Monday, 15 February 2021

Fisherwick Lodge

FISHERWICK LODGE, near Doagh, County Antrim, was a hunting seat belonging to the Marquesses of Donegall.

The lodge was re-built about 1805 as a hollow square, with two single-storey fronts of nine bays each.

It has lofty windows which reach almost to the ground, and a pedimented wooden door-case, with fluted columns.

Although the present house is likely to date from the early years of the 19th century, its origins are in an 18th-century hunting lodge for the Donegall estate.

The current lodge was built by the 2nd Marquess (1769-1844).

Its name derives from the barony of Fisherwick, one of the family's subsidiary titles.

The Lodge was built in the midst of an extensive deer park, which covered "nearly all of six townlands", including Kilbride, Ballywee, Holestone, Douglasland, Ballyhamage and part of the parish of Donegore and the Grange of Doagh.

The 2nd Marquess, who had a reputation for extravagance, also laid out an artificial lake in front of the Lodge.

Deer were hunted by hounds in the Doagh district, and the improvements by the 2nd Marquess included the establishment of large kennels and extensive stabling.

In 1899, the kennels were associated with the establishment of a racecourse at Lisnalinchy, which continued to exist in part up until the late 1950s, retaining the name East Antrim Hounds, but have since been relocated to the Parkgate district.

The estate is described in an 1812 statistical survey by the Rev John Dubourdieu:
Close to [Doagh] is Fisherwick Lodge ... the building itself, which is very handsome, and the plantations, have much improved and enlivened the look of this well placed hamlet, which has, in addition, a good inn [Doagh or Farrell's Inn]".
The Ordnance Survey Memoir of 1838 describes the lodge thus:
An elegant and uniform structure in the Cottage style, forming with the offices a spacious quadrangular enclosure. It contains a regular suite of handsome apartments, and is constructed and finished in the most modern style.
Lord Belfast and his father, the 2nd Marquess, subsequently disentailed their estates, with the exception of Islandmagee.

It is recorded that the Donegall family took refuge at Fisherwick Lodge following the seizure in 1806 of the contents of their town residence in Belfast, Donegall House, by creditors.

Fisherwick Lodge was finally sold, in 1847, to John Molyneaux JP.

In 1894, Mr Molyneaux drained the artificial lake in front of the house.

The lodge has since been divided into two properties.

The south gate lodge was demolished ca 2000 and replaced with a modern dwelling.

First published in February, 2015.  Donegall arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

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