Famously Abandoned I

One of Ireland’s most famous abandoned country houses: Woodlawn, County Galway. The original building was just the central, three-storey block, constructed for the Trench family, raised to the peerage in 1800 as Barons Ashtown. In 1859 the second Lord Ashtown had the house much enlarged by the addition of two-storey wings on either side, the whole then refaced in an Italianate manner: this work was undertaken by the local County Surveyor James Forth Kempster, who was also much employed by another branch of the Trench family, the third Earl of Clancarty. Woodlawn was eventually sold by the fourth Lord Ashtown in 1947 and has had a somewhat chequered history ever since. Part of the building was badly damaged by a fire in the 1970s although the roof was subsequently repaired. However, for much of the past 50 years the house has sat empty and a prey to vandals, with anything of worth in the interior long since gone.

10 comments on “Famously Abandoned I

  1. Makes you want to cry

  2. sylvia wright says:

    What a crying shame

  3. erniecrossen1 says:

    So another architectural gem left to die and join the list of other famous houses such as Aldborough House in Dublin and a host of others left to their fate and the joy of vandals

  4. I thought an American had bought it and had started doing something with it… Then I heard that that had stalled… A lot of people round here (east Galway) know the house.

  5. sopwell says:

    Robert Thank you for the post on Woodlawn. I do in fact have a photo of the house taken in 1846, taken by George Fowler Jones, which shows that the house did in fact have two wings but they were single storey. I can send it if you are interested but not sure how to on this site. Roderick Ashtown

  6. I understood that a local heritage society, in Woodlawn, had been doing some work on restoring/repairing the roof and that a Galway based GP had plans passed allowing him to build a nursing home in the grounds? I haven’t been out there in years, but had some correspondence via email with him on behalf of An Taisce a few years back.

    • I think Galway County council were also involved. I remember a meeting held in Fohenagh about 10 years ago, the house a hot topic. Unfortunately, I do not at the moment have access to any documentation nor my notes.

      • Unfortunately, as we all know the conservation and protection of historic houses in Ireland is not a priority for any government. Unlike in other European countries, where the vision to reutilise such buildings for something other than use as golf clubs or hotels is a higher priority. We need a real National Trust to be established that is given enough funding to make a difference. Such buildings can be used for local community gain and estates be self-financing with proper management surely?

  7. While a shame it has been let deteriorate to its present state, it wouldn’t be my cup of tea.

  8. […] last Wednesday’s post on the sad state of Woodlawn, County Galway (see Famously Abandoned « The Irish Aesthete) here are a couple of very early photographs of the place. Dating from the mid-1840s, they show the […]

Leave a Reply