am-6pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student €5, child under 12 free 

Baltimore Castle, County Cork.

Garrettstown House 

Garrettstown, Kinsale, Co. Cork
Denis Mawe
Tel: 021-4778156 

www.garrettstownhouse.com
Open: May 15-Sept 10, 12 noon-5pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student/other concessions €5, child €3 

Garrettstown House, County Cork. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Kilcascan Castle 

Ballineen, Co. Cork
Alison Bailey
Tel: 023-8847200 

Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 9.30am-1.30pm Fee: Free 

Kilcascan Castle, County Cork. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Kilshannig House 

Rathcormac, Co. Cork
Hugo Merry
Tel: 025-36124
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, July 1-31, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 8.30am- 2.30pm, 

Fee: adult €10, child/student €8.50, group discount by arrangements 

Kilshannig, County Cork.
Kilshanning House, County Cork.

4 Mulgrave Place, 

No 4 Mulgrave Road, Cork City
Trevor Leacy
Tel: 087-2808302
Open: May 1-Sept 30, closed Sundays, National Heritage Week, August 14-22, weekdays and National Heritage Week, 11am-4pm, Saturdays 11am-3pm 

Fee: adult €4, OAP/student/child €2, family €7 (2+2) 

Riverstown House

Riverstown, Glanmire, Co. Cork
Denis/Rita Dooley
Tel: 021- 4821205
Open: May 5-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29, June 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26, July 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-31, Aug 5-7, 12-22, 26-28, Sept 2-4, 2pm-6pm 

Fee: adult €8, OAP/student €5 

Riverstown House, County Cork. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Woodford Bourne Warehouse 

Sheares Street, Cork
Edward Nicholson
Tel: 021-4273000
www.woodfordbournewarehouse.com
Open: all year except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, 1pm-11pm Fee: Free 

Donegal 

Cavanacor House 

Ballindrait, Lifford, Co. Donegal Joanna O’Kane
Tel: 074-9141143, 085-8165428 

www.cavanacorgallery.ie 

Open: Feb 1-20, May 1-31, Aug 14-22, 1pm-5pm Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €6 

Cavanacor, County Donegal. Picture from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Oakfield Park

Oakfield Demesne, Raphoe, Co. Donegal

David Fisher- Estate Manager
Tel: 074-91773068 

www.oakfieldpark.com 

Open: Apr 1-4, 7-11, 14-18, 21-25, 28-30, May 1-2, 5-9, 12-16, 19-23, 26-30, 12 noon-6pm, June 1-30, July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 11am-6pm, Sept 1-5, 8-12, 15-19, 22-26, 29-30, 12 noon-6pm, Dec 1-5, 8-12, 15-23, Dec 1-17, weekdays, 4pm-10pm, weekends, 12noon-10pm, Dec 18-23, 12 noon-10pm 

Fee: adult €9, child €6, family and annual passes available 

Oakfield Park, County Donegal. Photograph from Country Life magazine.

Portnason House 

Portnason, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal
Madge Sharkey
Tel: 086-3846843
Open: Jan 18-22, 25-29, Feb 1-5, 8-12, Aug 14-30, Sept 1-17, 20-23, 27-28, Nov 15- 19, 22-26, Dec 1-3 6-10, 13-14, 9am-1pm 

Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €5 

Portnason House, County Donegal. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Salthill Garden

Salthill House, Mountcharles, Co. Donegal

Elizabeth Temple
Tel: 087-7088078, 074-9735014 

www.donegalgardens.com 

Open: May 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29, June 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26, July 1-3, 5-9, 12-24, 26-31, Aug 2-7, 9-22, 26-28, 30-31, Sept 1-3, 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-30, 2pm- 6pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student €5, child under 10 years €2, over 10 years €3 

Salthill House Gardens, County Donegal. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Dublin City 

Bewley’s 

78-79 Grafton Street/234 Johnson’s Court, Dublin 2 Peter O’ Callaghan
Tel 087-7179367
www.bewleys.com 

Open: all year except Christmas Day, 11am-7pm Fee: Free 

Bewleys Cafe, Dublin. Photograph from Tourism Ireland.

Hibernian/National Irish Bank 

23-27 College Green, Dublin 2
Dan O’Sullivan
Tel: 01-6755100
www.clarendonproperties.ie
Open: all year, except Dec 25, Wed-Fri 9.30am-8pm, Sun 11am-7pm, Sat, Mon, Tue, 9.30-7pm 

Fee: Free 

11 North Great George’s Street 

Dublin 1
John Aboud
Tel: 087-7983099
www.number11dublin.ie
Open: March 8-13, May 10-15, June 7-12, July 5-10, Aug 2-7, 14-22, Sept 6-12, Oct 4-9, Nov 8-11,15-18, 1pm-5 pm
Fee: adult €7, students/OAP €3, child free under 12years 

Number 11 North Great Georges Street, Dublin.

81 North King Street 

Smithfield, Dublin 7
James Kelly
Tel: 086-8597275
Open: Apr 1-3, 5-10, 12-17, 19-24, 26-30, May 1, June 1-5, 7-12, 14-19, 21-26, 28- 30, July 1-3, 5-10, 12-17, 19-24, 26-31, Aug 2-7, 9-28, 30-31, Mon-Fri, 9am- 4.30pm, Sat, 12.30pm-4.30pm 

Fee: Free 

The Odeon (formerly the Old Harcourt Street Railway Station) 

57 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2

Mary Lacey
Tel: 01-6727690 

www.odeon.ie 

Open: May- Dec, 12 noon to midnight, closed Sundays Fee: Free 

Harcourt Street Station, now The Odeon, Dublin. Photograph from National Library of Ireland.

Powerscourt Townhouse Centre 

59 South William Street, Dublin 2
Mary Larkin
Tel: 01-6717000
www.powerscourtcentre.ie
Open: all year except New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day, & Bank Holidays, Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm, Thurs, 10am-8pm, Sundays, 12 noon-6pm 

Fee: Free 

Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin.

10 South Frederick Street 

Dublin 2
Joe Hogan
Tel: 087-2430334
Open: Jan 1-24, May 1, 3-8, 10-15, 17-22, 24-27, Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm Fee: Free 

The Church 

Junction of Mary’s Street/Jervis Street, Dublin 1 Ann French
Tel: 087-2245726
www.thechurch.ie 

Open: Feb 1- Dec 24, 27-31, 11am-11 pm Fee: Free 

County Dublin 

Clonskeagh Castle 

80 Whitebean Road, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14

Fergus Armstrong
Tel: 089-4091645, 086-2428540 

www.clonskeaghcastle.com

Open: Feb 6-9, Mar 6-9, Apr 6-9, May 1-8, June 1-8, July 1-8, August 14-22, Sept 1- 8, Nov 6-9, Dec 6-9, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €6, child/OAP/student €3 

Colganstown House 

Hazelhatch Road, Newcastle, Co. Dublin
Lynne Savage Jones
Tel: 087-2206222
Open: Apr 12-18, May 6-28, June 10-12, Aug 14-27, Nov 1-13, weekdays 2pm-6pm, weekends 9am-1pm 

Fee: adult/OAP €10, student/child free 

Colganstown, County Dublin.

Fahanmura

2 Knocksina, Foxrock, Dublin 18
Philip Harvey
Tel: Philip, 087-2463865, Paul, 086-3694379
www.fahanmura.ie
Open: March 15-28, Apr 5-10, May 6-14, June 14-20, July 5-10, Aug 14-22, Sept 11- 19, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €5, student €2, OAP/child free 

Fahanmura, Dublin. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Farm Complex

Toberburr Road, Killeek, St Margaret’s, Co. Dublin
David Doran
Tel: 086-3821304
OpenFeb 13-22, March 20-29, May 1-3, 10-16, June 18-27, Aug 14-23, Sept 18-27, 2pm-6pm 

Fee: adult €6, student/OAP/child €5 

“Geragh” 

Sandycove Point, Sandycove, Co. Dublin
Gráinne Casey
Tel: 01-2804884
Open: Jan 28-29, Feb 1-5, 8-12, 15-22, May 4-31, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-3, 2pm-6pm

Fee: adult €7, OAP €4, student €2, child free 

Geragh Haus, Dublin. Photograph by William Murphy, flickr creative commons.

Knocknagin House 

Delvin Bridge, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin Richard Berney
Tel: 087-2847797
Open: July 1-31, Aug 1-29, 9am-1pm

Fee: adult/OAP/child/student €5 

Knocknagin House, County Dublin. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The Old Glebe 

Upper Main Street, Newcastle, Co. Dublin
Hugh F. Kerins, Martin Connelly
Tel: Frank 087-2588356, Martin 087-6686996
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, Mon- Sat, Aug 14-22, 10am-2pm, 4 tours daily during National Heritage Week, 10am, 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, tour approx. 45 minutes 

Fee: Free, voluntary contributions only in 2021 due to Covid-19. Proceeds to charity 

The Old Glebe, County Dublin.

