Wicklow Lighthouse – Sleeps up to 4 people.
Story of the Lighthouse
Two lighthouses were established on the Head on 1st September 1781, built by the Revenue Commissioners to the design of John Trail, an engineer who previously had been involved with the Grand Canal Company between 1769 and 1777. This lighthouse in the care of Irish Landmark Trust was originally the rear tower; the other was situated on the saddle of the Head.
The ‘twin’ lights not only marked the headland, but prevented mariners from confusing Wicklow Head with Howth Head and Hook head, both of which had only single lights. Each octagonal stone tower supported an eight-sided lantern of which five seaward sides were glazed with a number of “bulls-eye” panes. The light source in each lantern was 20 tallow candles at the focus of a large reflector.
In 1810, soon after the Corporation for Preserving and Improving the Port of Dublin took over the lights from the Revenue Commissioners, the Wicklow Head lights were considered for rebuilding at a lower level due to the fact that the rear light was liable to be obscured by fog. Also, both lights were in a very dilapidated condition. The lanterns were rotten and rusty, and the reflectors tarnished. An attempt was made to improve the reflectors by cementing small pieces of looking glass in the large catoptric reflectors with six candles placed in their assumed focus.
Approval to build two new lighthouses was obtained from Trinity House and the Lord Lieutenant in 1816, and work commenced before the end of the year. Mr. George Halpin, the Board’s Inspector of Works, designed and supervised the building of the new lighthouses, which was carried out by the Board’s tradesmen.
The two new towers were erected on the same bearing as the old 1781 lighthouses, with the new upper lighthouse close to the old front tower and the new front lighthouse lower down the cliff 37m (121 feet) above high water level.
The 1816 old front tower was demolished, and the rear tower light was discontinued but the tower remained, forming a useful landmark by day.
On the night of 10 October 1836, lightning struck the old rear tower and in the ensuing fire, the lantern and all floors were completely gutted. Mr. Halpin stated in his report that as the tower formed a useful maritime landmark, he recommended that it should be re-roofed the following Spring. The Board concurred that the tower should be preserved. It is interesting to note that it was not until 1866 before the present brick dome was added.
The tower available as self-catering accommodation for guests, is the ‘rear tower’ and is approximately 29m (95feet) high to the balcony.
Restoring the Lighthouse
As a first project, Wicklow Lighthouse was a brave venture for The Irish Landmark Trust. Strikingly located on Wicklow Head, it is a wonderful granite structure dating from the 1780’s, which had lain empty for over one hundred years.
When first visited by the Irish Landmark in 1994, the building was a shell with no internal floors or stairway remaining since a fire in the 19th century. Windows, positioned on north, south, east and west walls, were blocked up and the roof, a brick dome, was letting in great amounts of water. The Lighthouse is a six-storey high octagonal structure of approximately 3.6m x 4.2m diameter internally. The walls are very thick, 1.8m at the base, decreasing in thickness with height.
Externally the building was rendered except for dressed stone quoins, windows and door surrounds, cornice and string courses. Some original roughcast render survived externally on the more protected sides and, in the main, the stone was in good condition. Internally there was much organic growth on the walls and little original plaster remained. Restoration of Wicklow Lighthouse was supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the National Heritage Council, Bord Fáilte, and by significant private donations.
The conversion itself took over two years. It involved re-plastering the internal and external wall, making and fitting 27 windows, wiring plumbing, flooring and installing a water pumping system.
All the windows were newly made in accordance with traditional joinery practices. Double-glazing was used to counteract the high winds and exposed location of the lighthouse. Blinds for the windows had to be fitted, as it was required that they should be closed at night lest the lights from the lighthouse confuse ships around the headland. The arched head on the windows meant that special blinds were needed. These were handmade from various coloured sail fabric and attached to the windows with brass fittings. Because the blinds are flush to the windows, it means that the window alcove becomes a useable space, even at night when the blinds are closed.
All the walls were painted white, and this gives the building an almost contemporary feel. It was decided to furnish the lighthouse in a minimalist fashion. This was further consolidated by the fact that all of the furniture had to be either built in-situ, or else dismantled to bring it up the winding 109 steps to the top.
Because no one had ever lived in the lighthouse, there was no evidence as to how it might have been furnished. Therefore, the furniture selected is, in general, quite simple with a nautical theme. Mahogany and oak pieces were avoided to allow for simple pine and brass and cast iron beds. Where pine was used, it was painted in a light duck egg blue. The mosaic tiles on the bathroom floor were influenced by similar samples found in other lighthouses.
