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County Mayo

 
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Westport House and Gardens
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Monuments in County Mayo
Thatched Houses  
 
 
Westport House, Westport, Co. Mayo

Westport House and Gardens

Westport Demesne, one of the finest estates in County Mayo, features as its centrepiece the early eighteenth-century Westport House erected for John Browne MP (1709-76), first Earl of Altamont, to a design by Richard Castle (d. 1751): the basement shows evidence of an earlier structure, Cahernamart, the home of Grace "Granuaile" O'Malley (c.1530-1603). Later generations of the Brownes developed and improved the house, engaging celebrated architects of the day, and the dining room boasts delicate plasterwork designed by James Wyatt (1746-1813) of London. The surrounding estate was similarly embellished and improved into the early twentieth century and a remarkable collection of ornamental bridges, outbuildings, gate lodges and gateways survives: the so-called "House Bridge" (1734) and the nearby stable block (1734-5) have both been attributed to Castle. Westport House and Gardens are open to the public. View Buildings

The Raheens Cenotaph at Raheens House

Monuments in County Mayo

County Mayo boasts a wealth of monuments commemorating events and individuals, both private and public. The Glendenning Monument (1845), one of the finest monuments in the county, resembles a scaled-down Nelson's Pillar and dominates The Octagon in the centre of Westport. 1798 Monuments abound. The earliest, the French Hill Monument (1876) south of Castlebar, commemorates three French soldiers killed during the conflict. A small collection of roadside Celtic High Cross-style monuments remember Volunteers killed during the War of Independence (1919-21). Later monuments are arguably distinguished for their artistic prowess rather than their streetscape presence and the Admiral Brown Monument (1957) in Foxford and the Major Mac Bride Monument (1982) in Westport both present cast-bronze busts on simple limestone pedestals: the busts are inscribed by Julio Cézar Vergottini (1905-99) and Peter Grant (1915-2003) respectively. View Buildings

Thatched Farmhouse at Lisbaun West

Thatched Houses

Although once widespread throughout County Mayo, few of the thatched houses of the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century rural population remain. Termed "vernacular architecture", they did not subscribe to formal architectural rules but instead developed organically over time. A distinctive pattern emerged comprising a simple rectilinear plan form, frequently including a bed outshot, stout walls with small openings keeping the household warm in winter and cooler in summer, and a high pitched thatched roof sometimes showing a crow stepped gable silhouette. The occasional substantial house demonstrates that thatched roofed homes were not solely the preserve of the small farmer and Garracloon Lodge (1728), in the far south of the county, was built on a scale befitting a gentleman farmer. View Buildings

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