Gateway to the New Year


Situated on a quiet country backroad, this is the Volunteer’s Arch at Lawrencetown, County Galway. The monumental gateway was built in 1782 as the principal entrance to an estate called Bellevue owned by Colonel Walter Lawrence, an ardent supporter of the Volunteer movement and of Henry Grattan’s efforts to achieve legislative independence for the Irish parliament. Following the achievement of the latter, Lawrence erected the arch which consists of a main entrance flanked by smaller openings which in turn are connected to two-room lodges. The entrance is surmounted by a pediment topped with an urn and with a carved medallion beneath, while sphinxes rest on either side. A recessed panel directly beneath the pediment bears a Latin inscription which translated reads ‘Liberty after a long servitude was won on the 16th April 1782 by the armed sons of Hibernia, who with heroic fortitude, regained their Ancient Laws and established their Ancient Independence.’ Bellevue is long gone and the gateway, together with a couple of follies, is all that remains of Colonel Lawarence’s efforts. The lodges have recently been restored and perhaps in the coming months might find a use or occupant. And the local authority might like to straighten, or better yet remove, the telegraph pole that mars the appearance of this delightful structure.
The Irish Aesthete takes this opportunity to thank all readers for their invaluable support and interest during the past twelve months, and to wish them a very Happy New Year. There will be lots more of Ireland’s architectural heritage to explore and share in 2014.

17 comments on “Gateway to the New Year

  1. Rod Williams says:

    A lovely beginning to a new year — thanks!

  2. Penny Perrick says:

    I just want to thank you for a year’s worth of erudite and sparkling essays on Ireland’s architectual heritage. Reading them cheered up several miserable mornings. A very happy new year.

  3. Red Hen says:

    Very much looking forward to learning more about our architectural heritage from this blog this year.

    NIce one about Lawrencetown Volunteeers`Arch. I`d passed it before and of course, had no idea as to its history.

    • Thank you so much for your interest and for taking the trouble to write. It has likewise been a pleasure to discover your own site; one of the delights of the internet is the ability to connect with all sorts of fascinating people with whom one might otherwise not make contact. Wishing you a very Happy New Year and best wishes for 2014.

  4. Tom says:

    All the very best for 2014 and thank you for all the interesting and informative articles.

  5. Robert – thank you for all your interesting insights to the more unusual/often overlooked architecture of Ireland . I have enjoyed reading them and look forward to further revelations in 2014 – Happy New Year !!

  6. Gavin says:

    Happy new year! Your site is a treasure in itself.

  7. Happy New Year Robert, thank you for all the excellent posts during the year, from which always learn so much, and indeed also for your kind support of my own work. Both are keenly appreciated. Wishing you a very happy 2014. -Arran.

  8. Kevin Shields says:

    Please can i have directions for this gate?

  9. […] years ago, the Irish Aesthete wrote about the Volunteer Arch at Lawrencetown, County Galway (see: Gateway to the New Year « The Irish Aesthete). As was explained then, this monumental gateway was built in 1782 as the principal entrance to an […]

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