The Architect – Maura Shaffrey
The restoration of Wicklow Head Lighthouse was one of Maura Shaffrey’s last projects. The philosophy behind the brief and that of Irish Landmark Trust, echoed one which Maura had promoted and practised throughout her career, and long before it had become popular or accepted in this country. This philosophy acknowledged the intrinsic value of our architectural heritage, including its historic and social aspects, but, above all, the particular quality of fabric, form and scale which imbues its aesthetic worth. It sought to retain these qualities and weave new uses into existing buildings without diluting their essence. It was not a rigid doctrine which aimed to preserve all in aspic, nor was it one which bowed to the kitsch or the pastiche. It embraced the demands to incorporate modern facilities sympathetically and took them on board as a challenge in proving the economic viability and future sustainability of retaining and reviving existing buildings.
However, Maura’s approach was equally strict on issues such as materials and finishes, insisting that only compatible materials should be used. Behind this ‘rule’ was a depth of knowledge and passion. Maura’s last article, before her untimely death, examined the future of the vernacular house and set out a practical and benign approach to ‘upgrading’, incorporating extensions, etc., as necessary.
Wicklow Lighthouse was a fitting final project for Maura, in that it enabled her to express these attitudes and ideas in a practical way with a sympathetic and encouraging client. The Irish Landmark Trust was founded in 1992 with a remit to restore interesting and unusual ‘landmark’ properties as good quality residential holiday accommodation. At its heart is the principle that the structure itself is of prime importance and any interventions must respect this.
Sleeping 4 people in 2 Double Rooms, there are 109 steps to the kitchen, which is on the top floor. Electric Storage Heating – Electric Oven – Microwave – Fridge – Towels and Linens Provided – Travel cot/crib for infants (under 2 years), on request – Hair Dryer – Cooking Utensils and Equipment – 1 Bathroom with overhead shower – Separate WC (located on ground floor) – Sitting Room – Sea and Countryside Views – Radio – Car Parking – Welcomes 1 dog
Loop Head Lightkeeper’s House – Sleeps up to 5 people.
Perched proudly on an enclosure at the tip of Loop Head stands the lighthouse station. Surrounded by birds and wild flowers, cliffs and Atlantic surf, Loop Head offers holiday accommodation with all of the spectacular appeal of the rugged west coast. The surrounding coastline is of a dramatic character with cliffs sculpted by Atlantic storms where rock ledges and caves are home to seabirds, seals and other maritime animals.
The lighthouse station is built on a clifftop with 300 degree views out to sea, down to Kerry and Dingle, across the Shannon estuary and up the Clare coast to the Cliffs of Moher and the north. The peninsula has always been a strategic lookout point (there are numerous pre-christian forts along the coast), and today it is still a outstanding lookout point for whales and dolphins, as well as seabirds and shipping.
There has been a lighthouse at this important navigational location since approximately 1670. The first beacon comprised of a cottage in which the Keeper and his family lived, with a large brazier on the roof, similar in style to the original Howth Head and Old Head of Kinsale lights. Traces of this building still exist in the present day complex. Predictably the light was not reliable and in this remote location, difficult to manage, and it fell into disrepair. A new light was re-established in 1770 and then the present tower was designed by George Halpin in 1854. The distinctive character of the light – 22 seconds of light followed by 4 of dark – was achieved by rotating a screen around the lamp. This operation was originally manually “wound up” and not replaced by electric until 1971. The station was fully automated in the early 1990s.
When taken on by Irish Landmark Trust, this lightkeeper’s house had been unoccupied for some time. The building was suffering badly from water ingress due to the harsh Atlantic climate, and some previous inappropriate repairs. The brief was to restore the original fabric of the house in a sensitive nature while adapting the building to accommodate modern living facilities without destroying the original character of the building. The emphasis was to restore rather than replace wherever possible, and endeavor to make interventions in an appropriate manner through the use of suitable building materials.
The first job was to make the structure watertight and introduce an adequate level of ventilation into the building. The building was re-roofed in a natural slate and all lead flashings were renewed. The original cast iron gutters were cleaned down, repaired and missing sections were replaced with specially cast sections to match the existing profiles. The two previously dismantled chimney-stacks on the gable walls were re-built according to the original construction drawings.
Most of the original doors and skirting boards and other internal fittings were intact and salvaged despite the damp conditions within the building. The original timber built-in cupboards were restored and used as a template for any new storage or kitchen units. All the original timber sash windows were carefully repaired, draught-proofed and restored to full working order.
There were originally only two windows on the south face of the building looking towards the sea. It was decided to avail of the southern sea views by introducing two modern loop windows to both the kitchen and living room on the ground floor. These loop windows are purposely very different to the existing windows with their modern clean lines, lack of glazing bars and storm glazing providing added protection against the harsh weather of the Atlantic Ocean. The size of the loop window on the outside is quite small, retaining the defensive inward looking nature of the house, while on the inner face the walls splay dramatically capturing both the natural light and views across to Kerry Head.