Martello Tower

Portrane, Co. Dublin
Terry Prone
Tel: 01-6449700
Open: March 6-Sept 26, Sat & Sun, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm

Fee: adult €5, student €4, OAP €1 

Martello Tower, Portrane, County Dublin. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Meander 

Westminister Road, Foxrock, Dublin 18,
Ruth O’Herlihy,
Tel: 087-2163623
Open: Jan 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, May 1, 4-8, 10-11, 17-22, June 8-12, 14-19, 21- 26, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm 

Fee: adult €5, OAP/child/student €2 

Meander, County Dublin. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Primrose Hill 

Very Top of Primrose Lane, Lucan, Co. Dublin
Robin Hall
Tel: 01-6280373
Open: Feb 1-28, June 1-30, July 1-23, Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm

Fee: adult/OAP €6, child free 

Primrose Hill, Lucan, County Dublin.

St. George’s

St. George’s Avenue, Killiney, Co. Dublin

Robert McQuillan
Tel: 087-2567718
Open: July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 9am-1pm 

Fee: adult €5 OAP/student/child €3.50 

Tibradden House 

Mutton Lane, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16

Selina Guinness
Tel: 01-4957483 

www.selinaguinness.com 

Open: Jan 14-17, 23-24, 28-29, Feb 4-7, 11-12, 19-21, 26-28, May 3-13,16, 18-20, 23-27, June 2-4, 8-10, 14-16, 19-20, Aug 14-22, weekdays 2.30pm-6.30pm, weekends 10.30am-2.30pm
Fee: adult/OAP €8 student €5, child free, Members of An Taisce the The Irish Georgian Society (with membership card) €5 

Tibradden House, County Dublin. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Galway 

Castle Ellen House

http://www.castleellen.ie/

Open: April 4-7,11-15,18-22, 25-29, May 2-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23-27, 30-31, June 1-3, 6- 10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-30, July 1, 4-8, 11-16, 18-22, 25-29, Aug 1-5, 8-12, 14-26, 29- 31, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 12 noon-4pm
Fee: Free 

Castle Ellen House, County Galway. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Claregalway Castle

Claregalway, Co. Galway
Eamonn O’ Donoghue
Tel: 091-799666

www.claregalwaycastle.com

Open: June-Sept, Thursday-Sunday, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 12 noon- 4pm 

Fee: adult €6, student/OAP/child €4 

Lisdonagh House

Caherlistrane, Co. Galway
John & Finola Cooke
Tel: 093-31163 

www.lisdonagh.com

(Tourist Accommodation Facility) Open: May 1-Oct 31 

Fee: Free 

Lisdonagh House, County Galway. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The Grammer School 

College Road, Galway
Terry Fahy
www.yeatscollege.ie
Tel: 091-533500
Open: May 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, June 12-13, July 1-31, Aug 1-23, 9am-5pm

Fee: adult/OAP/student €5, child under 12 free 

Oranmore Castle 

Oranmore, Co. Galway

Leonie Phinn 

www.oranmorecastle.com 

Tel: 086-6003160 

Open: April 1-20, May 13-22, June 8-18, Aug 14-23, Sept 8-17, 12 noon-4pm

Fee: adult €10, child €5 

Oranmore Castle, County Galway. Photograph by Johanna, flickr creative commons.

Signal Tower & Lighthouse 

Eochaill, Inis Mór, Aran Islands, Co. Galway Michael Mullen
Tel: 087-2470900

www.aranislands.ie 

Open: April 1- October 31, 9am-5pm.
Fee: adult €2.50, child €1.50, family €5, group rates depending on numbers 

Woodville House Dovecote & Walls of Walled Garden 

Craughwell, Co. Galway
Margarita and Michael Donoghue
Tel: 087-9069191

www.woodvillewalledgarden.com

Open: Jan 29-31, Feb 1-28, Apr 1-13, 11am- 4.30pm, June 1, 6-8, 13-15, 21-22, 27- 29, July 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, 31, Aug 1-2, 6-8, 13-22, 27-29, Sept 4-5, 11am-5pm Fee: adult/OAP €6, child €3, student, €5, family €20, guided tours €10 

Woodville Dovecote, County Galway. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Kerry 

Ballyseede Castle

Ballyseede, Tralee, Co. Kerry

Marnie Corscadden
Tel: 066-7125799 

www.ballyseedecastle.com 

Open: Mar 1-Dec 21, 28-31 Fee: Free 

Ballyseede Castle, County Kerry. Photograph from flickr creative commons, by Keith Robinson, 2015.

Derreen Gardens

Lauragh, Tuosist, Kenmare, Co. Kerry

John Daly
Tel: 087-1325665 

www.derreengarden.com 

Open: all year, 10am-6pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student €8, child €3, family ticket €20 (adults and all children & 2 maps) 

Kells Bay House & Garden 

Kells, Caherciveen, Co Kerry

Billy Alexander
Tel: 066-9477975 

www.kellsbay.ie 

William Alexander
Open: Feb-Dec 9.30am-dusk
Fee: adult €8.50, child €6, family €26 (2 adults + 3 children under 17 years) 

Tarbert House

Tarbert, Co. Kerry
Ursula Leslie
Tel: 068-36198, 087-2917301
Open: May, June, July, Aug, 2pm-4pm Fee: adult/OAP €5, student €2, child free 

Tarbert House, County Kerry. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Kildare 

Blackhall Castle 

Calverstown, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare
Jeffrey & Naomi White
Tel: 045-485244, 087-6532297
Open: May 1-31, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-15, Dec 1-20, 2pm-6pm Fee: Free 

Blackhall Castle, County Kildare.

Burtown House and Garden

Athy, Co. Kildare
James Fennell
Tel: 086-2631485
www.burtownhouse.ie
Open: May 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-29, June 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 23-26, 30, July 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-24, 28-31, August 4-7, 11-31, Sept 1-2, 9am-12 noon 

Fee: adult €10, OAP/child€6, student €5 

Burtown House, County Kildare.

Coolcarrigan House & Gardens 

Coolcarrigan, Coill Dubh, Naas, Co. Kildare

Robert Wilson-Wright
Tel: 086-2580439
www.coolcarrigan.ie 

Open: Feb 1-5, 8-12, Mar 8-12, April 19-23, May 10-14, 17-21, Aug 4-10, 14-29, Sept 4-10, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP/student €5, child free 

Coolcarrigan, County Kildare.

Farmersvale House 

Badgerhill, Kill, Co. Kildare
Patricia Orr
Tel: 086-2552661
Open: Jan 18-31, Feb 1-6, July 23-31, Aug 1-31, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: adult €5, student/child/OAP €3, (Irish Georgian Society members free) 

Farmersvale House, County Kildare. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Griesemount House

Ballitore
Co Kildare
Katharine Bulbulia
Tel: 087-2414556
www.griesemounthouse.ie
Open: April 19-23, 26-30, May 10-21, 17-21, 24-28, June 16-20, 23-30, July 5-9, 12- 16, 19-23, Aug 14-22, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult €6, OAP/student €5, child €3 

Harristown House 

Brannockstown, Co. Kildare
Hubert Beaumont
Tel: 087-2588775
www.harristownhouse.ie
Open: Jan 11-15, 18-22, Feb 8-12, 15-19, May 4-28, June 7-11, Aug 14-22, Sept 6-10, 9am-1pm 

Fee: adult/OAP/student €10, child €5 

Harristown House, County Kildare

Kildrought House 

Celbridge Village, Co. Kildare
June Stuart
Tel: 01-6271206, 087-6168651
Open: Jan 1-20, May 18-26, Aug 11-31,10am-2pm
Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €3, child under 5 years free, school groups €2 per head 

Kildrought House. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Larch Hill

Kilcock, Co. Kildare

Michael De Las Casas Tel: 087-2213038 

www.larchill.ie

Open: May 1-14, 17-21, 24-31, June 1-11, 15-18, 22-25, 29-30, Aug 14-29, 10am- 2pm
Fee: adult/ OAP/student €8, child €5, under 4 years free 

Larchill, County Kildare. Photograph from Country Life.
Larchill, County Kildare. Photograph from Country Life.

Leixlip Castle 

Leixlip, Co. Kildare
Penelope Guinness
Tel: 01-6244430
Open: Feb 1-5, 8-12, Mar 1-5, 8-12, May 11-14, 17-23, June 14-18, 21-27, Aug 14- 22, Sept 6-12, 9am-1pm 

Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €4, concessions no charge for school groups 

Leixlip Castle, County Kildare.
Leixlip Castle, County Kildare.

Moone Abbey House & Tower 

Moone Abbey, Moone, Co. Kildare
Jennifer Matuschka
Tel: 087-6900138
Open: May 1-30, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-30, 12 noon- 4pm

Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €4 

Moone Abbey, County Kildare.
Moone Abbey, County Kildare.

