In a Gentleman’s Park


In the early 18th century Joshua Dawson, MP for County Wicklow and Secretary for Ireland during the reign of Queen Anne, laid out the street in Dublin that still bears his name and there built himself a residence which subsequently became the Mansion House. Around the same time he also had a new property constructed at Castle Dawson, the County Derry estate acquired by his grandfather Thomas Dawson in the 1630s.
This house was subsequently demolished by Joshua’s son Arthur who in the mid-1760s built another, called Moyola Park, the garden front of which can be seen here. The building has been subject to several alterations: the block to the left, for example, was only added in the 1920s. But more importantly, the three-sided bows at either end, as well as the plate-glass windows, are 19th century additions. At that point the staircase was moved from the centre of the single bay pedimented breakfront overlooking the gardens garden to elsewhere in the house. One wonders if the original stairs might have been incorporated within some kind of bow, since an arch of cut stone in the middle of the bay differs somewhat in colour from that on either side. Moyola Park has remained in the hands of its original builder’s family although passing through the female line so that the occupants are now called Chichester-Clark; the late James Chichester-Clark, who served as Northern Ireland Prime Minister until his resignation in March 1971, was subsequently created Baron Moyola.