Ballysallagh House, in the hills north-east of Kilkenny City, is a charming smaller country house from the early Georgian period, confirmed by a date-stone of 1722 at the hall door. The facade is of five bays and two stories over a high basement, with a projecting single bay breakfront. Unlike most early houses, which are gable ended, Ballysallagh has a steeply pitched hipped roof with pronounced sprocketing, a fanlight with gothick glazing and a miniature lunette window in the pediment. The combination of an unspoiled early house with intact surroundings is rare in Ireland today.
The facade is reproduced in Maurice Craig in ‘Classic Irish Houses of the Middle Size’, where he draws our attention to a number of unusual details. These include a limestone plat-band in place of a cornice and gutters, typical of the Kilkenny area, while the end quoins are bolder and finer than those of the single-bay breakfront.
Internally, the tripartite plan is typical. The hall, stairs and landing are designed to enhance the grandeur of building, while the first floor landing utilises the full height of the space between the stacks. Despite this, Ballysallagh is built on a very pleasing and intimate scale, with delightful period details such as the built-in shoe cricket at the bottom of the stairs. The principal staircase is of wood, while the service stairs to the basement is built of local Kilkenny limestone. Ballysallagh is largely original, apart from some minor changes made to the entrance and staircase halls in 1810. These include a handsome internal fanlight and a matching glazed cabinet in the staircase hall.
The house passed from the Purcell family to the Byrne and Doyle families, until 1940 when it was sold for the first time. Kieran and Geralyn White bought Ballysallagh in 1987. They have restored it carefully and authentically, and furnished it with great taste.
Outside, they have laid out herbaceous borders, a herb garden, maple walk and folly and the unusually deep Georgian ha-ha allows the front lawn to blend seamlessly into the surrounding park, where there are many fine trees.
Address & ContactBallysallagh, Johnswell, Kilkenny
t: +353 87 290 6621
m: +353 86 232 2105
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