COLEBROOKE PARK, in County Fermanagh, is located close to the village of Brookeborough.
Colebrooke House, a rather austere Classical mansion, was built in 1825 by William Farrell under the auspices of Sir Henry Brooke, 1st Baronet (of 2nd creation).
Colebrooke has a two storey, nine bay front; with a pedimented portico of four giant Ionic columns; an irregular three storey side; and an eaved roof.
The house is constructed with cut-stone with a sprinkling of red sandstone ashlars which gives the elevation a particularly agreeable tinge.
There is a substantial entrance hall, with a double staircase to the rear. The drawing-room has the original white and gold damask wallpaper; while the sitting-room boasts 19th century arabesques.
The dining-room is stately; described by the first prime minister of Northern Ireland, Sir James Craig, later 1st Viscount Craigavon, as "Golgotha" owing to the numerous deer skulls lining the walls.
Colebrooke House stood empty for a period during the 1970s, following the death of Basil Stanlake Brooke, 1st Viscount Brookeborough and 5th Baronet. (1888–1973)
The 2nd Viscount preferred to reside at the dower house, Ashbrooke.
The 3rd and present Viscount has admirably transformed Colebrooke into a country estate fit for the 21st century. The great house thrives once more, having been largely restored and re-furnished.
A fuller history of Colebrooke, as told by Lord Brookeborough, can be viewed here.
The history of the Brooke family is publicly available in the Brookeborough Papers.
Illustrious members of the Brooke family have included Field-Marshal the Viscount Alanbrooke and the 1st Viscount Brookeborough, second Prime Minister of Northern Ireland.
In Colebrooke parish church hang the banners of the Orders of the Garter and the Bath: Lord Alanbrooke was appointed to both of these Orders; and the 1st Viscount Brookeborough to the Garter.
The present estate extends to about 1,100 acres.
Colebrooke Park is a fine demesne, the nucleus of which is the mansion which lies in a declivity in undulating ground.
It is approached via an oak avenue and surrounded by parkland, with mature trees. There are blocks of mature woodland throughout the demesne.
The Colebrooke River meanders through the parkland, which adds to the pleasant landscape. One feature is a classical iron bridge. The Park Bridge of about 1830 is functional and attractive.
A sunken garden on the west side of the house was added in the 1920s and the ‘Cottage Garden’, a woodland walk near the river and planted with shrubs has been developed since that time.
The walled garden of 1830 is not planted up but contains a very fine iron-framed glasshouse by Turner, built in 1834, with additions in 1835 and 1837.
There are many fine listed demesne buildings, including a triumphal arch and two gate lodges by Farrell.
The demesne includes Ashbrooke, the dower house, which has a surrounding maintained ornamental garden.
First published in January, 2010.