After the Sale

A view of the entrance hall at Ballynagall, County Westmeath. The house dates from c.1808 when it was built at an estimated cost of £30,000 for James Gibbons to a design by Francis Johnston. This photograph was taken in 1961, a year before the contents of the house were sold: within two decades the building itself had been stripped of its fittings and left to fall into ruin. The photograph below shows the same entrance hall today. I shall be discussing the plight of Ballynagall, and several other houses which have seen their contents sold, at a conference on Art in the Country House being held at Dublin Castle next Thursday, April 23rd. For more information on this event, see:


10 comments on “After the Sale

  1. Tim Corfield says:

    what a tragic pair of photos!

  2. Patrick O Reilly says:

    Hi Robert , Even though you have written many posts on this subject for some reason this seems the most tragic and saddest of them all . Patrick .


  3. James Canning says:

    Great photos, but sickening to see.

  4. Elizabeth Printy says:

    Heartbreakingly sad…a once blessed house, now a bleak house.

  5. BP Murray says:

    I read everything you post, but sometimes I am sickened by what I read. What will it take for the Irish Nation to realize that it exists in an architectural wonderland and that it should protect and cherish what remains? In the short span of time that my Nation has been in existence, we too have lost a great deal of our historic fabric. The Irish Nation should remember that it is a nation of innovation and that during the 18th produced great wealth, rather than siphoned off wealth from the New World. These buildings of which you write are standing proof of what the Irish have accomplished. Even though I sometimes leave your blog in dread, I am grateful there is a level headed defender of such historic edifices.

  6. Thanks to everyone who got in touch about these photographs. I have many more, both of Ballynagall as it was in the early 1960s, and as it is now, and shall be posting them before too long, so you will be able to gain a better sense of what has been lost here. Meanwhile, for anyone who can come along to my talk on Thursday morning, I shall be showing further images of this and other similar houses which have lost their contents and been permitted to fall into dereliction…

  7. Shannon says:

    I so wish I could attend any of your conferences, but unfortunately I am a Yank (for now) so unless you plan a talk in NW Pennsylvania; I will stay informed by your website.
    To see the devastation and ruin of some of these buildings is really painful when there is nothing I can do personally to help change them or bring them back to their “Glory Days”. So I can only pray to be able to do at least one before I die.

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