Monday, 7 June 2021

Hollymount Demesne

At Hollymount Church (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

The wonderful attraction of Ballydugan and Hollymount has drawn me back again to this special haven, situated deep in the luscious County Down countryside a few miles from Downpatrick.

From Downpatrick, drive past the racecourse, under the old railway bridge, and after a mile or so, veer right towards Ballydugan.

I was here exactly a week ago, though didn't find the remains of Hollymount House.

On my arrival at Ballydugan this morning there were several large television production lorries parked at Ballydugan Mill; classic 1960s cars were strategically parked at the Lakeside Inn and the Lake House (viz. an immaculate Ford Cortina 1600E, Austin Cambridge, Jaguar E Type, Ford Granada and some others).

Ballydugan Lake and the Lake House had, in fact, been transformed into a period film set for the television drama Dalgliesh.

THE LAKE HOUSE was transformed into an establishment called The Black Swan, with cast-iron tables and chairs on the lawn outside.

There were two police officers on traffic duty, both of whom I chatted to.

Hollymount House (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

I parked the car opposite the Lakeside Inn, and from there I walked for about twenty-five minutes to the lost demesne of Hollymount, deep in the woods.

The old Georgian mansion house is not easy to find, though it is adjacent to the main track.

Hollymount House (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

The remains of Hollymount are enveloped in ivy and undergrowth; even a few trees grow within the walls.

These are mature trees, perhaps ninety or one hundred years old.

Hollymount House (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

The walls appear to be largely intact, though there is abundant rubble on the ground within them.

I wandered about the former cellars, and some render or plaster remains.

Not far from the mansion was the walled garden, which I looked for; no trace of it, however, exists.

There was also a bowling-green not far from the mansion house.

Hollymount Chapel of Ease (Image: Down & Connor Church Accommodation society, 1839)

Having walked back to the car I drove a mile or so past the lake to Hollymount Church, built in 1840 and recently restored.

Intriguingly, a romantic engraving of about 1840 shows a stone wall and water close to the church; whereas today the main road passes that spot.

(Image: Down and Connor Church Accommodation Society, 1839)

The proprietor of the Lakeside Inn had left a note on my car, informing me that she had in her possession a history of Hollymount, should I wish to avail of it; so I do intend to pay a visit to the inn on an evening at some stage.

Click to Enlarge (Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

I had a flask of coffee and egg & onion sandwiches in the church grounds.

(Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)

In the church graveyard was the grave of CAPTAIN MICHAEL TORRENS-SPENCE DSO DSC AFC RN, of DRUMCULLEN HOUSE, Ballydugan, Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh, 1981-9.

(Image: Timothy Ferres, 2021)


Anonymous said...

Hi Tim. Great story - glad you found the ruins. In following your story about Hollymount I came across this wonderful app from PRONI. It allows you to view various old maps and even combine them with a modern aerial view.

Timothy Belmont said...

Anon, Many thanks for that information. I'm intending to find a fuller history of Hollymount quite soon.