Thursday, 3 October 2013

Castleboro House, Castleboro, Co. Wexford

Not far from the villages of Clonroche and Rathnure stands what was once one of Ireland's great country houses: Castleboro. Now little more than an abandoned, derelict shell, it symbolized the wealth and prosperity of Ireland's landed classes in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Its burning and subsequent abandonment in the early twentieth century in turn were, however, signs of the difficulties that many landed families would face from then on. Castleboro presently sits in a precarious position; abandoned and open to the elements, a fate shared by unfortunately far too many great Irish houses. 

Castleboro traces its history to the 1780s when a local landed family, the Carews, erected a considerably large Classical house. They had been land owners in counties Wexford and Waterford by this stage for over a century. Improvements were made to it c. 1819, but was ravaged by fire in 1839. By then Casteboro was the principle possession of Robert Carew, 1st Baron Carew. The Oxford educated Carew was a long serving MP for Wexford, serving also as lord lieutenant of County Wexford. Carew choose the architect, Daniel Robertson to complete his renovated house. Robertson had worked extensively in both England and Ireland, and had completed a number of houses in Ireland's south east when he was commissioned by Carew. The new house would be Palladian in style, partly incorporating the remains of the previous Castleboro House.  

The image above shows the characteristically Palladian style of Robertson's house. The central block contained elements of the burned house, but was enlarged, and given its Palladian appearence by the addition of the two storey wings on either side. The outstanding element of the central block was the Ionic porte cocheré. This portico (porch) allowed horse-drawn carriages to pass through so as the passengers would be protected from the weather when alighting. 

One of the greenhouses located at Castleboro. 

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