|Garden Front in 2013|
ISLE O'VALLA HOUSE is located to the south of the village of Strangford, County Down.
It lies within the townland of Cloghy, on the coastal Ardglass Road.
This is a tall, austere Georgian house with three bays, three storeys, quoins and a large fanlight above the front door.
|Southern elevation in 2013|
This property was originally built as a Charter School ca 1817.
Irish Charter Schools were operated by The Incorporated Society in Dublin for Promoting Protestant Schools in Ireland. The Charter Schools admitted only Roman Catholics, under the condition that they be educated as Protestants.
The first Charter School in Strangford was established some time after 1746, with a grant of £500 (about £86,000 in value today) from the Earl of Kildare (either the 1st Duke of Leinster or his father).The Dowager Countess of Kildare later donated 22 acres of land for the School.
The Charter School was rebuilt in 1817 at a reputed cost of £4,000, the equivalent of £267,000 in 2010.
|Eastern elevation in 2013|
When the Charter was rescinded in 1832, the property was most likely given back to the Kildare estate.
It was leased to the Rev Samuel Livingstone, who began his own school for local children.
When the School closed, Isle O'Valla House became the residence of Captain the Hon Somerset Ward JP, fifth son of the 3rd Viscount Bangor.
In 1910, Isle O'Valla was acquired by the family of McCausland, of Downpatrick, hoteliers.
Frank McCausland lived and farmed at Isle O'Valla House.
Following Mr McCausland's death, the property was bought by a family called Lowe.
Isle O'Valla House has been derelict and virtually ruinous for many years and, to my knowledge, has remained uninhabited for several decades.
Its future remains uncertain.
First published in July, 2011.