The interiors of these idiosyncratic lightkeeper buildings demanded a slightly different approach to that adopted at other Irish Landmark properties. The buildings are modest and vernacular in character with a functional approach to design, and they had been inhabited almost continuously and until recently, so there was eclectic and mixed evidence of previous interior design history.
Often, fragments of colour surviving in Irish Landmark houses provide the key to new design schemes. At Loop, apart from the blue and yellow combination on the stairs, there was very little evidence of older paints and pigment. Whites and off-whites seemed to have been used predominantly. During redecoration, a similarly muted palette was chosen for the walls and woodwork, with a black finish to the floors (of which we did find evidence). Strong colour was introduced through the fittings and furnishings – cherry rugs, aquamarine slip covers, and maritime port and starboard lights. The distinctive dark green exterior doors and bright lighthouse red gates were retained – the standard colour scheme of Commissioners of Irish Lights.
The original kitchen had been small with warrens of ancillary pantries and washrooms, so it was decided to open them into bigger rooms in which people could comfortably eat. The pine kitchen tables are from old houses while the sugán chairs are still made nearby in Kilrush, Co. Clare.
Most of the living rooms at our lightkeepers’ houses have either an open fire or stove as they would, historically, have had. The living room at Loop is furnished in a comfortable style with a Victorian sofa and armchairs. Rugs and upholstery fabric are used to introduce colour, and there are also plenty of books, both old and new in the property. All the original shutters were restored or replaced so eliminating the need for curtains, which would have detracted from the fine timber and joinery of the windows, many of which are the 150-year-old originals. Period light fittings and lamps add to the ambience of the reception rooms.
From ‘Sea Lights’ to Lighthouse
“When the first primitive man hollowed out the first log to make the first primitive canoe, or bound logs together to make the first primitive raft, he ventured off-shore in search of food and trade. In doing so he discovered that, sometimes, wind, weather and tide made return to shore impossible before nightfall. Returning with daylight he had the crude towers and totems, set up by his friends on beach and headland, to guide him back. But, with the onset of night, a stygian darkness bandaged land and sea, making navigation impossible. And so the concept of the ‘sea-light’ was born. Fires were lit along the shore, and kept burning through the night to guide the voyager home.
From such primitive beginnings evolved the lighthouse system of today; a highly sophisticated branch of engineering, involving many sciences – architecture, radio, electronics, optics, oceanography and acoustics ……..
….. It was all very well steering by the stars, when one could see the stars. But when cloud and fog obliterated them, the pioneer navigator was sailing blind, and without any intimation of hazard, was suddenly in white water, inexorably driving onto rock. The lighthouse then, even in its most primitive form, was undoubtedly the greatest blessing ever for mariners…..”
(Bill Long, “Bright Light, White Water” 1993)
Sleeping 5 people in 1 Double Room, 1 Twin Room and 1 Single Room. Loop Head Lightkeeper’s House is currently part of our “3 for the price of 2″ Special Offer for September, October and November 2019. For more information along with Terms and Conditions head over to our Special Offer Page here > https://www.irishlandmark.com/special-offers/
Annes Grove Miniature Castle – Sleeps up to 2 people. Adults Only.
A miniature medieval castle, Annes Grove Gatelodge was designed in 1853 to impress visitors to the main house – Annesgrove House and Gardens. Built in Gothic style, with the building being a medieval castle in miniature. Annes Grove was designed by Benjamin Woodward, of the distinguished firm of architects Deane and Woodward in 1849. Since Woodward designed only two gatelodges of this type, it is of some architectural importance. The lodge, prior to restoration, had not been lived in since the 1940s.
The origins of the Annes Grove estate can be traced back to the early seventeenth century when William Grove expanded his family’s landholdings in 1628 by purchasing lands including the townland of Ballyhimock. A house is known to have been erected in the eighteenth century, possibly by Robert Grove JP (d. 1764) on the occasion of his marriage to Mary Ryland (d. 1758) and was visited by Arthur Young (1741-1820), the noted agriculturalist and writer, in the 1770s. Samuel Lewis, however, describes Anne’s Grove in 1837 as ‘the elegant seat of Lieutenant-General the Honorable Arthur Grove Annesley … a handsome mansion, recently built by the proprietor, on the verge of a precipitous cliff rising from the river Awbeg‘ (Lewis 1837 I, 312), confirming that the present country house was constructed or reconstructed for Lieutenant General Arthur Grove Annesley JP (1774-1849) following his inheritance of the estate from Mary Annesley (née Grove) (d. 1791), Countess Annesley. Previously titled Ballyhemmock after the adjoining townland, the house was allegedly renamed Annes Grove as a pun on the proprietor’s surname.
The lodge was constructed to the design of Benjamin Woodward (1816-1861) who was a partner in the prestigious firm, Dean & Woodward. The family was distantly related to Woodward, with whom Richard’s younger brother John, had trained.
