What Future?

The pictures above suggest this might be the entrance to an Irish country house, built in the mid-19th century when the fashion for a loose interpretation of Tudor Gothic was at its height here. In fact, it is the centre block of the former Convent of Mercy in Ardee, County Louth. Built in the mid-1850s, the convent was designed by John Neville, then County Surveyor for Louth (a position he held for 46 years, thereby ensuring plenty of work for his office in the area). The three-storey block built of coursed rubble features cut limestone for quoins, and window surrounds as well as for the three-bay, single-storey porch in Perpendicular style. And the facade is saved from what might be dull uniformity by the two-storey canted bay to the immediate right of the entrance. Further buildings, including a chapel, were added to left and right of the convent. As in so many other towns, the nuns have now departed and the ten-acre site has been on the market since last autumn. What might its future be?

5 comments on “What Future?

  1. The bauld Larry from Ardee might buy and it to add to his growing medical investments ( Galway Clinic, Blackrock etc. A step down nursing home perhaps? Only joking of course, but it would make a fine country gentlemans shooting lodge!

  2. Vincent Delany says:

    Would make a lovely hotel

  3. Deborah Sena says:

    I weigh in against a hotel.- first it depends on the interiors, over the top Victorian (those gorgeous patterned tile floors in the entry hall maybe?) worth experiencing or convent austere with small rooms? Second, Louth is not big on the usual tourist routes to draw the guests. Ireland has several examples of ‘build it and they will come’- NOT. Third there are already enough of these house converted hotels that are struggling, particularly trying to attract the upscale tourist.

  4. Patrick Davies says:

    Its glorious interior included furniture such as bookshelves which may have been part of the original design. I have a photograph of my aunt sitting in the library there in around 2000. My aunt was a nun there for her entire adult life, dying the day after her 99th birthday in 2013, so she probably lived in that Convent for half the existence of the building! She is buried in the graveyard within the grounds.

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