Moyglare Glebe 

Moyglare, Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Joan Hayden
Tel: 01-8722238
Open: Jan 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, May 1-31, Aug 14-22, Sept 4-7, 8.30am-12.30pm

Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €3 

Steam Museum Lodge Park Heritage Centre July 10

Lodge Park, Straffan, Co. Kildare Robert C Guinness
Tel: 01-6288412 

www.steam-museum.com 

Open: May 1-3, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, June 4-7, 11-13, 18-20, 25-27, July 2-4, 9- 11,16-18, 23-25, 30-31, Aug 1-2, 6-8, 13-22, 27-29, Sept 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, 2pm-6pm,
Fee: adult €7.50, OAP/child €5, student engineering free with card, 

family €20, (2 adults + 2 children) 

Kilkenny 

Aylwardstown House 

Glenmore, Co. Kilkenny
Nicholas Kelly
Tel: 051-880464, 087-2567866
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 9am-5pm

Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €3, child free 

Aylwardstown House, County Kilkenny. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Ballybur Castle 

Ballybur Upper, Cuffesgrange, Co. Kilkenny

Mhairi Gray
Tel: 086-1919099
www.ballyburcastle.com 

Open: May 1-10, June 10-30, Aug 14-24, Sept 1-20, 2pm-6pm Fee: Free 

Ballybur Castle, County Kilkenny. flickr creative commons by Andrew Holmes
Inside Ballybur Castle, County Kilkenny. flickr creative commons by Andrew Holmes

Ballysallagh House

Johnswell, Co. Kilkenny
Geralyn & Kieran White
Tel: 087-2906621, 086-2322105
www.ihh.ie
Open: Feb 1-20, May 1-31, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm Fee: adult €5, OAP/student/child €2.50 

Ballysallagh House, County Kilkenny. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Creamery House 

Castlecomer Co. Kilkenny
John Comerford
Tel: 087-918444
Open: May 21- Sept 26 Friday, Saturday, and Sundays, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 12 noon-5pm 

Fee: adult/OAP €5, child/student €3 

Creamery House, County Kilkenny. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Kilfane Glen & Waterfall

Kilfane, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny

Susan Mosse
Tel: 056-7727105
www.kilfane.com 

Open: July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 11am -6pm
Fee: adult €7, OAP/student €6.50, child €6, family €20 

Kilfane Waterfall, County Kilkenny, photo by irishfireside on flickr creative commons

Kilkenny Design Centre 

Castle Yard, Kilkenny

Joseph O’ Keeffe
Tel: 064-6623331 

www.kilkennydesign.com 

Open: all year,10am-7pm Fee: Free 

Kilkenny Castle stables, Kilkenny Design, County Kilkenny.

Shankill Castle 

Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny
Geoffrey Cope,
Tel: 087-2437125
www.shankillcastle.com
Open: Apr 2-Oct 31, Thurs-Sunday, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22

Fee: house & gardens, adult €10, OAP/student/child 

gardens, adult €5 OAP/student /child €4 

Shankill Castle gateway, County Kilkenny. photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Tybroughney Castle

Piltown, Co. Kilkenny
Louis Dowley
Tel: 087-2313106
Open: June 1-30, July 1-31, Mon- Fri, Aug 1-31, 9am-5pm

Fee: adult €2, student/ OAP/child free 

Tybroughney Castle, County Kilkenny. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Laois 

Ballaghmore Castle

Borris in Ossory, Co. Laois
Grace Pym
Tel: 0505-21453
www.castleballaghmore.com
Open: all year, 9.30am-6pm
Fee: adult €5, child/OAP €3, student free, family of 4, €10

 

Ballaghmore Castle, County Laois. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Stradbally Hall 

Stradbally, Co. Laois
Thomas Cosby
Tel: 086-8519272
www.stradballyhall.ie
Open: May 1-31, June 1-9, Aug 14-22, Oct 1-14, 9am-1pm

Fee: adult €10, OAP/ student €5, child free 

Stradbally Hall, County Laois. photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Leitrim 

Manorhamilton Castle (Ruin) 

Castle St, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim

Anthony Daly
Tel: 086-2502593 

Open: Jan 7-Dec 21, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, closed Sat & Sun, 10am- 5pm
Fee: adult €5, child free 

Manorhamilton Castle, County Leitrim. Photograph by Keith Ewing, flickr creative commons.

The Station House 

Brocagh Lower, Glenfarne, Co. Leitrim
Ann White
Tel: 087-1016063
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, Mon- Fri, 6pm-10pm, Sat & Sun, and Bank Holidays 9am-1pm 

Fee: Free 

Limerick 

Ash Hill

Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
Simon and Nicole Johnson
Tel: 063-98035
www.ashhill.com
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: Jan 15-Oct 31, Nov 1-29, Dec 1-15, 9am-4pm

Fee: adult/student €5, child/OAP free 

Ash Hill, County Limerick. photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Glebe House 

Holycross, Bruff, Co. Limerick
Kate Hayes and Colum McCarthy
Tel: 087-6487556
Open: Jan 4-29, May 10-28, Aug 13-22, Sept 13-24, Mon-Fri, 5.30pm-9.30pm, Sat- Sun, 8am-12 noon 

Fee: Free 

Bruff Glebe House, County Limerick. Picture from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Glenville House

Glenville, Ardagh, Co. Limerick
Owen O’Neill
Tel: 086-2541435
Open: Apr 3, 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-30, May 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-26, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-4, 7-11, 14-17, 9.30am-1.30pm 

Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €3, child free 

Glenville House, County Limerick. Picture from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Kilpeacon House 

Crecora, Co. Limerick
Donie & Mary Costello
Tel: 087-9852462
Open: May 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, June 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27, July 3-4, 10- 11, 17-18, 24-25, Aug 1, 7-8, 14-22, 28-29, Sept 1-20, 10am-2pm 

Fee: €8 

Kilpeacon House, County Limerick. Picture from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Odellville House 

Ballingarry, Co. Limerick
Aisling Frawley
Tel: 085-8895125
www.odellville.simplesite.com
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, July 1-30, Aug 1-31, 10am-2pm

Fee: adult €8, student/OAP/child €4 

Odellville House, County Limerick. Picture from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Mount Trenchard House and Garden 

Foynes, Co. Limerick
Frieda Keane Carmody
Tel: 087-2220692
Open: May, June, July, Sept, weekdays, Aug 1-31, daily, 10am-5pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP €6, child/student €4, groups between 10-20, €6 per person 

The Turret 

Ryanes, Ballyingarry, Co. Limerick
Donal Mc Goey
Tel: 086-2432174
Open: May, June, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 12 noon-5pm

Fee: adult €5, OAP/child/student/ concession €2 

The Turret, County Limerick. Picture from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The Old Rectory

Rathkeale, Co. Limerick
John Roche
Tel: 087-8269123
Open: May 1-Nov 28, Saturday and Sundays, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 10am-2pm 

Fee: adult €8, child/OAP/student €3 

Longford 

Moorhill House 

Castlenugent, Lisryan, Co. Longford

Michael O’Donnell
Tel: 047-81952
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-29, 9.30am-1.30pm

Fee: adult/OAP/student/child €8 

Moorhill House, County Longford. Picture from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Louth 

Barmeath Castle 

Dunleer, Drogheda, Co. Louth
Bryan Bellew
Tel: 041-6851205
Open: May 1-31, June 1-9, Aug 14-22, Oct 1-20, 9am-1pm Fee: adult /OAP/student €5, child free 

Barmeath Castle, County Louth

Killineer House & Garden

Drogheda, Co. Louth
Charles & Eithne Carroll
Tel: 086-2323783, 041-9838563,
www.killineerhouse.ie
Open: Feb 1-20, May 1-15, June 1-10, Aug 14-28, 9am-1pm

Fee: adult/OAP/child/student, house: €4, garden €6 

Killineer House, County Louth. photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Rokeby Hall 

Grangebellew, Co. Louth

Jean Young
Tel: 086-8644228 

www.rokeby.ie 

Open: May 1-31, Mon-Sat, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-30, Mon-Sat, 10am-2pm Fee: adult/OAP €7, child/student €5 

Rokeby, County Louth.

Mayo 

Brookhill House

Brookhill, Claremorris, Co. Mayo
Patricia and John Noone
Tel: 094-9371348, 087-3690499, 086-2459832
Open: Jan 13-20, Apr 13-20, May 18-24, June 8-14, July 13-19, Aug 1-23, 2pm-6pm

Fee: adult €6, student €3, OAP/child/ wheelchair free 

Brookhill House, County Mayo. Picture from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Enniscoe House & Gardens

Castlehill, Ballina, Co. Mayo

Susan Kellett
Tel: 096-31112 

www.enniscoe.com

(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: April 1-Oct 31
Open: garden, April 1-Oct 31, 10am-5pm,
Fee: garden & heritage centre adult €8, OAP €6, child/student €3, family 2 adults and 2 children €15, tour of house €5 per adult, free two days National Heritage Week 

Enniscoe House, County Mayo. Photograph from Tourism Ireland.

