MAJOR ROBERT BLACKALL (d 1840) served in the Honourable East India Company.
His only son,
COLONEL SAMUEL WENSLEY BLACKALL (1809-71), was educated in 1824 at Trinity College Dublin, Lieutenant, 1827-33, in the 85th Regiment, High Sheriff of County Longford, 1833, major, the Royal Longford Militia; MP for Longford, 1847-5.
Colonel Blackall was Lieutenant-Governor of Dominica, 1851-57; High Sheriff of County Tyrone, 1861; Governor of Sierra Leone, 1862-65; Governor of the West African Settlements, 1865-68; Governor of Queensland, 1868-71.Adelaide was the daughter of Samuel Wensley Blackall and Catherine Bond, his wife.
She married Captain the Hon Ernest Grey Lambton Cochrane, son of the 10th Earl of Dundonald, in 1864, though died a few weeks later.
COOLAMBER MANOR, near Lisryan, County Longford, is said to be the finest country house of its era and type in County Longford.
It is built in a late-Georgian/Regency classical idiom, and retains its early form, character and the majority of its early fabric despite the construction of a number of modern extensions to the rear.
The giant order pilasters between the bays of the two main façades, along with the very prominent eaves cornice and blocking course, lend this building a distinctive appearance that is reminiscent of a contemporary seaside villa.
The giant pilasters add interest to the main façade, creating a stepped profile that gives this façade a robust but surprising delicate architectural character.
The full-height three-bay bow to the east elevation is another interesting architectural element that helps to add further visual impact when approaching the building along the main avenue, and creates an imposing and handsome silhouette in the landscape.
The plan of the house is quite unusual, with the stair hall to one side of the building (west), which is lit by an enormous round-headed window opening with tripartite timber sash windows.
The house also retains many notable features and materials that enhance the building, including timber sash windows and cut limestone steps with ornate cast-iron railings to the entrance.
Coolamber Manor was built to designs by the eminent architect John Hargrave, who worked extensively in County Longford during the 1820s.
The house was built for Colonel Samuel Wesley Blackall (1809-71), though may have replaced an earlier house associated with the Blackalls (Major Robert Blackall, 1764-1855, father of the above, lived in Longford in the late-18th century).
Cooamber later became the home of the Stanley family (Burroughs Stanley in 1894); and then the Wingfield family.
It was sold ca 1960 and was in use as a rehabilitation centre until recently.
Extending to 15,255 square feet, the manor house is a three-bay, two-storey over basement residence, built in the late Georgian/Regency period.
Adding to its distinctive appearance, the house retains many of its original features that include timber sash windows, cut limestone steps, and ornate cast-iron railings.
Accommodation comprises four reception rooms, a large commercial kitchen and bakery, two gyms, billiards-room, two shower rooms and fourteen bedrooms.
Accessed through an arch, the two cut stone courtyards have been well maintained over the years and are in excellent condition.
These have been fully converted to include four training rooms, a number of two-bedroom apartments, laundry room, stables, tack room, and some lofted stores.
Adjoining these is the farmyard which features a number of slatted and loose-bedded sheds, silage slabs, a disused dairy, and hay sheds.
There are also two other bungalow residences on the property, both of which have their own access.
The present estate includes good stables and 157 acres.
It stands on its original splendour, to the front of Coolamber Wood, adorned by landscaped lawns and gardens, and a well kept farmyard.
First published in October, 2012.