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Ballymore House, County Wexford
15701612
Representative view of country house.
Reg. No.15701612
Date1720 - 1725
Previous NameN/A
TownlandBALLYMORE DEMESNE
CountyCounty Wexford
Coordinates310178, 150856
Categories of Special InterestARCHITECTURAL ARTISTIC ARCHAEOLOGICAL HISTORICAL SOCIAL
RatingRegional
Original Usecountry house
In Use Ascountry house
 
Description
Detached five-bay two-storey double-pile country house with dormer attic, rebuilt 1721, on a rectangular plan with five-bay two-storey rear (west) elevation. "Improved", 1740. Damaged, 1798. Repaired, 1815. Occupied, 1901; 1911. Burnt, 1955. "Restored", 1956. Pitched double-pile (M-profile) slate roof including hipped slate roofs to window openings to dormer attic with pitched slate roof to rear (west) pitch including hipped slate roofs to window openings to dormer attic centred on pitched (gabled) slate roof, clay ridge tiles, rendered slate-covered coping to gables with red brick Running bond chimney stacks to apexes having stringcourses below capping supporting louvered terracotta or yellow terracotta pots, and cast-iron rainwater goods on cut-granite "Cavetto" cornice retaining cast-iron hoppers and downpipes. Part creeper- or ivy-covered fine roughcast battered walls. Segmental-headed central door opening with granite flagged threshold supporting wrought iron bootscrapers, cut-granite doorcase with rusticated pilasters supporting "Cyma Recta" or "Cyma Reversa" open bed pediment on fluted consoles, and concealed dressings framing timber panelled door having fanlight. Square-headed window openings with cut-granite sills, and concealed dressings framing one-over-one (ground floor), six-over-six (first floor) or three-over-three (dormer attic) timber sash windows without horns having part exposed sash boxes. Square-headed central door opening to rear (west) elevation with granite flagged threshold, and moulded surround on cut-granite padstones framing glazing diagonal timber boarded door. Square-headed window openings centred on square-headed window opening (half-landing) with cut-granite sills, and concealed dressings framing one-over-one (ground floor) or six-over-six (first floor) timber sash windows without horns centred on eight-over-eight timber sash window without horns. Interior including (ground floor): central hall retaining carved timber surrounds to door openings framing timber panelled doors, and plasterwork cornice to ceiling; staircase hall (west) retaining carved timber surrounds to door openings framing timber panelled doors, staircase on a dog leg plan with turned timber "spindle" balusters supporting carved timber banister, carved timber surrounds to door openings to landing framing timber panelled doors, and plasterwork cornice to ceiling; and carved timber surrounds to door openings to remainder framing timber panelled doors with carved timber surrounds to window openings framing timber panelled shutters. Set in landscaped grounds with wrought iron "estate railings" centred on looped wrought iron double gates.

Appraisal

A country house erected by Richard Donovan (1697-1763) representing an important component of the domestic built heritage of County Wexford with the architectural value of the composition, 'a beautifully proportioned house of a type more commonly found in the province of Ulster where they are usually called "Planter Houses"' (Craig and Garner 1975, 53-4), confirmed by such attributes as the deliberate alignment maximising on panoramic vistas overlooking rolling grounds with a mountainous backdrop in the distance; the compact near-square plan form centred on a Classically-detailed doorcase recalling the later Monksgrange House (1769), Grange Demesne (see 15701801); the uniform proportions of the openings on each floor; and the high pitched gabled roofline. Having been well maintained, the elementary form and massing survive intact together with substantial quantities of the original fabric, both to the exterior and to the interior, including crown or cylinder glazing panels in hornless sash frames: meanwhile, contemporary joinery; restrained chimneypieces; and plasterwork refinements, all highlight the artistic potential of the composition. Furthermore, adjacent outbuildings (extant 1839); a mill showing an enclosed waterwheel; a wedge-shaped walled garden (extant 1839); a "guest house" erected (1956) as emergency accommodation following an accidental fire (1955); and a "picturesque" gate lodge (see 15701614), all continue to contribute positively to the group and setting values of an estate having long-standing connections with the Donovan family including Richard Donovan (1752-1816); Richard Donovan (1781-1849) 'of Ballymore' (cf. 15612001); Richard Donovan (1819-84) 'late of Ballymore Camolin County Wexford' (Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1885, 217); Richard Donovan JP DL (1858-1916), 'Gentleman late of Ballymore County Wexford' (Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1916, 172); Richard Charlie Donovan (1898-1952); and Richard Alexander Donovan (1927-2005).
 
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