Not Very Gay

In the mid-1780s, Ralph Smyth purchased the Gaybrook estate in County Westmeath from one John Gay (reputedly related to the earlier John Gay, whose 1728 ballad drama The Beggar’s Opera, produced by John Rich, was famously said to have made ‘Rich gay and Gay rich’). Advised by amateur architect, the Rev Daniel Beaufort, Smyth embarked on building a new residence for himself on the property, but the gates and lodges are of a later date, constructed by his younger son Robert who inherited the place in 1827. At the eastern end of the estate, the front elevation of this one, with a canted central bay, suggests the house was only on one level. However, examination of the rear indicates it was actually two storeys high. Dean, in his gazeteer of Leinster lodges, speaks of the octagonal entrance hall having ‘a delicately vaulted plaster ceiling’ but alas, no evidence of this now survives, in consequence of the lodge being long neglected. The house itself, having survived until the early 1970s, was subsequently demolished.

4 comments on “Not Very Gay

  1. Vincent Delany says:

    If you could acquire this ruin at the right cost, €150,000 would turn it into a nice single person house. It would be a better place to live in than a €300,000 apartment.

    • Deborah T. Sena says:

      Interesting you brought up apartments as this estate, despite the house being gone, still has its impressive outbuildings/stables that would be more candidates for viable affordable housing. The estate has been included in the Buildings of Ireland. I looked it up just to find the location in Westmeath.

  2. Sean o corrain says:

    Pass that estate every day…

  3. Stephen Barker says:

    After your recent post about a derelict house being bought back to life, this looks like another candidate for restoration.

Leave a Reply