Cited by Jeremy Williams as a variation on Woodward’s earlier gate house (1847) at University College Cork, and by Frederick O’Dwyer as remarkably similar to the gate house (1849) at Dromore Castle, County Limerick, the gate lodge adopts the appearance of a medieval castle in miniature form, the picturesque Gothic Revival theme in stark contrast to the sober Queen Anne Classicism of the nearby country house.
Despite its diminutive scale, the plan form is inventive and heightens the architectural interest of the composition. A two-stage square tower contains one room on each floor, the bedroom at first floor level accessed from the parlour at ground floor level by way of a battlemented polygonal stair turret: a separate staircase rises to the battlemented wall-walk spanning a deeply-rebated gateway.
Constructed in rough cut limestone, sheer limestone dressings frame the door and windows: also fashioned from limestone is the Annesley coat-of-arms. Cusped window openings define the principal apartments while faux defensive “gun loops” light the stair turret. Internally, the lime plastered walls are accentuated by yet more limestone dressings including a Tudor-arched chimneypiece.
Vacated in the 1940s, the gate lodge had deteriorated by the end of the twentieth century. When taken on by the Irish Landmark Trust in 1995, the gate lodge was considered to be structurally sound but in poor condition and required extensive restoration.
The restoration of the lodge was directed by Maura Shaffrey, of Shaffrey Associates. The philosophy behind the brief and that of Irish Landmark, echoed one which Maura had promoted and practiced throughout her career, and long before it had become popular or accepted in this country. Maura’s approach was strict on issues such as materials and finishes, insisting that only compatible materials should be used. Behind this ‘rule’ was a depth of knowledge and passion. Maura’s last article, before her untimely death, examined the future of the vernacular house and set out a practical and benign approach to ‘upgrading’, incorporating extensions, etc., as necessary.
The roof was repaired reusing the original slate where possible. The stone work on the wall-walk was repointed, as were the coping stones on the battlements, while the upper portion of the chimney stack was carefully rebuilt paying particular attention to maintaining the fine joints. The windows were also restored with lattice work reinstated and, where necessary, new frames installed. The restored bedroom on the first floor of the tower features a tooled limestone chimneypiece and a vaulted ceiling.
The gate lodge at Annes Grove is now a successful Irish Landmark Trust property and is particularly popular with couples seeking a romantic getaway.
It is situated at the junction of three quiet country roads and surrounded by mature beech trees, which cradle the property and stonewalls. Inside timber ceilings, wood floors, stone arches, and snug rooms make this property an idyllic setting for those looking for a romantic break.
1 Double Bedroom – Adults only – Electric Central Heating – Wood Burning Stove in Sitting Room – Microwave – Fridge – Towels and Linens provided – Hair Dryer – Iron and ironing board – Cooking Utensils and Equipment – Bathroom, with shower – Patio Area with patio furniture – Radio – Parking for 1 car – Welcomes 1 dog
Tullymurry House, Co. Down – Sleeps up to 8 people. Wellness Area included.
Tullymurry House is a lovely family sized country house situated in pretty gardens and surrounded by 52 acres of arable farmland that is primarily used for grazing dairy cattle. The house is listed grade B1 and a building is shown at this location on the 1834 OS 6” map but it does not share the same alignment as the present house. The house is shown in its present form and captioned “Tullymury House” on the 1859 OS map.
We know that the house was remodelled c. 1840 for John Marshall with the staircase configuration altered much later in 1890. However, the house is far older than this and appears to have been built in three stages. A local historian notes that the front wing of the house was built in the latter part of the C18th for the Weir family. Timbers in the roof are hand cut which would also indicate a late C18th date as machine joinery did not become widespread until the 1770’s.
The oldest part of the house is now the plant room for the heating. Originally Tullymurry Cottage, it is at least 350 years old and was probably built at the time of the ‘Settlement’ when many Scots came across from the UK mainland in search of a new living. The present kitchen and the downstairs bedroom were the next additions in around 1700. Behind the shutters in the downstairs bedroom are 2 large holes. These were for either end of a large wooden or metal bar that could be used to close the shutters securely and keep out any threat.
The front wing of the house was added in the late C18th, possibly around 1780 and is classically Georgian with its symmetrical 5 bay façade, central doorway and 12 pane sash windows. At this time Northern Ireland was prospering under the reign of George III and a number of Georgian houses were built in the area. The earliest known occupant of Tullymurry was a Dr Weir, the local doctor who held his surgery in the present kitchen.
In 1828 the house was acquired by John Marshall, a gentleman farmer, on his marriage to Charlotte Weir. John was the eldest son of Dr Hugh Marshall who lived at Annabane House, which is situated not far from Tullymurry.
John Marshall lived in Tullymurry for 38 years until 1866 during which time the house was often used as the local dispensary. The original shelves from which John dispensed pills and potions can still be seen in the kitchen to this day.
