Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Donegall House


DONEGALL HOUSE was built in 1785.

It was located at the corner of Donegall Place and Donegall Square North, directly opposite the present Robinson & Cleaver building.
In 1611, the Jacobean Belfast Castle was built upon the site of the former Castle, bounded by what's now Castle Place, Cornmarket and Castle Lane. 
It was surrounded with spacious gardens which extended from the river along to Cromac Woods and near Stranmillis. 
It is curious to read of hunting, hawking and other sports in the woods and meadows where now we have long streets of premises. 
The gardens, shady walks, orchards, bowling greens and cherry gardens are all gone, and nothing remains of the fish ponds. The stately home, once the centre of hospitality and culture, is now only a memory. 
WILLIAM III was received here in 1690. 
In 1708, Belfast Castle was burned to the ground. 
Three of Lady Donegall's daughters were burnt to death, and two servants also perished. 
The Castle was never rebuilt, and Lord Donegall lived for a time in Donegall House at the corner of Donegall Place.
It wasn't until almost 100 years later that the Donegalls returned to live in Belfast.

From ca 1802-20, Donegall House was the residence of the 2nd Marquess and Marchioness of Donegall.

Lord Donegall rented the house from John Brown, a Belfast banker.


This large town house comprised three storeys, was stuccoed, and had a central pediment.

The gable end and a small side garden were enclosed at Donegall Square North.


In the image, taken from the White Linen Hall (predecessor of City Hall) , Donegall House is the first building on the left.

From ca 1820-98, the house became the Royal Hotel, under the auspices of Charles Kerns, Lord Donegall's former butler.

Prior to its demise, the hotel's proprietor was Miss Sarah Doyle.


Donegall House was swept away ca 1967 for the present seven-storey commercial building.

First published in November, 2013.

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