What still stands of Duleek House, County Meath. The limestone-fronted façade of the building was added c.1750 to a residence probably half a century older, as can be seen by a side-view below. If not designed by Richard Castle the front section was certainly much influenced by him, and the tripartite doorcase is very similar to that of the last surviving 18th century house on Dublin’s O’Connell Street (no. 42).
The interior featured an entrance hall with three arched openings to the rear providing access to the staircase and reception rooms with neo-classical plasterwork. When surveyed for the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage, Duleek House was still intact and occupied. Since then it has deteriorated into the present dangerous condition and appears unlikely to survive much longer. The building is of course listed for protection.
Duleek, County Meath derives its name from the Irish words daimh liag meaning house of stone and is, it seems, the oldest known reference to such a church being made from stone rather than wood. A monastery was founded here in the fifth century by St Cianán, a disciple of St Patrick, but the ruins of St Mary’s Augustinian priory seen here date from the 12th and 13th centuries, with the large tower at the west end erected in the 15th century at a time when churches and monasteries were subject to attack. An adjacent early 19th century Anglican church no longer serves its intended purpose but has been converted into a restaurant.
Inside the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, Duleek, County Meath, a 17th century box tomb bearing the arms of four families once prominent in the region: the Plunketts, Bellews, Prestons and St Lawrences. At either end four panels contain figures. Those above are, from left to right, St Patrick, St Catherine of Alexandria, St Thomas à Becket and St Peter. Those at the other side are less well preserved and therefore more difficult to identify but they appear to include an Archangel (perhaps Gabriel), a Crucifixion scene and, furthest right, St George slaying the dragon. Who might be swinging a thurible to his immediate left?