The 1862 valuation confirms that the property was occupied by Dr J Marshall and in the 1877 valuation, Tullymurry’s value increased from £20 to £23 on account of new outbuildings being erected.
After John Marshall’s death, the house passed to his sons Joseph and Robert but sadly over a 20 year period, the house fell into disrepair. The 1892 valuation reduces Tullymurry’s value to £15 on account of its dilapidated state. The Marshall family’s wealth was squandered and the family declared brankrupt forcing the estate into administration. The house and lands were divided up from one large farm into three smaller ones and Tullymurry House was put on the market. Joseph McMinn, the grandfather of the current owner, purchased the house in 1895 and in 1903 married the owner’s grandmother. They kindly allowed the widow of the late Mr Mashall to remain living at Tullymurry as she had no where else to go. She occupied the dining room and the pink bedroom until her death and the dining room table is her legacy. Tragically Joseph was killed when he fell from a horse drawn hay cart leaving his wife to raise 6 children. Their eldest son, also named Joseph, farmed Tullymurry until his death in 1988. At this point the house passed to Mary McMinn, Joseph’s sister who died in 2005 leaving the house to her other brother Malcom’s sons, Richard and Joseph McMinn. Jospeh stepped back from ownership of the property and to save the house, Richard embarked on an extensive restoration programme beginning in January 2012. The minimum intervention was used as it was important to retain all the unique character of the house. However, modern comforts such as central heating and mains water supply were felt to be essential! In the freezing winter of 2010/11, Richard recalls his bedroom being a chilly minus 5 degrees one morning before the introduction of central heating!
Work started on the house from the top downwards; the roof tiles were taken off and replaced but fortunately the roof timbers were found to be in excellent condition and original to the house. The sash windows were taken out, repaired and painted before being put back in place.
The house was riddled with woodworm so large areas of floorboards had to be replaced as necessary. The house was re-wired and re-plumbed with the important addition of central heating and extra bathrooms to cater for guests needs. A small area of kitchen units was added with plenty of modern appliances and a utility area just across the passage for any extra equipment.
As much of the existing decoration as possible was retained including the wood effect graining on many of the doors, shutters and skirting. Where wallpaper had to be replaced and painting carried out, traditional ranges from Farrow and Ball were used. Much of the furniture and pictures are C19th and were in the house before the restoration began. They were removed before work began and replaced when work was complete as close as possible to their original locations.
The house is now ready to face the next 200 years and has been given a new lease of life as a holiday home. Families will once again enjoy the comforts of this attractive house and continue to add to the evolving history of the property.
Tullymurry House is the ideal holiday house for groups, families and couples. Its historic and traditional Irish country house style and atmosphere with its modern facilities will welcome you into a holiday let you will surely remember. It has magnificent gardens where you can relax and forget the world around you. The house is surrounded by wonderful parklands overlooking the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. Not only are there opportunities to relax in the garden, but there is also the option to avail of the Wellness Area at this House.
Wellness Area :
Sleeping 8 people in 2 Double Rooms, 1 Twin Room and 2 Single Rooms. Tullymurry House is currently part of our “March Madness” Special Offer with 20% off new bookings for a stay in March 2019 (excluding St. Patrick’s Weekend).
Merrion Mews, Dublin City Centre – Sleeps up to 6 people
mews building at the rear of 63 Merrion Square is an integral part of one of the most
significant survivals of an 18th century Dublin town house within the classic Fitzwilliam/Merrion Square area of Dublin.
The garden is one of the few surviving gardens in Merrion Square; it is believed that there is only one other, at 71 Merrion Square, which, though beautiful, does not reflect a 19th Century style of gardening as does that at No.63.
The mews house, with its own garden and coach yard, survives complete with its stalls and coach house. While many mews properties survive, their almost universal loss of original fixtures, and their transformation into permanent modern residences, or restaurants, or panel-beating shops represents the disappearance of understanding of the integrity of the classic Dublin town house of the 18th century. There may be only one other example, in the immediate neighbourhood of Merrion Square, of a mews house surviving with its original fixtures and arrangements. The intact condition of the whole complex – house, garden, separate mews garden, mews house, and coach yard – is a remarkable and probably unique instance, within the definitive area of Georgian Dublin, of the survival of a building type on which the tradition of Dublin’s Georgian architecture was largely based
The coach house or mews building has altered very little since it was built in 1792/93. The ground floor accommodated the horses and coaches with the living quarters above. The timber horse stalls floored with brick sets and the stone cobbled coach house and front and back yards are still intact. The front and rear facades are brick with an early lime pointing which still survives. The high walls which enclose the front and rear yards are a mixture of Dublin limestone and brick with early timber gates which remain in situ.
