Lost Forever


The history of Tyrone House, County Galway and its sad fall from grace was discussed here a few weeks ago (see A High House on High Ground, September 18th 2017). Above is an image of the building included in the fifth and final volume of the The Georgian Society Records of Eighteenth Century Domestic Architecture and Decoration published in 1913, showing it still intact. One of the house’s most striking features was the entrance hall, dominated by a mid-18th century white marble life-size statue of St. George Ussher St. George, Baron Saint George. This survived until Tyrone House was attacked in August 1920 when the statue was smashed to pieces: as a result, the photograph below is the only record of the work.
Copies of my new book, Tyrone House and the St George Family: The Story of an Anglo-Irish Family are now available from the Irish Georgian Society bookshop. For more information, please see https://shop.igs.ie/collections/books

6 comments on “Lost Forever

  1. John F. Egan says:

    In 1981 l was driving north from Shannon to stay with family in Mayo and looking out for castles and Georgian houses along the way. I saw this big house with daylight coming through the windows about a quarter mile off the road. I drove along a narrow track and pulled up in front of it, noticing the very fine front door. I got out. It was cold and windy. The wind made a rushing sound blowing through the house. Walking through the door into the front hall, l could see traces of plaster bellflowers around the niche. It must have been a fine house, but the main impression l came away with was how cold it must have been to live there. There was not a tree in sight near it, but there may have been at one time. My granduncle’s cottage in Mayo with it’s turf fire was cozy and warm. I wondered if it was the same back then, with the Lords paying a price of discomfort for their grand lifestyle. Both cottage and cold mansion are gone now. Keep up the good fight, lreland could use a thousand more like you. Jack Egan

    • Thank you, your interest and your engagement are both much appreciated…

    • John, the house in its days of magnificence was surrounded by trees which gave it shelter. The house had many fireplaces and my grandfather who spent time at Tyrone House, his mother was a St George, often talked to me about the turf being brought from Connemara on their Galway Bay Hooker for the fires at Tyrone at the wharf near the oyster beds. No doubt the fires were kept well stoked. In fact in 1814 from the account book kept by Christopher St George 43 loads of turf were purchased at 2 Pounds per load.

  2. Tom Crane says:

    We sympathize with these attacks in 1920 or whenever. But, what a loss.

  3. The Prof says:

    With reference to the above comment, it is difficult to fully understand sympathy towards deliberately attacking property. Holding sympathetic views towards a particular cause is perfectly acceptable, but sympathetic tendencies towards violence and destruction is a very different matter. Many historic buildings were regrettably lost on this island post 1916 as a result of savage violence on ‘both sides’ of the political battle. However, the fact is that the ‘Protestant Ascendancy’, for all their many flaws, made a great contribution to a very impoverished Ireland. Their work in education, health, and social care greatly improved the living standards of so many on this island, to say nothing of their benefaction in the areas of art and architecture. Sadly so much of this has been written out of modern Irish history, and the families of the ‘big house’ are portrayed as opulent autocrats who spent their time exploiting the poor and evicting tenants.

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