Survey Data

Reg No

14916022


Date

1800 - 1815


Townland

CHARLEVILLE DEMESNE


County

County Offaly


Coordinates

231555, 223421


Description

Detached Gothic Revival castle, built c.1805, by Francis Johnston. Central block of three-bay three-storey over basement with octagonal tower to west, circular tower to east, private chapel with five bays to nave and pinnacled towers to north-west with stable complex of three ranges surrounding an enclosed courtyard to north-west. Roof hidden by parapet. Lead rainwater goods. Random coursed limestone walls with tooled stone quoins to octagonal tower. Crenellated parapet supported by stone corbels to main block with stone brackets to octagonal parapet on western tower and elaborate corbels to circular eastern tower. Tower and elaborate corbels to circular eastern tower. Variety of window openings and styles. Square-headed and pointed-arched openings with timber casement and stone mullioned windows, some with hoodmoulding, all with tooled stone surrounds. Loop windows within towers. Central entrance within projecting bay of tooled stone with crenellated parapet supported on corbels. Containing large Tudor arched recess with chamfered soffit. Tudor arched door opening with chamfered reveals flanked by cross openings with timber battened door and iron studded double doors. Entrance surmounted by large stone tracery window with decorative carved stone sill. Tooled stone step with stone flags to entrance. Square-headed opening with stone flags to entrance. Square-headed opening with tooled stone surround gives access to basement.

Appraisal

Charleville Castle, along with the private chapel and beautifully elegant enclosed stable complex, is considered by many to be Francis Johnston's masterpiece. Maurice Craig has described it as the first asymmetrical house to be built in Ireland and Mark Girouard stated that Charleville had the 'most splendid Gothic interior in Ireland'. The house was begun in 1801 and completed in 1812 for Charles William Bury, who became the first Earl of Charleville in 1806. The Gothic Revival style of the house is complimented by the terraces seen to the south created John Claudius Loudon, the most distinguished garden designer of his time. The attention to detail, evidenced in the house, chapel and stables, is outstanding and it is without question a hugely significant group of demesne structures of national and international importance.