Monday, October 4, 2010

Castle Coole

Castle Coole, built int 1798, is set in 700 acres of parkland is an outstanding example of the Irish response to the Palladian ideal.  The house is a model of symmetry and the quality of the stone masonry is consummate with all four frontages equally perfect.  The house was designed by James Wyatt for Armar Lowry-Corry, the first Earl of Belmore, a member of the Irish Parliament.  Lord Belmore intended that Castle Coole be a showpiece to proclaim his standing in Irish society and influence in the Irish House of Commons, where his family held five seats.  This house certainly is a showpiece.  I found the grounds and setting of the house to be nearly ideal due to the labor of volunteers who have preserved and maintained them.  The “front” of the house is northern facing, which is rather unusual as the main approach to the house is from the south  The site is sloped from north to south as well so the effect on seeing the house initially is a shadowed, almost ominous façade. 

 There is not much of a difference between the front and the back of the house architecturally, and it stands like a temple, symmetrical and perfect.  I was impressed by the smoothness of the curved alcoves and the perfectly cut square blocks.  The masonry was truly outstanding.  If you eyed up the face of the front of the building from corner to corner, there was no more than inches in deviation.  Lovely building in a lovely setting.  There are miles of trails here as well, offering plenty of walking and tree observing.  Many of the trees were quite old and striking. 

Thankfully, this large expanse of land has not been parceled and his held by the National Historic Trust for the continuing enjoyment of the public

No comments: