Thursday, July 30, 2009

Woodlawn House, Co Galway

I have posted pictures of the Gatehouse (click here) before, this is Woodlawn Big House. It was built in the 1800's after Frederich Trench was rewarded with a peerage for voting in support of the 'Act of Union' 1800 where Ireland became part of Great Britain ( a boring fact is that the British flag was changed to reflect this and still has the Irish St. Patrick Cross) . Frederich Trench became Lord Ashtown ,The house was sold in the 1950's after the then Lord Ashtown was bankrupt, it was sold to the Le Poer Trench's, but was sold on again after one of them committed suicide on the grounds in 1978. It fell into disrepair with a lot of the fireplaces etc 'dissapearing', but it was sold recently and there are various rumours as to its plans for the future. Other bits of boring trivia is there are 365 windows in the house and its one of Irelands most "Haunted" houses.
I was not sure what this structure was as it looks like an observatory but could have be something else completely, a cold house etc.
See comment below from Nicola who is helping the Woodlawn Heritage group, its an Ice house
Comment from Chris thought it was nicer than reading the history "I was fortunate enought to spend a lot of time up at the house when i was younger. Im 27 now but all my family are from the area. Kellys from woodlawn and Quinns from nearby new inn. my uncle used to work there when he was just 17,(hes 70 now) for lord ashtown. He always had great stories, some admititdly a bit scarier than others, like the spot where the man was found hanging etc. As a youngster though this just added to the atmosphere. The house itself is beutifull up close, there are summer houses and gardens etc to the rear. There is also an old tennis court , lake and small footbridge , in their day they would have been lovely, but now stand earily silent and overgrown. As my uncle lived up the road from the owner maybe 15 years ago(i think i was 12ish and i think the owner was Lally at the time) he managed to obtain the keys, so me my uncle and a cousin made our way into the house, again my uncle telling stories of grand parties, big christmases etc. showing us galley kitchens wine stores and more. The best part being able to negotiate ourselfs on to the roof, the veiws were great but looking back we propably shouldnt have trusted the stair cases as they have seen better days. And yes it is as scary as you can imagine even on a bright july day"

41 comments:

Hilðe said...

Brr, what a cold atmosphere! It feels like the house doesn't belong there. :O

Leisha Camden said...

I think it's gorgeous. But it does have kind of a creepy feeling to it, I agree about that. It looks like a haunted house ... a beautiful haunted house. :-)

That domed thing definitely looks like an observatory. Would be so interesting to find out the history of that building.

Paz said...

supposed to one of Irelands most haunted, Castle Leslie has the most 'Ghosts' according to the shower of "Ghost hunters" on the TV. if I find out more I let ye know

Leisha Camden said...

Cool, do that. :-)

nicola said...

The egg-shaped thing is an ice house. I'm helping the Woodlawn heritage Group write a book about Woodlawn and would like to use some of your photos.

The draft entry for the ice-house reads"
In eighteenth century Ireland many large houses had their own ice houses which where kept away from the main building. Preserving food has been a big issue since pre-historic times and the ice house was the equivalent of the modern day refrigerator; providing a quality of life enjoyed by those who lived in Woodlawn House certainly as good as ours today.

The early ice houses were pyramid shaped whilst those later, like the one at Woodlawn, resembled a huge egg buried in the earth with widest part facing upwards.

A symbiotic relationship existed between the lake, a natural feature and the ice house; which was one of the technological advances of its age. The hole was lined with brick and packed with straw for insulation. Each year when the lake was frozen blocks of ice were cut from it and loaded into the ice house from the top. At the bottom was a drainage pipe which also contained a trap to keep away vermin. Food was then stored on shelving and in this way was able to be kept right through until the summer when the ice was used to cool drinks. For further insulation the ice house was covered with sods of soil which had the added benefit of blending it into the landscape.


Regards

Nicola

Paz said...

Suspected that it might be a a cold house, but thought that as it was on a hill might not be, though I did see the stream nearby.
You permission to use these and the photos of the gate house on the condition that I get credit for the pictures,as in irelandinpicture.net.
Also if you give me a link to the where the book can be gotten and a website that ye use I will post this on the page, or just give me details of where it can be purchased locally so I can buy it.

Anonymous said...

Hello,

Just has a quick look at your photos - beautiful, you are lucky your job brings you around the countryside. I work around old records in the East Galway area and particularly liked your marriage stone in Killimordaly.

Regards,

M

chris said...

great photos as someone said before. I was fortunate enought to spend a lot of time up at the house when i was younger. Im 27 now but all my family are from the area. Kellys from woodlawn and Quinns from nearby new inn. my uncle used to work there when he was just 17,(hes 70 now) for lord ashtown. He always had great stories, some admititdly a bit scarier than others, like the spot where the man was found hanging etc. As a youngster though this just added to the atmosphere. The house itself is beutifull up close, there are summer houses and gardens etc to the rear. There is also an old tennis court , lake and small footbridge , in their day they would have been lovely, but now stand earily silent and overgrown. As my uncle lived up the road from the owner maybe 15 years ago(i think i was 12ish and i think the owner was Lally at the time) he managed to obtain the keys, so me my uncle and a cousin made our way into the house, again my uncle telling stories of grand parties, big christmases etc. showing us galley kitchens wine stores and more. The best part being able to negotiate ourselfs on to the roof, the veiws were great but looking back we propably shouldnt have trusted the stair cases as they have seen better days. And yes it is as scary as you can imagine even on a bright july day,

thanks for the pictures, brought back great memories,

chris kelly

Paz said...

Thanks for the nice comment it has been added to the post, I live just over the road from here and know of the Kelly's and the Quinn's. I heard the some of the stories in Wards Ballyfa, but when you hear these in a pub its hard to take fact from fiction ;). Nice that you got into it I ventured that way but there is cctv installed now.

Sean from Boston said...

I just got back from Ireland where I stopped at the Woodlawn house. Unfortunately there is some scaffolding around the west wing, a secured fence with multiple video cameras being monitored via internet and people who actually yell at you if you get to close. I did manage to get some great photos of the outside, but would love to learn more about inside and even hear the stories about the houses past. Does anyone know an accurate history about the house or the ghost that haunt it? please email me at sodoucette@msn.com if you do. Thank you!

Paz said...

ghosts seem to be fictitious according to locals

joan said...

I have been doing research on family,and was in Ireland, and was able to find family, and believe we may be related, While looking at your great photos of Woodlawn House, I read your story about the Kelly's, my grandmother was Fanny Kelly, 1885, my grandfather was Alexander McCulla, 1878. If these names are family would love to hear from you, maybe you could help me fill in some blanks. I love your photos and have been looking at your travel photos for some time, before deciding to write. Joan
jparisi@ec.rr.com

Paz said...

see mail

Anonymous said...

Great photos, been inside the house myself a few times. My grandfather and great-grandfather worked there for many years. My grandfather left in '23, ending years of rough times there. Let's get something straight, the place has historical value and I am for that, but don't romanticize it. The place was built on the backs and the sweat of the Irish that were exploited by all these "noblemen".

Paz said...

Glad you liked the photographs and it was not my intention to romanticize the history, but the sad fact is that nearly every building of historical value was built on the backs and sweat of others by "Noblemen".
Sadder still its happening even today, where working guys like me have to pay the debt for the lavish lifestyles of the tax exile developers and a useless government.

virginia lawrence said...

My great Aunt, Liz Keating lived very near this house and the Woodlawn Post Office near the train station. Even though I made many trips before 1984 I saw this house with my brother for the first time in 1984. There was a lot of trees and shubbery at that time that prevented us from getting a good look and also no one was permitted onto the grounds. We were looking in from the road. My great Aunt worked on the estate and told me some stories of the place. One of the fireplaces was removed to a hotel in Galway, cannot think of name of it right now. I have cousins, Hardiman's who live in Gurteen.

John said...

The house is truly amazing. May I ask if there are people who still live in that place? I actually find it creepy even if it's full of history.

luxury home builders

Paz said...

nobody lives here, there were talks of it getting redeveloped but with the current climate nothing has happened yet.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic pictures!!

It does look cold, andn I would say, just by looking at the pictures, there are spiritsin that building!!
Whoever lived there origanelly must have been very wealthy!
It sounds and looks like beautiful grounds but at the same time haunted.

Paz said...

thanks for the comments

Anonymous said...

hi im doing a masters in history and have decided to do my thesis on woodlawn house. i am wondering where I would go to get the book that has been written on woodlawn house? any information anyone may have would also be greatly appreciated/1

Paz said...

Trying to get an email address, to put up here, but found nothing sorry

valerie smyth said...

Hello there, my brother and family are very interested in Woodlawn house. We drive out there around every 3 months to see if there is any building works going on, but it seems to have halted in the last year, and the scaffolding is gone. Any word of what's happening? I would hate to see it just left there in ruins? And yes also there is a very eary feel about the place but we love it.
Val

Paz said...

I am not sure what ia going on over there, If I find out I will update the post.
Glad you liked, I still am amazed that this is my most popular post.

Mary Fitzpatrick said...

Hi there! Went for a drive today to see Woodlawn where my maternal grandfather came from. I am ashamed to say that while these people were alive I had not the interest to get the history from them. Now I am sorry. What I know is that the Craughwell family lived and worked on the estate in the end of the 18th century.My grandfather, Thomas Craughwell was a monitor in the local school. There was some controversy involving a Catholic appointment and my greatgrandfather took a stance against the landlord. As a result the entire family were evicted from their house and went to live in Ballycrissane,some 6 miles from Portumna.Only today did I realise the grandour of the mansion and loved to see your impressive photos. Will definitely return to visit again and put some ghosts to rest.

