Sunday, 7 October 2018

Tír na nÓg

Neil Porteous

ON SATURDAY, 6TH OCTOBER, 2018, WE WERE TREATED TO A TOUR OF Tír na nÓg, THE BURIAL GROUND OF THE 7TH MARQUESS AND MARCHIONESS OF LONDONDERRY, AT THEIR ANCESTRAL SEAT, MOUNT STEWART, COUNTY DOWN. THE TOUR WAS LED BY THE HEAD GARDENER, NEIL PORTEOUS.

Entrance Gateway

Tír na nÓg, the Gaelic name for the mythical “Land of the Ever Young", was created as a private burial ground for the 7th Marquess and Marchioness of Londonderry and their family.

It stands at the top of a hill, overlooking the lake, and affords a splendid prospect of the landscape.

The style of the whole design seems to be a mixture of Arts & Crafts and Art Deco.



The layout comprises an oblong walled garden with two circular, conical-roofed towers.

The grounds are cruciform in shape, with the sarcophagi standing on each segment.

A square, two-storey pavilion with a pyramidal roof stands at the central axis.

Sarcophagus of the 9th Marquess (d 2012)

These hallowed grounds flourish with cypress, beech and walnut trees to the north and west, planted in 1923.


One of the corner pavilions contains a memorial to Lord Reginald Stewart (1879-99), the younger brother of the 7th Marquess, who suffered from multiple sclerosis (MS).

This pavilion has stained-glass windows.


The interior of the other pavilion is spiritual or ecclesiastical in demeanour, with religious mural plaques or tablets surrounding the walls, and a large granite bench for resting a coffin on prior to burial.

The turreted roof was renewed by the National Trust in 2017.

Edith Londonderry was inspired by a holy place in Istanbul to create the entrance gateway at the cross axis.

At each side of this gateway there are flanking niches, of azure mosaic, with statues of Saints Patrick and Brigid.

An almost identical entry is at the opposite side of the grounds.


The pavilions and walls were constructed by Joe Girvan, a local stonemason from the neighbouring village of Greyabbey.

Tír na nÓg truly is a special haven of great tranquillity, beauty and contemplation..

The Lady Mairi Bury, youngest daughter of the 7th Marquess and Marchioness, gave Tír na nÓg to the National Trust in 1986.

The 7th and 9th Marquesses are buried at Tír na nÓg.


The 7th Marquess left Mount Stewart, County Down, to his dear wife Edith for her lifetime (after which it went to their daughter, Lady Mairi).


Robin, who succeeded his father as 8th Marquess, inherited his beloved Wynyard Park, County Durham, which he preferred to Mount Stewart.

Sarcophagus of the 7th Marquess

The 8th Marquess was buried alongside his wife at Wynyard Park and both were later re-interred in the Londonderry family vault at St Mary's Church, Long Newton, County Durham.

1 comment :

Demetrius said...

Have been there, more to the point I have also been to Longnewton. County Durham it may be but along the road from the Border Towns of Scotland. You have only to cross The Blackadder River to come to Nisbet House in the ancestral homeland of the Nisbet and Nesbitt families who have given so much to our history. Cairncross Nesbitt comes to mind, Barrackmaster of Aughamore in the mid 18th Century.