M8062 : Castles of Connacht: Castlecoote, Roscommon (1 of 10)

taken 8 years ago, near to Castlecoote and Fuerty, Ireland

Castles of Connacht: Castlecoote, Roscommon (1 of 10)
Castles of Connacht: Castlecoote, Roscommon (1 of 10)
Castlecoote House is a magnificently restored Georgian mansion that was built on the site of a C16 Mageraghty clan fortress, with rooms from two original towers of a C17 star-shaped fort incorporated into the two projecting wings. Built to guard a strategic pass on the River Suck, it was subsequently refortified during the 1500s by Sir Nicholas Malby, Lord President of Connacht. It was then granted to Sir Charles Coote in 1616, who added additional defences that included flanking lookout towers.

The Confederate Wars of the mid-C17 saw the castle subjected to many ferocious battles in which both the castle and its original bridge approach over the River Suck were destroyed. Castlecoote House eventually rose from the ruins; built between 1690 and 1720, it was subsequently remodelled in the Palladian style by its new owners the Gunning family in the 1750s. Their two notable daughters, the celebrated and beautiful Gunning sisters Elizabeth and Maria, became respectively, the Duchess of Hamilton and Argyle, and the Countess of Coventry.

When the house was totally destroyed by fire in 1989 leaving just the outer walls standing, it stood derelict until 1997 when Kevin Finnerty the present owner purchased it. He spent the next ten years on a labour of love, a painstaking restoration project that was both breathtaking in its scale and attention to detail. On completion of the restoration of the house, yet another ambitious plan to reinstate the original entrance over the River Suck with a new bridge, was sadly aborted when costs spiralled*. Substantial remains of Sir Charles Coote's improved C17 fortifications still stand in the grounds of the house with the ruins of three of the four C17 lookout towers still standing, the two on the lawn in front of the house rising to over 40 feet in height. There is also a remnant extant of the destroyed medieval bridge over the River Suck, whilst in the basement of the house there are original gunloops and stone flagged floors within the old tower rooms.

Castlecoote House and Gardens are open to the public during the summer months on certain days, and I can thoroughly recommend a visit for the all-inclusive and fascinating guided tour by its owner, and the sumptuous cream tea in the Old Ballroom afterwards! LinkExternal link

*Update: since this description was written, I'm happy to report that the magnificent new bridge over the River Suck has since been completed.

M8062 : Castles of Connacht: Castlecoote, Roscommon - detail (2 of 10)
Creative Commons Licence [Some Rights Reserved]   © Copyright Mike Searle and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
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M8062, 10 images   (more nearby search)
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Date Taken
Saturday, 21 June, 2014   (more nearby)
Tuesday, 15 July, 2014
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Village, Rural settlement  Housing, Dwellings  Park and Public Gardens  People, Events  Defence, Military 
Subject Location
Irish: geotagged! M 8079 6297 [10m precision]
WGS84: 53:36.9834N 8:17.4607W
Camera Location
Irish: geotagged! M 8084 6297
View Direction
WEST (about 270 degrees)
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Other Tags
Castle  Fortified House  Georgian House 

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