Described by Casey and Rowan in “The Buildings of Ireland, North Leinster” (1993) as ‘perhaps the most unusual building of the 18th century anywhere in Ireland’, Castlecor House in County Longford nestles in the hidden heartlands of Ireland’s Ancient East.
Built as an octagonal hunting lodge in the 1700s and added to in both the 19th and 20th centuries, it now stands on 12 acres and is approached by a 300m long avenue. The grounds include a Victorian walled garden with pond, native woodland, lawn tennis court and terraced terrain to the ancient Castle Motte Ruins, located at the site of Castlecore.
Castlecor’s strikingly original octagonal Great Hall forms the central part of the house and has an extraordinary central chimneypiece (on square-plan) with marble fireplaces on its four faces, framed by Corinthian columns supporting richly-detailed marble entablatures. The fireplaces themselves are delicately detailed with egg-and-dart mouldings. Neo-Egyptian artwork decorates the surrounding walls, possibly inspired by illustrations in Owen Jones’ book ‘Decoration’, published in 1856. The four wings adjoining the original octagonal hunting lodge align with the four cardinal compass points.
Castlecor House was built by the Very Revd. Cutts Harman, Dean of Waterford Cathedral from 1759. He died without issue and the estate passed to his niece’s son, Laurence Harman-Harman, later Lord Oxmantown and finally Earl of Rosse.
Captain Thomas Husse, High Sheriff of Longford, purchased Castlecor in around I820 and completed the first addition to house in 1855. Just a year later, Castlecor and 268 acres of land were sold to one David Dunlop Urquhart of Fair Hill, Lanarkshire, Scotland. In 1858, Thomas Bond Esq of Edgeworthstown became the owner and Castlecor subsequently passed through three generations to his granddaughter, Emily Constance Smyth Bond. She and her husband Captain Charles James Clerk had the second large addition to the house built in 1913.
During the War of Independence, the couple moved to Surrey and the contents of Castlecor were auctioned in September 1921. The house itself was sold a local family not long afterwards and then again in the mid-1940s to the Ladies of Mary from California who used it as the Order’s Rosary Convent for Novitiates (‘the Castlecorites’).
A trio of local farmers purchased the estate from the nuns in 1973, but the house lay vacant until 1977 when it was purchased by the Porter family who ran it as a nursing home for two generations until 2004. Thereafter it lay vacant again.
Since 2009, current owners Loretta Grogan and Brian Ginty have been lovingly restoring Castlecor and its grounds to their former glory, opening it to the public by appointment and also welcoming guests.
Address & ContactCastlecor House, Castlecore, Ballymahon, Longford, N39 A023
Houses and Garden
Individual House Visits
Groups by Arrangement
Individual Garden Visitors
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Castlecor is open to guests.
It is also open to visitors by arrangement only.