Ballyfin House

Ballyfin House is located approximately five miles from Portlaoise. The house itself occupies the site of an ancient castle belonging to the O'Moores. A brief description of the house and grounds follows: the house is a perfect example of the Grecian style of building. The main storey of the house contains an entrance hall, which measures some twenty-four feet by twenty-eight. Leading directly off from this is the Grand Saloon, a magnificent apartment, which is divided into three compartments by means of Ionic columns. The central of the three compartments was finished with a rich pendential dome, which is its source of light. The Grand Staircase leads off from one end of this apartment, and this is also decorated with columns. A circular anteroom is entered from the opposite side of the saloon, and this is also covered by a highly finished dome, this time being supported by Corinthian style columns of Scagiola.

From this anteroom you pass into the Library, which has a large central bay. The Library is also compartmented by screens of Scagiola columns. You can also enter into the Billiard Room from the anteroom. The Library lies en suite with the Drawing Room and the Conservatory. The Dining Room and Billiard Room are nowadays combined to form the College Oratory. The Morning Room is noted for its "whispering gallery" sound effect which magnifies voices. It has a coved ceiling supported on parabolic segments with delicate plasterwork corners.

The Drawing Room is now renamed as the Gold Room. It is a striking room, furnished with rich rococo gilt mirrors, whilst the other walls are lined with fabric and decorated with trophies of musical and military instruments. This room was decorated in 1848 by Gillows and Conifod, Oxford St., London. The house has a prolonged facade in the Palladian Order and has a protico mounted on four Ionic columns. The mosaic pavement in the Entrance Hall came from Italy and is a reproduction of the floor in a Ceasar's Palace.

The marble pillars were imported from Italy, and the doors are of solid San Domingo mahogany. The gardens were designed and laid out by Sir Edwin Lutyens. The estate has over 600 acres of park and woodland, with extensive pleasure grounds including a fountain and a lake. The lake was constructed in the mid-18th century, and covers nearly thirty acres. The "Robin Hood" caves and the tower with its moat are also interesting curiosities. The house and demesne were purchased by the Patrician Brothers in 1928, and it was turned into a college. Extension and alterations were carried out to the existing house but these were carefully designed so as not to detract from what is a fine mansion.


previousPrevious - Mountrath
Next - Clonenaghnext