Friday, 21 June 2013

Rossmore Castle, Co. Monaghan

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that a good number of the featured houses and castles no longer exist. Some have been demolished, some burned deliberately, while others have simply been victims of neglect. So when finding a country house that you did not know had existed there is always that initial sense of awe and excitement, tinged with a little sadness. This unfortunately was the case with this week's featured entry, Rossmore Castle. To be honest I was completely unfamiliar with it, and came across it by chance when looking for images of the more well-known Castle Leslie. It was a pleasant surprise though. The beautiful castle was situated on the outskirts of Monaghan Town. The castle seen below was built in two stages, and both date from the nineteenth century. Rossmore was built for Warner Westenra (1765-1842), the second baron Rossmore. The Westerna's, whose lineage was Dutch, had inherited the title upon the death of the first baron, Robert Cunninghame (d. 1801). The house continued as the principle residence of the Westernas until the 1950s, when dry rot eventually forced the family to relocate to another property within the grounds. The house was ultimately doomed, being demolished in 1974. 

Lord Rossmore commissioned William Vitruvius Morrison to erect a new home. Morrison might be familiar to readers of this blog, having designed both Glenarm Castle and Templemore Abbey. Work commenced in 1829, with Tudor Gothic the chosen style. Much of this earliest house can be seen on the  left of the picture above, in the form of the large square turreted tower and adjoining wing. Significant additions were made in the 1850s, this time in the Scots baronial style, making it one of the largest country houses in the lakeland counties. 

While the quality of this image is not perfect it really does illustrate the size of the castle well. It also shows more clearly the two buiulding stages, with the ealrier Tudor style house on the left, and the Scots baronial wing to the right. 

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