 Old Coastguard Station 

Rosmoney, Westport, Co. Mayo
James Cahill
Tel: 094-9025500
www.jamescahill.com/coastguardstation.html
Open: July 1-Sept 9 closed Sundays, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 11am-4pm Fee: €1 

Old Coastguard Station, County Mayo. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Prizon House

Prizon North, Balla, Co. Mayo.
Tom O’Connor
Tel: 087-9032133
Open: May 1-31, Aug 1-31, 2pm-6pm

Fee: adult €10, student/OAP/child free 

Prizon House, County Mayo. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Meath 

Beau Parc House

Beau Parc, Navan, Co. Meath
Emer Mooney
Tel: 041-9824163
Open: Mar 1-20, May 1-31, Aug 14-22, 10am-2 pm

Fee: adult €10, OAP/student/child €8 

Cillghrian Glebe now known as Boyne House Slane 

Chapel Street, Slane, Co. Meath
Alan Haugh
Tel: 041-9884444
www.boynehouseslane.ie
Open: all year, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm Fee: Free 

Dardistown Castle 

Dardistown, Julianstown, Co. Meath

Lizanne Allen
Tel: 086 -2774271 

www.dardistowncastle.ie 

Open: Jan 9-31, Feb 11-21, May 15-21, Aug 14-31, Sept 1-30, 10am-2pm

Fee: adult €6, student/OAP €5, child free 

Dardistown Castle, County Meath.

Dunsany Castle

Dunsany, Co. Meath
Randall Plunkett
Tel: 046-9025169
www.dunsany.com
Open: July 3-31, Aug 1-31, Sept 1-4,10am-4pm
Fee: adult 18years + €15, weekends €20, OAP/student €5, child free 

Dunsany Castle, County Meath.

Gravelmount House 

Castletown, Kilpatrick, Navan, Co. Meath
Brian McKenna
Tel: 087-2520523
Open: Jan 1-13, May 10-30, June 1-20, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm

Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €3 

Hamwood House

Dunboyne, Co. Meath
Charles Hamilton
Tel: 086-3722701
www.hamwood.ie
Open: Apr 2-Sept 26, Fri-Sun, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 10am-7pm

Fee: adult/OAP/student €10, including 2km trail and café, child under 12 free 

Hamwood House, County Meath. Photograph from Country Life.

Killeen Mill

Clavinstown, Drumree, Co. Meath Dermot Kealy
Tel: 086-2619979
(Tourists Accommodation Facility) 

Open: April- Sept 

Killeen Mill, County Meath. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Loughcrew House 

Loughcrew, Old Castle, Co. Meath

Emily Naper
Tel: 049-8541356
(Tourist Accommodation Facility

Open: April- Sept 

www.loughcrew.com 

Garden: Mar 18-Sept 30 daily, 10am-5pm, Aug & Sept, 11am-4pm Fee: adult €7, OAP/student €5, child €3.50, group concessions 

Loughcrew 22nd May 2010
Loughcrew, County Meath, 22nd May 2010.

Moyglare House 

Moyglare, Co. Meath
Postal address Maynooth Co. Kildare
Angela Alexander
Tel: 086-0537291
www.moyglaremanor.ie
Open: Jan 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, May 1-21, 24-28, 31, June 1-3, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €7.50, OAP/student/child €5 

Moyglare House, County Meath.

Slane Castle

Slane, Co. Meath
Alex Conyngham
Tel: 041-9884477
www.slanecastle.ie
Open: April 19-29, May 2-20, 23-27, 31, June 1-3, 7-10, Aug 14-22, Sept 29-30, Oct 1-2, 4-7, Sundays 12 noon-5pm, Monday – Saturday 11am-3pm 

Fee: adult €14, OAP/student €12.50, child €8.40 

Slane Castle, County Meath.

St. Mary’s Abbey 

High Street, Trim, Co. Meath
Peter Higgins
Tel: 087-2057176
Open: Jan 25-29, Feb 22-26, Mar 8-12, Apr 12-16, May 24-30, June 21-27, July 19- 25, Aug 14-22, Sept 13-17, 20-24, 2pm-6pm 

Fee: adult €5, OAP/student/child €2 

St. Mary’s Abbey, County Meath. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

The Former Parochial House

Slane, Co. Meath
Alan Haugh
Tel: 087-2566998
Open: May 1-Dec 22, Mon-Sat, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm

Fee: adult 5, child/ OAP/student €3 

Swainstown House 

Kilmessan, Co. Meath
Caroline Preston
Tel: 086-2577939
Open: Mar 1-2, 4-5, April 5-6, 8-9, May 3-9, June 7-13, July 5-11, Aug 14-22, Sept 13-17, 20-24, Oct 4-5, 7-8, Nov 1-2, 4-5, Dec 6-7, 9-10, 11am-3pm 

Fee: adult €8, child €1, OAP/student €3 

Swainstown, County Meath.

Tankardstown House 

Rathkenny, Slane, Co. Meath

Brian Conroy
Tel: 087-2888925 

www.tankardstown.ie 

Open: all year including National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm Fee: Free 

Tankardstown, County Meath.

Monaghan 

Castle Leslie 

Glaslough, Co. Monaghan
Samantha Leslie
Tel: 047-88091
www.castleleslie.com
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: all year, National Heritage Week, events August 14-22 Fee: Free

Castle Leslie, County Monaghan.
Castle Leslie, County Monaghan.

 Hilton Park House

Clones, Co. Monaghan
Fred Madden
Tel 047-56007
www.hiltonpark.ie
(Tourist Accommodation Facility) Open: April- Sept 

House and garden tours available for groups, May, July, Aug, Sept, Monday-Friday, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, June 1-4, 10-14, 17-21, 24-29, 12 noon-4pm Fee: adult €10, OAP/student €6, child free 

Hilton Park, County Monaghan. Photograph from Tourism Ireland.

Mullan Village and Mill 

Mullan, Emyvale, Co. Monaghan

Michael Treanor
Tel: 047-81135 

www.mullanvillage.com 

Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 2pm-6.30pm Fee: €6 

Offaly 

Birr Castle 

Birr, Co. Offaly

Alicia Clements Tel: 057-9120056 

www.birrcastle.com

Open: May 1-Aug 31, Mon-Sat, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, closed Aug 1, 8, 29,10am-2pm
Fee: adult €20, castle €10, garden €10, groups €15 per head, garden €7.50, castle €7.50 

Birr Castle, County Offaly.

Ballybrittan Castle 

Ballybrittan, Edenderry, Co. Offaly
Rosemarie
Tel: 087-2469802
Open: Jan 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 23-24, 30-31, Feb 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, Mar 6-7,13- 14, 20-21, 27-28, May 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, June 12-13,19-20, 26-27, July 3-4,10- 11,17-18, 24-25, 31, Aug 14-22, Sept 4-14, 2pm-6pm. 

Fee: free – except in case of large groups a fee of €5 p.p.

 Ballindoolin House 

Edenderry, Co. Offaly
Rudolf Prosoroff
Tel: 00436765570097
Open: April 6-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-29, May 1-6, 8-13, 15-20, 24-27, 31, June 1-3, 7- 10, 14-17, 21-24, 28-30, Aug 14-22, 10am-2pm 

Fee: adult €10, student /OAP/child €5 

Boland’s Lock 

Cappincur, Tullamore, Co. Offaly
Martin O’Rourke
Tel: 086-2594914
Open: July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 12 noon-4pm

Fee: adult €2, OAP/student /family €5 

Boland’s Lock, County Offaly. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Corolanty House

Shinrone, Birr, Co. Offaly
Siobhan Webb
Tel: 086-1209984
Open: Jan, Feb, July, Aug, Sept, daily 2pm-6pm Fee: Free 

Corolanty House, County Offaly. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Crotty Church 

Castle Street, Birr, Co. Offaly Brendan Garry
Tel: 086-8236452 

Open: all year, 9am-5pm 

Fee: Free 

Gloster House

Brosna, Birr, Co. Offaly
Tom & Mary Alexander
Tel: 087-2342135
Open: Feb 1-26, Mon-Fri, May 1-31, Aug 14-22, 9am-1.30pm

Fee: adult/student/child/OAP €7 

Gloster House, County Offaly. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

High Street House 

High Street, Tullamore, Co. Offaly

George Ross
Tel: 086-3831992 

www.no6highstreet.com 

Open: Jan 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, May 1-18, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-24, 9.30am-1.30pm

Fee: adult/student €5, OAP €4, child under 12 free 

Loughton 

Moneygall, Birr, Co. Offaly
Michael Lyons
Tel: 089-4319150
www.loughtonhouse.com
Open: May 11-16, 18-23, 25-30, June 1-6, 8-13, 15-20, 22-27, 29-30, Aug 1, 3-8, 10- 22, 11am-3.30pm 

Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €4, child €3 (under 12 free), family (2 adults & 2 children over 12) € 15 

Loughton House, County Offaly.

