Loughcrew lies some 80 km north west of Dublin set amongst the beautiful hills of north County Meath and as you drive out of Dublin the scenery changes and the lush green countryside of Ireland becomes more apparent. Good road access means it takes just about an hour and fifteen minutes to get there. It has been in the same family since the 17th Century and has had an interesting history. Originally the seat of the Plunkett family, the remains of the church of Saint Oliver Plunkett can be seen at the nearby Loughcrew Gardens.
As you travel towards Loughcrew from Dublin you will see reference to the Loughcrew Cairns. These amazing monolithic tombs, or prehistoric passage graves, are internationally renowned and are largely undisturbed. They are believed to form a solar calendar even older than Stonehenge.
The larger towns of Navan and Cavan are reasonably close but Oldcastle and Kells are nearer and retain all the shops and familiarity of the ‘small town’ that is sadly disappearing in the UK.
There is lots to do and explore around this part of Ireland. The more formal gardens and parklands of Loughcrew are a short distance away on the estate. Entrance to the gardens, which are open to the public, is free for visitors staying at the house. The gardens have a host of features and are steeped in atmosphere and history. If you are up for some adventure try the Zipline and other adventure activities on Loughcrew Adventure Course. There is horse riding locally and an international standard golf club nearby at Kells and still you are only 50 miles from the city of Dublin.
The last great Loughcrew House was built in 1821 and was designed by Charles Cockerel, who at the time was an influential neo-classical architect. That house burnt down in 1959 and all that remains of the house today is the giant portico, re-built as a folly, along with The Orangery, the stone stable yards, laundry, brewery and groom’s lodge.
The Orangery was originally The Garden House, built to house exotic plants and flowers, as well as the necessary furnaces needed to sustain the plants. It is built on one side of a courtyard, with southwest facing windows to the main room and full height palm rooms. This is an outstanding and unusual house, with lots of features, including Trompe L’oeil decoration and other details that continue the Greek revival tradition to which much of the external architecture is owed.
Once through the archway into the courtyard, you collect the keys from the office. Entry to the house is via the side entrance on the lower ground floor of the west wing.
The main drawing room is 50’ in length and is the most magnificent room, with tall windows, a raised fireplace and fine furniture and pictures. The formal dining table in the drawing room comfortably seats 10 adults. At each end of the drawing room are towers, forming the east and west wings. These wings contain the kitchen, utility rooms and the bedroom suites as well as other reception rooms for those that want to sit quietly.
The kitchen has a breakfast table seating up to 8 people and a large Aga, along with an electric cooker, dishwasher and large fridge/freezer. There is television, DVD and CD player. Wood for the fires is provided. Outside there is a hard tennis court and plenty of parking. Patio and garden furniture. Cot, highchair and stair gates available if required. Internet access with broadband is also available at the house. Dogs allowed. Private catering possible.