Castlecoote House

Long before its association with “celebrated Gunning Sisters,” the toast of 1750s London, Castlecoote was a place of some importance.  In the early seventeenth century the mediaeval castle, possibly built by the McGerraghty family from Fuerty to guard a strategic crossing over the River Suck, became an important base for the soldier and administrator Sir Charles Coote, Vice President of Connaught, who improved and refortified the defences and renamed it Castle Coote. The castle withstood three attacks by the Confederate forces during the Rebellion of 1641 before its owner was killed fighting near Trim in County Meath.

Coote, who had fought at the Battle of Kinsale in 1602, had a long and successful career. He became the first Irish baronet in 1621 and had amassed estates in five counties by the time of his death. During the late seventeenth century the castle fell into disrepair and a new dwelling was built within the wall. Due to the unsettled state of the country the building was also deigned for defence, with corner towers and pistol loops to protect the entrance.

In the early eighteenth century Castlecoote passed into the hands of the Gunning family, who allegedly won the estate at cards. Reputedly John Gunning’s beautiful daughters began their careers as actresses (then far from a respectable profession) and they stunned Society when the younger sister Elizabeth married the Duke of Hamilton. After his death she went on to marry the Duke of Argyll, was mother to four dukes and was enabled in her own right by George III. Meanwhile, her elder sister Maria married the Earl of Coventry. 

During the eighteenth century the 1680s house was remodelled in the Palladian style but, despite their powerful connections the Gunning family, returned to relative obscurity.

Castlecoote then changed hands with increasing frequency. By the early twentieth century the owner was a noted horseman, Henry D. Stevens, but the house was subsequently abandoned and fell into ruin.

In 1997, when bought by the present owner Kevin Finnerty, Castlecoote was a cavernous ruin, without floors, stairs or windows, while the internal walls were crumbling away. The basement was enveloped by earth, the front doorsteps had collapsed, and the surroundings were badly overgrown.

He began a lengthy period of restoration, which took five years to complete. Work included essential repairs to the structure, underpinning the foundations, consolidating the castle towers, re-roofing and more intricate work such as restoring the plaster ceilings, replacing the chimneypieces, the internal doors and other joinery, and completely redecorating the interior. 

Castlecoote House is attractively sited on the West bank of the River Suck just upstream from Castlecoote village and about five miles due west of Roscommon. The view from the house is framed by the ruined towers of the castle and the remains of an early mill and it can now be approached by a new bridge which leads directly to the front door.

Address & Contact

Castlecoote House, Castlecoote, Roscommon

t: +353 90 6663794

e: info@castlecootehouse.com

w: www.castlecootehouse.com

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