Springfield House 

Mount Lucas, Daingean, Tullamore, Co. Offaly Muireann Noonan
Tel: 087-2204569
www.springfieldhouse.ie 

Open: Jan 1-14, 1pm-5pm, May 14-16, 24-28, July 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, Aug 7-29, 2pm- 6pm, Dec 26-31, 1pm-5pm
Fee: Free 

The Maltings

Castle Street, Birr, Co. Offaly

Eoin Garry
Tel: 086-3286277 

www.canbe.ie 

(Tourist Accommodation Facility

Open: April 1-Dec 31 

The Maltings, County Offaly. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Roscommon 

Castlecoote House

Castlecoote, Co. Roscommon

Kevin Finnerty

Tel: 087-2587537

 www.castlecootehouse.com 

(Tourist Accommodation Facility)

Open: May-Oct 

Garden-guided tours, 2pm-6pm Fee: €5, €2 per car 

Castlecoote House, County Roscommon. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Clonalis House 

Castlerea, Co. Roscommon
Pyers O’Conor Nash
Tel: 094-9620014, 087-3371667
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
April 1-October 1
www.clonalis.com
Open: Jun 1-Aug 31, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 11am-5pm, last tour 3.45pm, tours by appointment
Fee: adult €10, OAP/student €8, child €5, under 7 years free, group rates can be arranged 

Clonalis, County Roscommon.

King House

Main Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon Eimear Dowd
Tel: 090-6637369 

www.visitkinghouse.ie

Open: April 16-Sept 24, Tue-Sun, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 11am-5pm

Fee: adult €7, OAP/student /child €5, 10% group discounts 

King House, County Roscommon. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Shannonbridge Fortifications 

Shannonbridge, Athlone, Co. Roscommon

Fergal Moran
Tel: 085-1345582 

www.shannonbridgefortifications.ie 

Open: May 1-Sept 30, 11am-5pm 

Fee: Free 

Shannonbridge Fortifications, County Roscommon. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Strokestown Park House

Strokestown Park House, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon

Ciarán
Tel: 01-8748030
www.strokestownpark.ie 

Open: Jan 2-Dec 20, Jan, Feb, Mar 1-16, Nov, Dec,10.30am-4pm, March 17-Oct 31, 10.30am-5.30pm,
Fee: adult €14, €12.50, €9.25, OAP/student €12.50, child €6, family €29, groups €11.50 

Strokestown Park, County Roscommon. Photograph from Tourism Ireland.

Sligo 

Coopershill House

Riverstown, Co. Sligo
Simon O’Hara
Tel: 071-9165108 

www.coopershill.com
(Tourist Accommodation Facility) 

Open: April-Sept 

Tues- Sat, 11am-5pm
Fee: adult/child/OAP/student €5 

Coopershill House, Sligo. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Lissadell House & Gardens

Lissadell, Ballinfull, Co. Sligo

Edward Walsh
Tel: 087-2550969 

www.lissadell.com 

Open: June-Sept 10.30am-6pm
Fee: adult €14, child €7, OAP €12, concessions family 

Lissadell House and Gardens County Sligo Ireland. Photograph from Tourism Ireland.

Markree Castle

Collooney
Co Sligo
Nicholas Ryan
Tel: 071-9167800 

www.markreecastle.ie
Open: June, July, Aug, 12 noon-4pm Fee: Free 

Markree Castle, County Sligo. photograph by Tom Keenan, creative commons flickr.

Newpark House and Demesne

Newpark, Ballymote, Co. Sligo
Christopher & Dorothy-Ellen Kitchin
Tel: 087-3706869, 087-2894550
Open: March 1-5, 8-12, 15-19, 22-26, May 10-16, 24-27, 31, June 1-17, Aug 14-22, Sept 7-8, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €7, OAP/student/group €5 

Newpark House, County Sligo. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Rathcarrick House

Rathcarrick, Strandhill Road, Co. Sligo
Michael Sweeney
Tel: 071-9128417
Open: June, July, Aug, Tue-Sat, National Heritage Week Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm

Fee: adult €5, OAP/student/child free

Rathcarrick House, County Sligo. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Temple House

Ballymote, Co. Sligo
Roderick and Helena Perceval

Tel:071-9183329, 087-9976045 

www.templehouse.ie
(Tourist Accommodation Facility) 

Open: April 1-October 31 

Temple House, County Sligo. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Tipperary 

Beechwood House

Ballbrunoge, Cullen, Co. Tipperary
Maura & Patrick McCormack
Tel: 083-1486736
Open: Jan 4-8, 18-22, Feb 1-5, 8-12, May 1-3, 14-17, 21-24, June 11-14, 18-21, Aug 14-22, Sept 3-6, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27, 10.15am-2.15pm 

Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €2, child free, fees donated to charity 

Beechwood House, County Tipperary. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Clashleigh House 

Clogheen, Co. Tipperary
Elizabeth O’Callaghan
Tel: 086-8185334
Open: April 1-May 27, Tues & Thurs, June 1-29, Tue, Thurs, Sat & Sun, Aug 14-22, Sept 2-Oct 28, Tues & Thurs, 9am-1pm 

Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €4 

Clashleigh House, County Tipperary. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Cloughjordan House

Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary
Sarah Baker
Tel: 085-2503344
www.cloughjordanhouse.com
Open: May 4-29, Sept 6-30, Oct 4-30 excluding Sundays, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9.30am-1.30pm 

Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €5 

Cloughjordan House, County Tipperary. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Fancroft Mill 

Fancroft, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary

Marcus & Irene Sweeney
Tel: 0505-31484, 087-9263300 

www.fancroft.ie

Open: May 6-27, June 9-30, Aug 14-22, Sept 15-22, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP/student €6, child free under 5 years, adult supervision essential, group rates available 

Fancroft Mill, County Tipperary. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Grenane House 

Tipperary, Co. Tipperary
Philippa Mansergh-Wallace
Tel: 062-52484
Open: May & Sept, Mon-Sat, Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm, closed Saturday, Sept 18

Fee: adult €8, student/OAP €6, group rates available 

Greenane House, County Tipperary. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. I assume this is the house that is 482, despite the difference in spelling!

Killenure Castle 

Dundrum
Co Tipperary
Eavaun Carmody
Tel: 087-6402664
www.killenure.com
Open: May 11-31, June 1-30, Aug 14-22, 10.30am-2.30pm

Fee: adult €8, child /OAP/student €6, group concessions 

Killenure Castle, County Tipperary. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Lismacue House

Bansha, Co. Tipperary
Katherine Nicholson
Tel: 062-54106
www.lismacue.com
(Tourist Accommodation Facility) 

Open: Mar 17-Oct 31 

Lismacue House, County Tipperary. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Redwood Castle 

Redwood, Lorrha, Nenagh, North Tipperary

Redwood is off the Birr/Portumna Rd

Coleesa Egan
Tel: 087-7479566 

www.redwoodcastleireland.com

Open: June 8-23, 29-30, July 1-16, 19-29, Aug 1-27, 29-31, Sept 1-2, 2pm-6pm

Fee: adult €10, OAP/student/child €5 

Redwood Castle, County Tipperary, photograph by discover lough derg on flickr creative commons.

The Rectory

Cashel Road, Cahir, Co. Tipperary

Richard & Josephine Fahey 

Tel: 087-2601994

(Tourist Accommodation Facility

Open: May 1-Oct 31 

The Rectory, Cahir. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Silversprings House 

Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
Jim Gilligan
Tel: 086-2539187
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, Aug 14-22, 12 noon-4pm

Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €3, child free 

Silversprings House, County Tipperary. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Waterford 

Ballynatray Estate 

Co. Waterford
Postal address: Glendine, Youghal, Co. Cork

Katherine Gordon
Tel: 086-1701832
www.ballynatray.com
Open: April 1-Sept 30, 12 noon- 4pm
Fee: adult €6, child OAP/student €3 

Ballynatray House, County Waterford. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Cappagh House (Old and New)

Cappagh
Dungarvan
Co Waterford
Charles and Claire Chavasse
Tel: 087-8290860, 086-8387420
www.cappaghhouse.ie
Open: April, June, & August, Wednesday & Thursday, May & September Wednesday Thursday & Saturday, National Heritage Week, August 14-22, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student/€5, child under 12 free 

Cappagh House, County Waterford. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Cappoquin House & Gardens 

Cappoquin, Co. Waterford
Sir Charles Keane
Tel: 058-54290, July 087-6704180
www.cappoquinhouseandgardens.com
Open: July 20-24, 26-31, Aug 2-7, 9-28, 30, Sept 1-4, 6-11, 13-18, 20-25, 27-30, 9am-1pm
Gardens open all year, 9am-6pm, closed Sundays
Fee: house/garden €15, garden only €6 

Cappoquin House, County Waterford.

