Main Record - County Westmeath
|Gothic Octagon, County Westmeath
|Date||1750 - 1780|
|Categories of Special Interest||ARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC HISTORICAL|
|In Use As||folly|| |
Freestanding Gothic gazebo on octagonal plan located within the grounds of Belvedere House (15402615), built c.1765. Constructed of coursed dressed limestone with brick lining to the interior. Seven ogee-headed window openings and one ogee-headed door openings, one to each elevation, having recessed quatrefoil panels over. Set on a rubble stone plinth, on octagonal plan, and on a rasied earthwork platform to the northwest of Belvedere House (15402615). Located to the south of Mullingar and on the eastern shores of Lough Ennell.
A mid-eighteenth century Gothic folly that forms part of an important collection of Gothic follies at Belvedere House (15402615), which together represent one of the most important collections of its type in Ireland. This structure was originally built with a roof over, now gone, and it is thought that it was originally intended to act as a Summerhouse. It is believed that Thomas Wright of Durham, who was responsible for the other follies at Belvedere, was also responsible for the designs for this curious structure. It is possible that Wright based the designs for this structure on the remains of the octagonal baptistery at Mellifont Abbey, County Louth. Wright had previously produced detailed drawings of this structure for his work on the antiquities of Co. Louth, entitled 'Louthania', published in 1747. This structure at Belvedere is set on an earthen work bastion, the extant of which is difficult to gauge today on account of the extensive tree and shrub growth in the area. The plan of this bastion looks very similar to a star-shaped fort on the 1837 map of the area where it is indicated as a 'castle'. Together with the 'Gothic Arch' (15402612) to the north and the 'Jealous Wall' (15402614) to the south, this structure forms part a unique collection of garden follies of national importance.
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