Now Just a Memory


I realise that this photograph may not look especially inspiring. However, it shows the residue of yard buildings lying to the east of Summerhill, County Meath, site of the greatest of Ireland’s country houses lost in the last century. Scarcely anything remains of this immense baroque palace or of the many other buildings once found throughout the Summerhill estate. This particular block, today used to shelter cattle, is a rare survival from otherwise widespread destruction.
I will be writing more on Summerhill in a few weeks’ time.

13 comments on “Now Just a Memory

  1. David Gunning says:

    I look forward to reading more about Summerhill!

  2. Ecpakenham says:

    Remind me to show you the stone memorial in the greenhouse from Summerhill – also I have a photo somewhere of a very charming girl with dove marble sculpture (alas what happened to it? maybe we could put out an appeal?) Which came from the mausoleum. And you must quote the Pak who referred to it as “lugubrious” love that word

    Sent from my iPad

  3. ken m says:

    I have an old article from the Kildare archaeological society from the 1800’s on agher house. I can dig it up or you if you like. This was a beautiful old house with extensive gardens. The land commission bought it and blew it up! The farmer who owns it now let me wander arounf the site. Lots of hidden tunnels, an old courtyard, an orchard that had undersoil heating using copper pipes to keep the exotic trees warm., a tiled lake, a plinth that rose to outside the old house are all that remains. The nearby church and old school indicate the village that grew up around the house. Both are worth viewing –

    • Thank you for your comments. I would be most interested in seeing any material you have relating to Agher Palace, about which I know a certain amount but am keen to learn more. Do you know if any photographs exist of the building when still intact? Please contact me again with any information you may be able to share. And once more my thanks for your interest.

  4. brian says:

    I’m glad its gone, just like the tans.

    There are signs of their I’ll gotton wealth all over meath, Ireland in fact.

    I’d burn them all.

    • Thank you for your message although it is unlikely to come as a surprise that I do not share your sentiments. Besides anything else, hatred is neither helpful nor healthy.
      With regard to such houses, instead of focussing on who they were built for, we should remember who they were built by: your ancestors and mine. These people were talented Irish architects, designers and craftsmen. To let their work fall into ruin or be destroyed is to desecrate the memory of the Irish men and women who built them. Do you imagine the peasants of France were allowed to wander around Versailles, or the serfs of Russia to visit the Winter Palace: would you have those destroyed also? If that is your attitude you had better start with knocking down the Pyramids of Egypt, since they were built by slaves….

  5. pcardaciotto says:

    I just found out my Great Great Grandfather was a coachmen here for the 4th Baron Langford and possibly worked there when The Emperess had arrived he would have been 24 at the time. Was really hoping to find more info on the people who lived and worked at the house such as my Great Great Grandfather.

  6. Fiona Mellor says:

    Why with its vast and interesting History is there not a museum in Summerhill. Displaying photos and stories about the Summerhill Mansion , stories about its famous visitors. Stories and photos about Ambrose Higgins who came from Summerhill and died in Peru. So much history is being lost to today’s generation. I grew up in Summerhill and knew nothing of the history of the fact that I am related to alot of people in the village. Only now as an adult doing my family history do I see the necessity of a museum where it will bring jobs and tourism to our small but beautiful village.

    • Martin Dennehy. says:

      Maybe that’s because the people of Summerhill know nothing about it, and would be somewhat responsible for its destruction I would imagine. Do any of the locals have any photos? or know if the basement is still intact, or where the tunnel comes out?? Does the present landowner allow interested people to see around do you know?

      • Thank you for getting in touch. I have no idea whether or not the local people are familiar with Summerhill and its history. I visited the site some years ago with someone who had spoken to the landowner and received permission for us to look around.

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