Mount Ievers Court
The lvers family arrived in Ireland in the 17th century where Henry Ivers was appointed Collector of Revenue for Counties Clare and Galway in 1643. Further lucrative positions followed after the Restoration and, in 1680, Thomas Dinely estimated his income at £2,600 a year, which allowed him to amass a considerable fortune and some 12,000 acres before his death in 1691. Henry lived in a tower house, shown in Dinely’s drawing, which he may actually have built since a chimneypiece reused in the house carries the date 1648.
His eldest son was disinherited for marrying “a person of noe fortune” and the estate was inherited by the second son, Colonel Thomas, M.P. for County Clare who changed the family name to Ievers. Henry’s grandson, another Henry, inherited in 1731. Within two years he had begun the construction of a new house, Mount Ievers Court, completed in 1738 at a cost of £1,478 7s. 9d., plus the value of two horses, two mules and various other expenses.
Built of red brick, which became fashionable for Irish country houses in the 1730s and has faded to a wonderful rose pink, the plan derives from Inigo Jones’s Chevening in Kent, although the facades are both simpler and more accomplished, diminishing subtly as they rise to the bold cornice.
There are two formal fronts; the south front is of cut limestone and the north, originally the entrance front, of brick “exquisitely disciplined by the limestone of coigns, strings and cornice”. The builder, John Rothery, who hailed from a prominent family of architects and builders in Counties Limerick and Cork, died during construction. In the words of the architectural historian Maurice Craig, “superlatives have been used about out this house, and with good reason” though he also admits that the building was not in the forefront of fashion since “in style and spirit there is nothing about it which could not be of 1710,” an impression heightened by the combination of heavy glazing bars, small panes and sashes four panes wide.
Set above a high basement the interior is plain but grand, with a profusion of plaster panelling, elaborate cornices, simple compartmented ceilings, unusually generous doors with robust joinery, and a splendidly carved staircase with alternating barley-sugar and fluted balusters.
The topmost floor contains a long, barrel-vaulted gallery which stretches across the full length of the building, a feature of other Rothery houses such as the long-demolished Bowen’s Court, where it was used for dancing and exercise on wet days.
A naif painting, used as an overmantel in one ground floor room, shows a faithful reproduction of the present garden front with a splendidly baroque double-curved perron, instead of the present arrangement of steps, all set in an elaborate formal layout that has either largely disappeared or may never have been fully completed.
The Ievers family’s prominence in local affairs faded over the years and much of the estate was lost in the 19th and 20th centuries before the house was sold to a cousin in 1939. Returning at the end of World War II in 1945, after his retirement from the R.A.F., Squadron Leader Norman Ievers was able to repurchase the house from his cousin’s daughter and set about a sympathetic and sensitive restoration with his wife. Today the house is owned by their son Norman, together with his wife and family.
Address & ContactMount Ievers Court, Sixmilebridge, Clare
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