Curraghmore House 

Portlaw, Co. Waterford
Vanessa Behal
Tel: 051-387101
www.curraghmorehouse.ie
Open: May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Thurs-Sun and Bank Holidays, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22,10am-4pm 

Fee: adult/OAP/student, house/garden/shell house tour €20, house €15, garden & shell house €12, garden €7, child under12 years free 

Curraghmore, County Waterford.

Dromana House 

Cappoquin, Co. Waterford
Barbara Grubb
Tel: 086-8186305
www.dromanahouse.com
Open: May 1-8, 22-31, June 1-30, July 1-10, Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student, house €10, garden: adult/OAP/student €6, child under 12 free, groups of 10 or more house/garden €12, garden €5, house €9, 

Dromana, County Waterford.

Salterbridge House & Garden 

Salterbridge, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford
Philip Wingfield
Tel: 086-8223005
www.salterbridgehouseandgarden.com
Open: Mar 22-26, Apr 6-9, 12-16, 19-23, 26-30, May 3-7, 10-31, Aug 14-22, 9am- 1pm 

Fee: adult house/garden €10, house or garden only €5, child/student half price, OAP free 

Salterbridge, County Waterford.

The Presentation Convent 

Waterford Healthpark, Slievekeel Road,Waterford

Michelle O’ Brien
www.rowecreavin.ie
Tel: 051-370057 

Open: Jan 1-Dec 31, excluding Bank Holidays and Sundays, Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm, Sat, 10am-2pm, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22
Fee: Free 

Presentation Convent, County Waterford. photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Tourin House & Gardens 

Tourin, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford

Kristin Jameson
Tel: 086-8113841
www.tourin.ie 

Open: April 1-Sept 30, Tue-Sat, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 1pm-5pm

Fee: adult €6, OAP/student €3, child free. 

Tourin, County Waterford.

Westmeath 

Lough Park House 

Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath
Liam O’Flanagan
Tel: 044-9661226
Open: Mar 16-22, Apr 1-7, May 1-7, June 1-7, July 16-26, Aug 1-6, 14-22, Sept 1-6, 2pm-6pm 

Fee: adult €6, child free 

Lough Park House, County Westmeath. photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

St. John’s Church 

Loughstown, Drumcree, Collinstown, Co. Westmeath

Billy Standish
Tel: 044-9666570
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 2pm-6pm 

Fee: adult €4, child/OAP/student €2 

St. John’s Church, County Westmeath. photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Rockfield Ecological Estate

Rathaspic, Rathowen, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
Sean Daly
Tel: 086-2487447
Open: May 25-30, June 15-25, July 15-30, Aug 14-29, Sept 10-20, 2pm-6pm

Fee: Free 

Tullynally Castle & Gardens

Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath

Octavia Tullock
Tel: 044-9661856 

www.tullynallycastle.com

Open: Castle, Apr 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-30, May 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29, June 3-5, 11-12, 17-19, 24-26, July 1-3, 8-10, 15-17 Aug 14-22, Sept 2-4, 9-11, 10.30am- 2.30pm
Garden: Apr 1-4, 8-11, 15-18, 22-25, 29-30, May 1-2, 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 27-30, June 3-6, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27, July 1-4, 8-11,15-18, 22-25, 29-31, Aug 1, 5-8, 12-22, 26- 29, Sept 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 23-26 10.30am-2.30pm 

Fee: adult, castle & access to garden €16, garden only €8, child, castle & access to garden €8, garden only €4, families, castle & access to garden €40, garden only €20 

Tullynally, County Westmeath.

Turbotstown

Coole, Co. Westmeath
Peter Bland
Tel: 086-2475044
Open: July 22-30, Aug 1-31, Dec 1-20, 9am-1pm

Fee: adult/student €8, child/OAP €4 

Wexford 

Clougheast Cottage 

Carne, Co. Wexford
Jacinta Denieffe
Tel: 086-1234322
Open: Jan 11-31, May 1-31, August 14-22, 9am-1pm Fee: €5 

Clougheast Cottage, County Wexford. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens

Kilmokea, Great Island, Campile, New Ross, Co. Wexford Mark Hewlett
Tel: 086-0227799
www.kilmokea.com 

(Tourist Accommodation Facility) 

Open: Mar- Nov 

Gardens: 

Open Mar17-Nov 5, 10am-5pm
Fee: adult €7, OAP €6, student €5, child €4, free under 3 years, family group of 4, €20 

Kilmokea, County Wexford. Photograph from Tourism Ireland.

Wilton Castle

Bree, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

Sean Windsor
(Tourist Accommodation Facility) 

Tel: 053-9247738 

www.wiltoncastleireland.com 

Open: all year 

Wilton Castle, County Wexford. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Woodbrook House

Killanne, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford

Giles Fitzherbert
(Tourist Accommodation Facility

053-9255114 

www.woodbrookhouse.ie 

Open April 1-October 31

Woodville House

New Ross, Co. Wexford
Gerald Roche
Tel: 087-9709828
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 10am-2pm

Fee: adult/OAP/ €5, child/student free 

Woodville House, Wexford. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Wicklow 

Altidore Castle 

Kilpeddar, Greystones, Co. Wicklow
Philip Emmet
Tel: 087-7601369
Open: Mar 10-30, May 1-31 June 1-3, 1pm-5pm, Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm

Fee: adult /OAP/ student €5, child over 10 years €5 

Altidore Castle, County Wicklow.

Ballymurrin House 

Kilbride, Wicklow, Co. Wicklow
Philip Geoghegan
Tel: 086-1734560
www.ballymurrinquakerfarmstead.eu
Open: Mar 1-6, 8-13, 15-20, 22-23, May 1, 3-8, 10-15, 17-22, 24-29, 31, Aug 9-22, 2pm-6pm, 2 tours provided daily at 2pm and 4 pm 

Fee: adult/OAP €8, student €4, child free under 12 supervision required 

Ballymurrin, County Wicklow.

Castle Howard 

Avoca, Co. Wicklow
Mark Sinnott
Tel: 087-2987601
Open: Jan 11-13, Feb 1-5, Mar 1-3, 22-24, June 10-12, 14-15, 19, 21-26, 28, July 5-9, 19-22, Aug 13-22, Sept 6-11, 18, 25, Oct 4-6, 11-13, 9am-1pm 

Fee: adult €8.50, OAP/student €6.50, child €5

 

Castle Howard, County Wicklow.

Charleville 

Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow
Tatiane Baquiega
Tel: 01-6624455
Open: Feb 1-5, 8-12, 15-19, 22-26, May 4-28, 31 June 1-4, 8, Aug 14-22, Mon-Fri, 1pm-5pm, Sat & Sun, 9am-1pm 

Fee: house/garden €6 

Charleville House, County Wicklow.
Charleville House, County Wicklow.

Killruddery House & Gardens 

Southern Cross Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow Anthony Meath
Tel: 087-7729882

www.killruddery.com 

Open: Apr 1-Oct 31, 9am-6pm,
Fee: adult €8.50, garden and house tour €15.50, OAP/student €7.50, garden and house tour €13, OAP/student €7.50, garden and house tour €13, child €3 under 4 years free, garden and house tour €5.50 

Kilruddery House, May 2013

Kiltimon House 

Newcastle, Co. Wicklow
Michelle O’Connor
Tel: 087-2505205
Open: May 1-31, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-20, 9am-1pm

Fee: adult €10, OAP/student/child €5 

Kiltimon House, County Wicklow. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

Kingston House

Kingston, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow Liam Lynam
Tel: 087-2415795
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 10am-2pm

Fee: adult €3, OAP/student/child €2 

Knockanree Garden 

Avoca, Co Wicklow
Perter Campion
Tel: 085-8782455
Open: May 20-July 3, Mon- Sat, August 14-22, Oct 1-14, Mon-Sat, 9.30am-1.30pm

Fee: adult €3, OAP/student €2 

Knockanree Gardens, County Wicklow.

1 Martello Terrace 

Strand Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Liz McManus
Tel: 087-2357369
Open: May, June, Sept, Oct, Mon & Thurs, July & Aug, Mon, Thurs, & Sat, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 1pm-5pm, Sat 9am-1pm, closed Oct 25 

Fee: Free

1 Martello Terrace, Bray, County Wicklow. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

 Mount Usher Gardens

Ashford, Co. Wicklow
Caitriona Mc Weeney
Tel: 0404-49672
www.mountushergardens.ie
Open: all year 10am-6pm, closed Dec 25-26
Fee: adult €8, student/OAP €7, child €4, no charge for wheelchair users 

Mount Usher gardens, County Wicklow. Photograph from Tourism Ireland.

