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 3: Lion’s Gate, Mote Park, Co. Roscommon
Built in 1787, and attributed to architect James Gandon, this magnificent arched gate once formed an entrance to Mote Park, near Elphin in county Roscommon. Two curved screen walls link the central arch to flanking gate lodges. Surmounted by a lion made of Coade stone, the design of the gate is based on triumphal arches from the Roman empire—notably those commemorating emperors Titus and Augustus. There were other triumphal arches built in Ireland during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including Saunderscourt Gate, and one forming an entrance to Rathfarnham Castle, both surviving in good condition today. A large Georgian house, Mote Park was remodelled in the early nineteenth century by Richard Morrison. There were other gates leading to Mote Park, including the equally magnificent Ballymurray Gate, surmounted by the crest of the Crofton family, flanked by a lion and a stag. The Crofton family were Elizabethan settlers in Ireland, with John Crofton in 1584 being appointed Auditor-General. His four sons took on estates in Roscommon and Sligo. Edward inherited Mote Park, while William settled at Temple House in Co. Sligo, and Henry at Mohill, Co. Leitrim. Edward’s son George erected the castle at Mote; in turn his son Edward was created a baronet, for supporting Charles II during Cromwellian times. Mote Park remained the seat of the family until 1947, when it was sold at auction by Edward Blaise Crofton, the 5th Baronet, who subsequently moved to England. In the 1960’s the house was demolished by the Irish Land Commission.
IGS Grants — 2015: restoration of Coade Stone lion and weatherproofing of upper levels
Pictures & text by Peter Murray from his exhibition ‘Saving Graces’ (2021)
The work of the Irish Georgian Society is supported through the Heritage Council’s ‘Heritage Capacity Fund 2022’.