Survey Data

Reg No




Categories of Special Interest

Architectural, Artistic

Original Use

Country house


1860 - 1870


98594, 72904

Date Recorded


Date Updated



Detached three-bay (three-bay deep) two-storey country house, designed 1864; built 1865-6, on a roughly square plan centred on single-bay single-storey projecting porch abutting single-bay two-storey gabled projecting end bay with single-bay three-stage turret (south-east) on a circular plan.  Burnt, 1921.  Interior in ruins including central hall with round-headed tripartite arcade.  Set in unkempt grounds.  NOTE: Ardtully House was built for Sir Richard John Theodore Orpen (1788-1876) and replaced an earlier house described as 'the ancient mansion of Richard Orpen Townsend [1771-1848]' (Lewis 1837 II, 96).  A diary by Cornelia Susannah Sarah Orpen (1831-1916) recalls that '1863 was our last summer in the dear old house [which] was shabby and unsuited to the beautiful scenery around…  Papa had often been thinking of building but what decided him was an immense piece of ceiling, very thick and heavy, came down [and] part of the roof was unsafe…  In the following April [1864]…Mr. DeCurdy [came] to see the old house and make a plan for a new one'.  The "Mr. DeCurdy" may be John McCurdy (c.1824-85) of Dublin and a "Kenmare Artisan" later remarked that 'Ardtully, the seat of Sir Richard John T. Orpen, would amply repay a visit.  Several thousand pounds have been lately expended in building this mansion anew, which is indeed [a] magnificent one' (Tralee Chronicle 14th July 1868, 3).  The "ancient" Ardtully House had been captured for posterity in an unsigned watercolour (1849) and the "new" Ardtully House was captured in a watercolour initialled (28th August 1866) by Arthur Herbert Orpen (1830-1926).  Ardtully House passed by inheritance to Raymond William Orpen (1875-1952) who leased it to the artists Hugh Golding Constable (1868-1949) and Elinor May Constable (née Bomford) (1872-1947).  The Constables left Ardtully House for Essex on the morning of Tuesday, 8th March 1921, and 'that evening a party of armed men set it on fire having been clearly tipped off that it was vacant' (Knightly in O'Keeffe 2022, 6).