Conservation Ledwithstown House, Co. Longford

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In celebrating National Heritage Week 2022, the Irish Georgian Society is reflecting on projects it has assisted over the last 20 years through its Conservation Grants Programme. Funded through IGS London and IGS Inc (USA), over €1.6m has been awarded during this time.

Day 8: Ledwithstown House, Co. Longford

The design of Ledwithstown House has been attributed to Richard Castle, or Cassels, an architect who, in 1728, came to Ireland, from the city of Kassel in northern Hesse, Germany. Castle came at the invitation of Sir Gustavus Hume, of Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, and over the course of a long and successful career designed many buildings, including the Printing House in Trinity College, the Conolly Folly, Leinster House, and Russborough House in Co. Wicklow. Castle also has a number of lesser-known houses attributed to him, including Ledwithstown in Co. Longford. With its Doric temple portico surrounding the entrance door, the exterior of Ledwithstown is plain, almost severe. There is no pretty semi-circular fanlight here; instead three plain squares of glass, and two windows flanking the entrance door that provide light to the hallway. Although relatively small, the windows on the façade are surrounded by heavy stone frames, making them appear larger. Thick glazing bars reinforce the early eighteenth-century character of this house. The attribution to Richard Castle is reasonable, as is the date 1746. All the architectural components have been carefully considered, and a sense of proportion—a term often over-used in relation to eighteenth-century architecture—infuses every element, up to and including the two chimney stacks, which are arranged parallel to the façade. The roof is partly concealed by an elaborate cornice, adding to the Palladian grandeur. The severity of Ledwithstown’s temple front, with its plain pilasters and rusticated base, is relieved by a Baroque flourish of balustrade and steps that lead to the entrance door. Other country houses by, or attributed to Castle include Hazelwood in Co. Sligo and Bellinter House in Co. Meath.

IGS Grants — 2001: repairs to interior decorative plasterwork; 2006: restoration of panelled rooms

The work of the Irish Georgian Society is supported through the Heritage Council’s ‘Heritage Capacity Fund 2022’.