The original layout of the mews building accommodated possibly as many as six horses in the stable room on the ground floor, in a combination of enclosed and open stalls. It appears that the bridle/tack room was also situated in this space. The front coach room would have held two coaches, one for formal use and the other for everyday use. A simple timber stair leads to the first floor which would have provided storage for the feed and bedding along with modest quarters for the coachman and his family.
Surviving evidence suggests that the bedding and feed were lifted up to the first floor of the mews building via a loft door which was placed centrally in the front facade of the building. This door was replaced with a casement window probably when the upper floor was converted solely to residential use. From here it was taken to the rear, larger, part of the building where it was stored. There were openings in the first floor above the stalls which allowed the feed to be dropped from above into the horse’s manger.
This feed and bedding, than to the living quarters which occupied only the front 2 rooms. When this larger rear area was partitioned and converted to provide accommodation, the walls and ceilings were lined with timber sheeting much of which still survives. This feed and bedding store was probably a single open space with brick walls which were left exposed. Greater space was given to the horses feed and bedding, than to the living quarters which occupied only the front 2 rooms. When this larger rear area was partitioned and converted to provide accommodation, the walls and ceilings were lined with timber sheeting much of which still survives.
Other modifications included replacing some of the windows in the mid C19th, further partitioning and inserting a 1950’s style fireplace. Otherwise the building is an incredible, and relatively unaltered, survival of a vanished way of life.
There is almost a complete history of 63 Merrion Square and its many and varied owners from 1787 to the end of the 1930’s. The story of this house began on the 3rd January 1787, when Richard, Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion demised to Joseph Sandwith, merchant, “All that Lott or Piece of ground situate on the South West side of a new intended square to be laid out and to be called Merrion Square in the suburbs of the city of Dublin…”
It was forbidden to use the house as a shop or tavern or to carry on business as a “chandler, soapboiler, baker, butcher, distiller, sugar-baker, brewer, druggist, apothecary, tanner, skinner, limeburner, hatter, silversmith, coppersmith, pewterer, blacksmith, or any other offensive or noisy trade.” A penalty of £20 per annum was to be imposed if the house was not built within 5 years and additional £40 per annum imposed if any of the trades listed was carried out in the house
In 1791 Joseph Sandwith sub-leased the plot for 144 years to William Shannon at an annual rent of £24. Shannon subsequently mortgaged the plot and “house now building” for £800 to William Cooley. Finally in 1793 the house was completed, and on the 18th November, William Shannon mortgaged it again for £800 to Robert Shaw. He mortgaged it again for the third time on 1st May 1794 and was ultimately declared bankrupt on the 19th November 1794.
By 1808 the house had been bought for £4,000 by the Hon. Mr Justice Fox. Luke Fox was called to the bar in 1784 and was “the first supporter of the Union to be raised to the Bench…”
In 1875 and another four owners later, the house was taken by Mrs Payne-Townshend of Derry, County Cork in order to launch her daughters in society. She was an immediate success but her daughters received only unsuitable offers. This was the world which George Moore drew so vividly in “A Drama in Muslin”. He describes Merrion Square at this time as: “Melancholy Merrion Square! Broken pavements, unpainted hall-doors, rusty area railings, meager outside cars hidden almost out of sight in the deep gutters…”
The eldest daughter eventually returned to London where she joined the Fabian Society. There she met and married George Bernard Shaw. It is interesting to note that while Charlotte Payne-Townshend was living as a debutante in this house, her future husband was working as a clerk in an office in Molesworth Street.
In 1917 the house was sold to the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland for £500, and the property was sub-divided. The coach house and stables were listed as a separate property with a rateable value of £12. William Latimer is listed as the occupier of the coach house. The interior of the main house was sub-divided and the top floor turned into a flat which was occupied by various tenants. There are records of all these tenants until the end of the 1930’s at which time the directories stop listing them.
Sleeps up to 6 people, Merrion Mews is the perfect location within Dublin City Centre. The spacious accommodation has a living area which overlooks the stable yard, while two of the bedrooms look back towards the main house, which has one of the few remaining gardens in Merrion Square.
3 Double Bedrooms – Gas Fired Central Heating – Wood Burning Stove – Electric Oven – Microwave – Dishwasher – Washing Machine – Fridge/Freezer – Towels and lines Provided – Travel cot/crib for infants (under 2 years), on request – Hair Dryer – Iron & Ironing Board – Cooking Utensils and Equipment – 1 Bathroom with bath tub – 1 Separate Shower Room (ensuite of one of the bedrooms) – Sitting Room – Kitchen/Dining Area – Courtyard area with Garden Furniture – Radio – WiFi with limited range – Located above stables – Car parking for 1 car only
Drum Gatelodge, Co. Antrim– Sleeps up to 2 people
Drum Gatelodge – so named because of its shape – is located just outside the town of Bushmills. It is a very eye-catching dwelling with gothic windows and a distinctive castellated parapet. Over the front door a tiny bull’s eye window lights the landing, to which the stairs wind up from beside the point where the original open fireplace was situated (now replaced by a wood-burning stove). The circular theme is repeated in the piers and iron gates.