Powerscourt House & Gardens 

Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow

Sarah Slazenger
Tel: 01-2046000
www.powerscourt.ie 

Open: All year, closed Christmas day and St Stephens day, 9.30am-5.30pm, ballroom and garden rooms Sun, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: Mar-Oct, adult €11.50, OAP €9, student €8.50, child €5, family ticket €26, Nov- Dec, adult €8.50, OAP €7.50, student €7, child €4, family ticket 2 adults + 3 children €18, children under 5 free 

Powerscourt, County Wicklow

Russborough 

The Albert Beit Foundation, Blessington, Co. Wicklow

Eric Blachford
Tel: 086-2522414
enc@russborough.ie 

Open: Mar 1- Dec 25, 10am-5pm,
Fee: adult €12, OAP/student €9, child €6 

Russborough House, County Wicklow. Photograph from Tourism Ireland.

Cabra Castle, Kingscourt, County Cavan

Cabra Castle (Hotel)

Kingscourt, Co. Cavan

Howard Corscadden.

Tel: 042-9667030

www.cabracastle.com

Listed Open dates, but check due to Covid-19 restrictions : all year, except Dec 24, 25, 26, 11am-12 midnight

Fee: Free

Stephen and the Knight have a heart to heart. We attended a wedding in Cabra Castle in 2011 and I took this photograph.

Stephen and I visited Cabra Castle in December 2020. I contacted the owner, Howard Corscadden, in advance, to request a tour of the castle. The Corscadden family own several beautiful Irish properties which provide unique castle accommodation. As well as Cabra Castle, they own Markree Castle in County Sligo and Ballyseede Castle in County Kerry, both of which are on the Section 482 list, as well as Bellingham Castle in County Louth. They are all hotels except the latter which is available as a four star venue for weddings and events, with accommodation. Howard’s parents and grandparents were also in the hotel business in Ireland, as are his siblings – Ballyseede is run by his sister Marnie, Castle Bellingham by his brother Patrick and Markree Castle by his sister Patricia. Howard worked in the Waldorf hotel in Switzerland and in Dromoland Castle in Ireland before purchasing Cabra Castle in 1991. [1] It had been converted to a hotel in 1964 by the local Brennan family. In 1986 it was sold to become a private house once more, but with a change in fortune the family sold to Howard Corscadden.

The early history of the castle is the history of two land-owning families, the Fosters and the Pratts. The building now known as Cabra Castle was originally known as Cormy Castle. At that time, an adjacent property was called “Cabra.” Cormy Castle was named after the townland of Cormy.

In 1795 the land, which contained an old round tower castle called Cormy Castle, belonged to John Thomas Foster (1747-1796), who had been MP for Dunleer, County Louth, and for Ennis, County Clare. The main building of Cormy Castle was in ruins, destroyed during the Cromwellian War, but its adjacent courtyard remained in good repair.

The Foster family owned large amounts of land in County Louth and their family seat was in Dunleer. The family produced many members of the Irish Parliament. John Thomas’s grandfather John Foster (1665-1747) had been MP for Dunleer. His father, Reverend Thomas Foster (1709-1784) was Rector at Dunleer. His uncle Anthony Foster (1705-1778) had also been MP for Dunleer and for County Louth, and was Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and lived at Collon, County Louth. [2] Anthony’s son John Foster (1740-1828) was Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, created 1st Baron Oriel of Ferrard, and also owned property which is now part of University College Dublin and the adjacent road Foster Avenue is named after him.

Turtle Bunbury tells us that John Thomas Foster’s father Reverend Thomas, the rector of Dunleer, acquired land in County Louth in the 1750s and 1760. He then acquired the 700 acre manor of Killany, County Louth, from 1763 on a series of long leases from the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College Dublin. He purchased Stonehouse, Dunleer, around 1787. [3]

Stone House, County Louth, built around 1760 and purchased by Reverend Thomas Foster in around 1787. Photograph from National Archive of Architectural Heritage.

In 1776 John Thomas Foster married Elizabeth Christina Hervey, daughter of the 4th Earl of Bristol. After the marriage they lived with her father in Suffolk. They had two sons: Frederick Thomas (1777-1853) and Augustus John (1780-1848). [4] 

The marriage of John Thomas and Elizabeth Christina was not a success, and they separated after five years. Foster took the sons, and she did not see them for fourteen years. [5]

In 1783 John Thomas Foster inherited a property named Rosy Park in Louth from his uncle, John William Foster. In 1820 it was renamed Glyde Park by his son, Augustus. [6] It is unfortunately now a ruin.

The ruin of Glyde Court, County Louth, built around 1780. Photograph from National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.

John Thomas died in 1796, when his sons were still minors. They moved back to England to live with their mother, who by this time was living with William Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire, along with his wife, Georgiana, and had born him two children. A film starring Keira Knightly, “The Duchess,” is based on their story. [7] She married him in 1809 when his wife died.

Meanwhile, a cousin of John Thomas Foster, Henry Foster (c. 1747-1838), was appointed Trustee and Executor of the property of Cormy. He lived at Cormy Castle while acting as Trustee for his wards. According to Turtle Bunbury, he was a magistrate for Meath, Cavan and Louth. There is a record in the National Library of Ireland of a Grant of Arms to Henry Foster of Cormy Castle from March 13th 1806, when he was about to be created a baronet, but “the creation did not eventuate” (i.e. he was not made baronet). The National Library also has a map of the demesne of Cormy Castle from 1810, named as the seat of Henry Foster. In 1808 he began to rebuild and enlarge the castle. However, he exhausted the personal estate of his wards in doing so, and incurred debts, and the castle and land had to be sold. In about 1813 his wards sold the estate to Colonel Joseph Pratt, who lived on the adjacent property. [8]

John Thomas Foster’s son Frederick Thomas Foster may have remained in England, as he served as MP for Bury St. Edwards between 1812 and 1818. His brother Augustus John Foster became a politician and diplomat. Between roughly 1802 and 1804 he was Secretary to the British Legion in Naples. He held the office of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the U.S.A. in 1812. He wrote about his American experiences in Notes on the United States of America.

From 1814-1824 he held the office of Minister Plenipotentiary to Denmark. He was created 1st Baronet Foster of Glyde Court in 1831, and was appointed Privy Counsellor. His final posting was to Turin, in the Kingdom of Sardinia. 

Colonel Joseph Pratt, who owned the adjacent Cabra estate, continued the enlargement of Cormy Castle, and the work was completed in 1837. In 1820 he renamed it Cabra Castle. [9]

Before we examine the development of Cabra Castle, let’s look at the history of the property of Cabra across the road from the current Cabra Castle. 

Old Cabra, in Dun Na Ri Forest Park

Old Cabra, in Dun Na Ri Forest Park
The former stable block of Old Cabra, popularly known as “The Barracks,” in Dun Na Ri Forest Park

According to the Cabra Castle website, this area belonged to the O’Reilly family. In 1607 Gerald Fleming, who had been granted territory by King James I, built a castle on the property. He lost his lands, however, when he supported James II against William III, and Colonel Thomas Cooch (1632-1699) acquired the property. [10]

Colonel Thomas Cooch married Elizabeth Mervyn, (sister of Audley Mervyn, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons), and they had an only daughter and heiress, Elizabeth. 

Elizabeth’s first husband (Nathaniel Pole, who lived in County Meath) died in 1685, before they had any children, and Elizabeth then married Joseph Pratt, who lived not far off at Garadice, Co. Meath, a property which his father received for his support of Oliver Cromwell. [11] This marriage (which was also Joseph Pratt’s second) took place in 1686 and a son, Mervyn Pratt, was born in 1687. Joseph Pratt held the office of High Sheriff of County Meath in 1698. He and Elizabeth had several other children.

Colonel Thomas Cooch left his Cabra property to his grandson Mervyn. 

Mervyn Pratt was only 12 years old when his grandfather died. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin and married Elizabeth Coote, daughter of Sir Thomas Coote, Judge, of Bellamont, Coote Hill, County Cavan. Mervyn and Elizabeth lived at Cabra near the Wishing Well. He followed in his father’s footsteps and held the office of High Sheriff, but of County Cavan rather than Meath. He was also an MP for County Cavan.

The Fleming castle was modernised by Mervyn Pratt. The new villa may have been designed by Edward Lovett Pearce, who was a cousin of Elizabeth Coote. The Irish Aesthete quotes a visitor to Mervyn Pratt in Cabra:

On August 25th 1732, the future Mrs Delany (then the merrily widowed Mrs Pendarves) embarked on a journey from Navan, County Meath to Cootehill, County Cavan. She wrote in her journal, ‘travelled through bad roads and a dull, uninhabited country, till we came to Cabaragh, Mr Prat’s house, an old castle modernized, and made very pretty: the master of it is a virtuoso, and discovers whim in all his improvements. The house stands on the side of a high hill; has some tall old trees about it; the gardens are small but neat; there are two little terrace walks, and down in a hollow is a little commodious lodge where Mr Prat lived whilst his house was repairing. But the thing that most pleased me, was a rivulet that tumbles down from rocks in a little glen, full of shrub-wood and trees; here a fine spring joins the river, of the sweetest water in the world.’” [12]

Mervyn and Elizabeth Pratt had three daughters and one son. Their son Joseph joined the clergy. Reverend Joseph married Elizabeth Chetwood and had five children.