Anonymous said...

Are you still working in the Woidlawn area? I'm in the U S buy my grandmother was born in a stone house on land owned by Lord Ashford. In the townland of Coppanagh. The housevstill stands.

Paz said...

I live close by

Anonymous said...

the trench family did all they could
for the irish like other land owners
in ireland at that time
the problem was over population
and the catholic church they were the problem then they are still alive and well there

colleen goodie said...

Some great comments here. A google search brings up some photos of the house in the old days. I grew up about a mile away and I never came across anyone called Craughwell. However I knew of a stone ruin which was refered to as "Craughwell's Auld House".

Anonymous said...

Well I tried to post a comment before, must have gone astray! My father was born in Woodlawn, in a house built by his father which he named Mount Nirvana (place of peace) Apparently my G'mother was a teacher at the local school.
When I was there in early 1970's a family named Lally from New York had bought the property & renamed it! Don't know if any of my relatives are still around. Tom Cahill

MikeandRose Kelly said...

Great site and pictures. I was in the area this July to meet my ballymacward relatives, the Griffins from Cave. I was not able to connect with my Kelly relatives in the area. My great grandfather was James Kelly, known as "cooper" Kelly married to Anne Cahill. They lived in Cahroon, (Courskeah Trench). Anne's father was Thomas Cahill from Monaveen. It' s been difficult to ascertain which Kelly family I'm related to. Recently found out that the relationship might be through Richard Kelly and the Quinn and Ward surnames in the Killaan vicinity. I did notice that Chris Kelly, who posted previously might be a connection.
Any and all assist would be greatly appreciated. By the way, I did visit the Thomas Cahill, grave in the Killaan Cemetary this Summer.
All the best, Mike Kelly

Mike said...

I'm visiting Galway next month, and it is my intention to take some photos of Woodlawn to post on the Geograph website. Not wishing to trespass, is there a contact who might grant me permission to visit the grounds? Even better, is there any chance I might be given access to the inside?

Paz said...

Mike I will ask a local and see what the story is

Mike said...

Many thanks! Leaving for Galway this Friday 6 June, would very much appreciate a reply before if poss!

Michael Behan said...

My mother, Norah Dolan from New Inn, worked for Lord Ashtown in Woodlawn House when she was about 14 (1936). I will show her the posts and pictures but I would also love to find out more about the house around that time. She said that a lot of the land was taken and given to local people and that the family moved to Scotland so a lot of people were laid off. Fortunately my mother stayed on to look after the man that looked after the saw mill.
Michael Behan

Mike said...

During my recent trip to Galway I was fortunate to meet a local who rents the land surrounding Woodlawn House. He very kindly accompanied me into the field to allow me to take some photos of the outside of Woodlawn House. He told me that lead thieves had recently stolen a quantity of lead from the roof, having first cut the main cable to the four CCTV cameras that monitor the site.
An unexpected hazard that I encountered is what I assume is an old drainage ditch that runs all around the front of the property at some distance from it. It's about a metre deep (over 3 feet) and totally hidden that I managed to stumble into!Fortunately no harm done.

Canadian Girl said...

Enjoyed reading your article. What really caught my attention was when you spoke of spending time with the Kelly family. My great grandmother was a Kelly who lived at house 3 in Carrowholla (Killaan, Galway) and I am trying to trace relatives that may still be around that area. Sadly not much information was brought to Canada when she immigrated and I was wondering if you still have contact with the Kelly family? Thank you for your time in advance.

Patrica Morris said...

My mothers name was Bridie Cahill and her mothers name was Mary Kelly and her fathers name was Martin Cahill.They lived in Lord Ashdown's house.Martin was the gardener and Mary was a cook.My mother told me that her uncle who was a Kelly emigrated from Ireland to Canada.She never heard from him after that.

Canadian Girl said...

Patrica, if that is okay with you, I would like to send you some of my family history to see if there is a connection. I f you would like to respond, here is my email: live.for.now.35@gmail.com Thank you for your time in advance.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I recently came across your comment in regards to the Woodland House and the Quinn Family. I was wondering if you could please email me at mmg727@sbcglobal.net as I will be visiting this July and would like to ask a few questions.

Thanks,
Mary

Unknown said...

In 1994 my wife and I lodged very close to the house ,we managed to visit the house to see the damage caused by fire supposedly caused by a well known political group.The rumouraccoding to the locals was it was in defiance of the Irish Tourist Board who allegedly gained ownership of the house.Nevertheless I can honestly say it was fascinating that day and I can still feel it's presence to this day.