Drum Gatelodge was built at the end of a long avenue of beech trees at the western edge of the Ballylough Estate in 1800, by Archdeacon Traill two years after he bought the estate. His family are still in residence. No records are yet available for the occupants of The Drum before 1898, when one Lizzie Taggart and her husband came to live there.
Archdeacon Traill, whose family still own the estate, built the Drum Gatelodge (also known as Ballylough West Lodge) at the end of a long avenue of beech trees at the western entrance to the Ballylough Estate in 1800. The Lodge was tiny, with two rooms linked by a stone staircase. It was a dwelling with no running water, an outside two-holer and you pumped your own water from the well on the opposite side of the avenue.
It was always lived in by estate workers, but there are no records of the occupants prior to 1898 when Lizzie Taggart and her husband came to live there. Both of the Taggarts were employed on the estate, he as a farm labourer, and she as the ‘hen girl’ looking after the geese, ducks and hens. Mr. Taggart died sometime between 1910–1922 leaving Lizzie with a family of two daughters, named Elizabeth and Martha, and a son called Joseph. Elizabeth married a Mr. Callaghan and went to live in nearby Castlecatt, where they had a family of four sons and a daughter. Martha moved to Cloughmills and married Mr. White, a farmer. Robbie (Robert), one of her children, was sent back to be reared by his grandmother at the lodge. He was sent to the local school at Ballylough, became a bus driver, and lived at the lodge with his grandmother until her death in 1962. Robbie then came to live in Bushmills, where he set up a small business in the Main Street, and died in his 70s.
Lizzie’s son, Joseph, joined the Army at the outbreak of the First World War served in France, and married on his return. He was employed by local farmers and latterly worked with a local coal delivery firm. Joseph had two children, Joseph and Margaret. Joseph (junior) worked locally in Coleraine until the outbreak of the World War Two when he joined the Army. He was stationed in Scotland where he met and married a local girl. He is still living in Scotland after 63 years – he and his wife are now in their mid 80s. Margaret worked in local factories as a seamstress, married Edward Crawford and had a family of four.
Lizzie Taggart herself was quite a character. Lizzie’s tenancy was from 1898 to 1962, and reports of her housekeeping show the great changes in domestic habits throughout her married life, as well as resourcefulness in bringing up a family in such a small space. She cooked on an open peat fire with a crook and hooks and a griddle, and made soda bread and potato cakes daily. While at the lodge, Lizzie also kept her own hens, two goats and a collie dog. She sold her eggs to the grocery van or cart, so paying for her own groceries. She was also responsible for opening and closing the back gates for tradesmen, and if she didn’t like you, she just wouldn’t open them – all in all quite a character. After Lizzie’s death in 1962, the Lodge became vacant, and has remained unoccupied since.
Drum Gatelodge is a unique and pretty two storey gatelodge available to rent as self-catering accommodation for up to 2 people and 1 pet. It is situated on a quiet country road – and its rustic setting makes it an ideal romantic retreat from the stresses of everyday life.
1 Double Bedroom – Gas Fired Central Heating – Underfloor Heating – Peat briquette burning stove – Electric Oven – Microwave – Fridge – Towels & Linens Provided – Travel cot/crib for infants (under 2 years), on request – Iron & Ironing Board – Cooking Utensils and Equipment – 1 Bathroom with Bath Tub – Sitting Room – Garden and Garden Furniture – Patio area – Countryside setting – Car Parking
Sleeping 2 people in 1 double Room and welcomes 1 dog. Drum Gatelodge is currently part of our “Gate Escape” Special Offer with 10% off new bookings for a stay in January, February or March stays (excluding Bank Holiday or St. Patrick’s Weekend).
Salterbridge Gatelodge, Co. Waterford – Sleeps up to 2 people
Salterbridge Gatelodge, located in the glorious Blackwater valley, dates from the mid-19th century. Situated on the Salterbridge estate, on the valley road a mile from the charming village of Cappoquin, the lodge is only 6 miles from the Heritage Town of Lismore, about 10 miles from the sea at Youghal and Dungarvan, and at the foot of the Knockmealdown Mountains.
This tiny pavilion gatelodge was built around 1849 by the Chearnley family who owned the estate from the mid-18th century until the 1950s. Its function, like all gatelodges, was to indicate to the passer-by the good standing and taste of the original owner, and to showcase some of the features of the original architect’s work, re-interpreted from the big house.
It is a building of fine ashlar stonework and of charming classical proportions. The lodge was occupied up until the early part of the 20th century and after this it fell into ruin. When Irish Landmark Trust took it on as a restoration project in 1999 the building was roofless, windowless, overgrown and a section of the back wall had collapsed. A considerable amount of repair to the stone was required. Its long exposure to the weather and, in places, original incorrect bedding of the stone, had resulted in loss of some of the decorative surface of the ashlar blocks.