Of the five children of Reverend Joseph Pratt, a daughter Anne married her neighbour Henry Foster the trustee for Cormy Castle. [13] A son, James Butler Pratt, married a sibling of Henry Foster, Margaret. Another son entered the clergy, Reverend Joseph Pratt (1738-1831).

This second Reverend Joseph Pratt married Sarah Morres, daughter of the 1st Viscount Mountmorres, of Castle Morres, County Kilkenny (which has been demolished). Their son, Colonel Joseph Pratt (1775-1863), purchased Cormy Castle from Henry Foster. Their other son, Hervey Randall Saville Pratt inherited the property of Castle Morres through his mother.

The house at Cabra was destroyed by fire in the 1950s, and is now part of Dun na Ri Forest Park, a lovely place to explore, owned by Coillte. After Joseph Pratt moved to Cormy Castle and created a new seat for his family, his former property became known as Old Cabra. [14] 

Now let us travel back across the road to the former Cormy Castle, now Cabra Castle. Cabra Castle is a mixture of Norman and Gothic styles.

The entrance is in a Norman-style “donjon” or square tower house, with corner turret. The door is in a deeply recessed pointed arch.

The building has two, three and four story sections over a basement. The building, including outbuildings, is castellated, and has several round and square towers.

The windows are of various shape, some with hood mouldings. 

A recent creation to one side of the tower is “Mitzi’s garden,” a formal garden with fountain, tribute to the mother of the current generation of Corscaddens, who is nicknamed Mitzi. This area used to be used for parking. 

View of Mitzi’s Garden from the balcony above.

There are statue-filled niches, and a side entrance, up a flight of steps, leads to the recently refurbished ballroom.

The steps leading to the entry to the Ballroom.

The other side of the building has a terrace which contains a seating area outside the bar, which also serves food.

This is a photograph of the terrace from 2011, which has been altered slightly, as you can see in the photograph below.

The bar on the ground floor.
The ogee arched shaped windows and doors mirror those of the entrance.

This courtyard looks out to a lawn area that has a giant chess set and places to sit.

This path leads out to a golf course.
The castle is permanently inhabited by some beautiful Irish wolf hounds, who make a picturesque and atmospheric addition to wedding photographs.
This is the area beyond the courtyard and bar, and is the outer walls of the courtyard to the rear of the castle.
This arial photograph was taken before Mitzi’s Garden was developed. The square turret in the inside corner of the L bend of the castle contains our en suite. The courtyard with further accommodation, of one square within a larger square, is at the rear.

The oldest part of the castle can be pinpointed in the aerial view. According to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage the “earlier house of c.1750 [is] embedded within northern section of south-east side concealed behind extension of c.1990, junction marked by square-plan rendered turret corresponding to north-west side in simplified form.” This square plan turret actually contains our bathroom!

Beyond Mitzi’s Garden a path leads to the car park and further self-catering accommodation, beyond the tennis court. A branch of this path and driveway curves around to the courtyard at the back of the castle. One can also enter this courtyard through the castle. The courtyard originally contained the stables, but these have been converted into more hotel accommodation. There are about sixty rooms in the courtyard.

The outside of the courtyard buildings.

Some of the buildings in the courtyard have been newly constructed. My amateur eye cannot distinguish the new from the old.

In the middle of the courtyard is Karl’s Garden, named after a former groundsman. 

The Cabra Castle website tells us:

“Colonel Joseph Pratt had married Jamima, daughter of Sir James Tynte [of Tynte Park, County Wicklow – the beautiful house that stands there today wasn’t built until around 1820; Jamima married in 1806], and had ten children. The eldest – Mervyn, born in 1807 – married Madeline Jackson, only daughter and heiress of Colonel Jackson of Enniscoe, Co. Mayo. They inherited this property when Colonel Pratt died. 

He succeeded his father, Col. Joseph Pratt, as owner of Cabra in 1863, but from this time onwards, the interests of the Pratt Family were divided between Cabra in Co. Cavan and Enniscoe in Co. Mayo. Mervyn Pratt died in 1890 and was succeeded on his death by his eldest son – Major Mervyn Pratt, in 1927.”

Enniscoe, by the way, is another Section 482 property which I look forward to visiting, which also provides accommodation. The house was completed in 1798. [15] 

Mervyn Pratt (1807-1890) who married into Enniscoe had several brothers. Joseph Pratt took the name of Tynte in 1836 from his mother and lived in Tynte Park. Mervyn held the offices of High Sheriff of County Cavan in 1841 and High Sheriff of County Mayo in 1843. He was also Justice of the Peace for County Cavan and High Sheriff for County Meath in 1875. His son Joseph Pratt (1843-1929) inherited Enniscoe and Cabra Castle, and then Joseph’s son Mervyn (1873-1950) lived at Enniscoe and left Cabra Castle unoccupied. He served in the military, and was a Justice of the Peace, and never married. He bequeathed Cabra to his nearest male relative, Mervyn Sheppard (1905-1994), a Malayan Civil Servant. [16] According to the Cabra Castle website, death duties and taxes, rates, the cost of repairs, and farm losses, meant he could not afford to live there, and he had to sell it. It was sold in 1964 to the Brennans and turned into a 22 bedroom hotel.

The manager of the hotel, Johnny, took us on a tour. While we waited for him we sat by an open fire in a small sitting room off the reception hall.

Reception area within the front entrance.
Small room off the reception area, where we waited for the Manager for our tour.

Beyond the reception area is the staircase hall with a bifurcating staircase with metalwork balustrade ascending to the first floor. Two statues very similar to the ones that were recently removed from outside the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin while the owners determined whether they represented slave girls or not (they do not) adorn the staircase. [17]

On the second floor the staircase hall is surrounded by a gallery, and has ceiling work of thin fretting.

At the top of the stairs on the first floor is a Victorian drawing room with an original gilt wallpaper.

The ceiling has matching gilt decoration. Next to this room, facing the staircase, is the dining area – a suite of several rooms. The arches between the rooms reflect the entrance arch to the castle and the arched windows.

This is the bay window we can see as the canted three storey tower outside.

The historic elegance of the rooms is maintained with original fireplace, antique mirrors, portraits and chandeliers.

On the second floor is more cosy sitting room, decorated in dark green William Morris style wallpaper, making it more like a den or library.

This den overlooks an outdoor seating area. This is the seating area overlooking Mitzi’s Garden.

Beautiful antiques adorn the rooms. I love these porcelain cranes on the  fine desk.
I can’t find this Cecil Pratt in the family tree. I would love to identify all the sitters in the portraits. Most, however, were bought after the Pratts’ belongings went elsewhere.

The manager then took us through to the most recent piece de resistance, the Ballroom. It has been sensitively built and decorated to reflect the style of the older parts of the castle, and I loved the ceiling, which is quite amazing and looks like heavy medieval carved wood but is actually manufactured using a modern technique. In the hallway leading to the ballroom, our guide pointed out that the original round stone tower of the castle has been incorporated.

The original round stone tower of the castle has been incorporated into the newer wing. A pair of ogee arched doorways lead to the bar.
A tripartite stone window is also incorporated into the newer area.
I asked our guide whether this door was a genuine old one, and he told me it is not, but was carefully crafted.
 

The ballroom includes a large “minstrels’ gallery.”

Tipperary crystal chandelier.
The tower has been incorporated to form a little nook for a wedding cake.
The cake tower room comes complete with a sword to cut the cake!

Off the ballroom is a small kitchen, called Josephine’s Kitchen after one of the staff who worked here for thirty years.

In Josephine’s kitchen, guests can help themselves to tea and coffee. A painting of Cormy Bridge, near where Old Cabra was located, is by Josephine herself!

Our guide told us that Howard Corscadden likes to pick up antiques to add to the décor. I love these additions, making me feel like I was a visitor in the days of the Pratts when the castle must have boasted its full glory. After our tour, I explored the nooks and crannies, enjoying the irregularity of the stairways and corridors.

There was a great photograph of Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan on the way up to our bedroom.

Even the back corridors have wonderful artworks. I love this series of portraits. I wonder who they are?

I also really like these Arabic scenes:

Our guide showed us to one of his favourite bedrooms, which has a ceiling recently adorned with plasterwork. He particularly loves the use of the round tower, renovated into a gorgeous bathroom.

He then took us outside to the courtyard, and showed us the Bridal Suite in the courtyard area.