Thursday, 29 March 2018

Finnebrogue Visit

photo credit: © Finnebrogue House

Two years ago, almost to the very day, I was invited to see Finnebrogue House.

The owner knew of my interest in heritage and country houses and I'd already written about Finnebrogue prior to its admirable restoration.

Finnebrogue located in a beautiful part of the County Down countryside, close to the river Quoile, near Downpatrick.

Main gate lodge ca 1900

The main entrance lodge of ca 1888 is built of red brick and is a fairly substantial building.

My main article about Finnebrogue can be seen here.


Old gate piers stand isolated in the garden of this lodge, adjacent to the main road.


J A K Dean, in his indispensable gazetteer, The Gate Lodges of Ulster, describes them thus:-
Square in section, the big dressed sandstone pillars with plinths and full entablatures have breakfronts or pilasters on three faces, one forming a gate stop.
Driving slowly up the main drive, the big house emerges to one's right, slightly elevated on a slope.

Its surrounding demesne was the focus of an extensive late 17th century and early 18th century geometrically designed landscape.

This layout was focussed upon the house, which has a north-south axis view to Down Cathedral and Inch Parish Church.

A series of symmetrical enclosures, comprising courts, gardens and orchards, would have surrounded the building, including an entrance court on the north side.

The formal geometric layout was replaced by the present ‘naturalistic’ landscape park in the late 18th century.

Finnebrogue House was built in 1660 and is reputed to be the oldest inhabited private residence in Northern Ireland.

It is built on an "H"-plan: a long, central block with wings projecting at the front and back.

It comprises two storeys over a basement, and the wings have attic storeys.

The interior dates mainly from 1795.

The owner gave me a complete tour of the house, which has been sympathetically and fully restored; including the old wooden flooring.

photo credit: © Finnebrogue House

One striking feature is the colourful skylight above the main staircase which has several county family coats-of-arms; and the quartered armorial bearings of the Perceval-Maxwells, complete with supporters and crest.

photo credit: © Finnebrogue House

Finnebrogue remains a private house; it is, however, available for selected corporate & charity events by prior arrangement.

Its period architecture also makes it suitable as a location for film and television.

First published in March, 2016.

No comments :