Fallen facing sections from the surrounding overgrowth were salvaged and re-instated. Three pieces of new stone were required in total and this stone was obtained from small loose blocks in the disused quarry at Lismore Castle – a possible source of the original.
The symmetrical layout of the original lodge was retained with a small extension formed to the rear (which had always projected slightly) – the new extension being equal in dimension to the side bays to either side of it. Thus the fine proportions of the building are maintained. The extension has been finished externally
with a lined, lime render – sufficient supply of matching stone was not easily available. However, the render allows the ‘new’ to be read against the original. Internal walls and ceilings throughout are finished with lime plasters and paints and, with a fine quality of natural light in all rooms, this provides a healthy and pleasing atmosphere throughout.
The carefully crafted work of the masons, joiners, plasterers and other tradespeople involved, brought this formerly ruinous and vulnerable building back to health and restored it to use.
The lodge is simply furnished in an elegant Victorian style, using a muted palette throughout and in historic colours in a raw pigment limewash. The principal rooms are furnished in a vernacular style, using mahogany pieces.
The original entrance hall, now designated as “the Garden Room” is apple green, with a round table. The bedroom is painted off-white, and has an early Victorian mahogany double bed with barley twist ends and a traditional handwoven carpet in crimson. The wardrobe, chest of drawers and lockers are plain early Victorian. The shutters have been re-instated in the windows, with holland blinds added. The sitting room is pale yellow, with a handwoven carpet in gold and ochre. The bathroom is finished in white, and there are timber floors throughout, except for the flagged hall. The kitchen is fitted with an oak table, and traditional sugán chairs, a traditional dresser, timber counter tops and a Belfast sink. The fittings are blue-green.
Sleeping 2 people in 1 double Room and welcome 1 dog. Salterbridge Gatelodge is currently part of our “Gate Escape” Special Offer with 10% off new bookings for a stay in January, February or March stays (excluding Bank Holiday or St. Patrick’s Weekend).
Ballealy Cottage, Co. Antrim – Sleeps up to 5 people
Ballealy Cottage is situated on Shane’s Castle Estate, in County Antrim. Built from local blackstone in around 1835 for the estate deerkeeper, it is said to be modelled in miniature on the lodge of the Windsor forest ranger, possibly by Richard Morrison. It is set in woodland, by a stream at the end of a long lane, and has a fairytale appearance of irregular gables, ornate bargeboards and octagonal chimneys.
Built around a tiny central courtyard, the main part of the building is two storey, and the design is irregular, giving rise to a series of gables and half-hipped roofs, further broken up by bays which are set forward and topped by half-hipped gables. The bargeboard is a heavily moulded design, with trefoils cut out of semicircles, and bold horned curls at the lower ends. The restoration retained many of its original features, including original fireplaces, a solid fuel fired laundry, and the cobbles in one of the rooms which was formerly a store.
A philosophy of repair rather than replacement of damaged elements was followed. Tiny paint remnants were matched when decorating and salvaged items were reused wherever possible. The outbuildings include a Venison Store, which also received some work to prevent further deterioration.
Located close to the shores of Lough Neagh, Ballealy Cottage is a nature lover’s paradise. With a wonderful wildlife garden and surroundings to explore this property is ideal for people who want to escape from the hustle and bustle life. Guests have reported sightings of deers, foxes, bats, owls and rabbits roaming through the beautiful wildlife garden surrounded by woodland.
With zero light pollution Ballealy Cottage is perfect for star gazing and watching the resident bat colony returning to roost in the evenings. The Ballealy Cottage colony mainly consist of soprano pipistrelles P.pygmaeus, common pipistrelles P.pipistrellus and the possibility of visiting early Leisler’s N. leisleri.
In March, female bats begin to form maternity colonies and roost collectively. In the months from May to August each female bat may give birth to a single baby bat, called a pup. The pups are cared for in a nursery colony until they are able to fly at 4 weeks and are weaned at 6 weeks. Throughout the spring, summer and autumn months, bats emerge at night to forage for their insect prey. During autumn, they must seek to store enough body fat to sustain them through the winter, a time when insect abundance is markedly reduced. From the month of September, bats in Ireland enter a state of hibernation or they may migrate. They are prompted to enter hibernation by changing day length, which stimulates hormonal changes.
Ballealy Cottage currently has 25% off discount on new bookings for a stay in January or February 2019 and with blankets of Snowdrops currently on display, now is a perfect time to visit. Click here > Ballealy Cottage
Special Notes: Please note that the lane on the way to Ballealy Cottage is a long and very narrow country lane with a number of farm gates that you will have to go through.