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A return for Knocklofty..

I first visited this glorious country mansion back in 2021. A lot has changed from then. The house was taken over by a certain group of people and it's condition has declined rapidly due to lead and copper theft. I posted last week regarding the dome ceiling that has collapsed in one of the rooms due to the lead being removed. Here are some shots of the ceiling 👇

Here it is in 2021 ☝️

The ceiling now ☝️

From above ☝️

How did it come about? I got a call a few months back from the gentleman who has recently bought Knocklofty. I was delighted to hear that he's taken on this huge project and that the building will be sympathetically restored and brought back to life! This angel of a man was gifted my book for Christmas and has bought another mansion that has a chapter my book. He has started renovation work on it already and I am due a revisit there in the next few weeks. I can't wait to see it and post up the progress for you all 👏

Knocklofty is a sprawling 40,000 sq ft country mansion that was built in 1790 and is one of Irelands largest homes. The mansion – Georgian with Victorian extensions has some jaw dropping features, a drawing room with parquet flooring, gold and white plasterwork ceilings, carved wood fireplaces and not to mention a two storey library 👇 The grounds also come with 80 acres of parklands. This really is the Irish Downton Abbey!

Through the grandeur there is also a colourful history. In the 1970s the house was owned by Lord and Lady Donoughmore. They came home from the house one evening to be greeted by masked men, Lord Donoughmore who was 71 at the time resisted however the masked men hit him over the head and bundled the couple into the back of a van.

They had just been kidnapped by the IRA, but it wasn’t for ransom money, it was to influence policy on an on-going hunger strike that was taking part in Northern Ireland. Over the course of four days, they became friendly with the captors, they said they were fed well, and they did not speak about politics with them. After some mediation in the early hours of the morning the Donaghmores were driven to Dublin and released in the middle of Phoenix Park. Seven years later Lord Donoughmore died, and the mansion was placed on the market.

In 1984 it was bought with 105 acres and sections of the property were developed as apartments in a time share scheme, which was the first in Ireland. The remaining sections were turned into a hotel.

Facilities were also added, squash courts, swimming pool and a leisure centre. All went well initially but within a decade it had failed. The estate went into receivership and back onto the market.

Finally in 1991 it was purchased by a local businessman, and it continued to run as a hotel until renovations would begin to renovating sections into apartments. Unfortunately, this also failed, and the banks took possession of the house in 2017.

Visible reminders of the hotel still remain. This looks to have been the check in desk.

Each of the doorways have detailed archways, with gold leaf impressions.

Not to mention the wood panelling, some with secret doorways!

Work has begun and there is a full team of men on site working to get the roof repaired and water tight.

Plans for Knocklofty are not set in stone yet, the immediate goal is to stop the water getting in and to start repairs. This will be no mean feat but so worthwhile.

Knocklofty could not be in any better hands. I can't wait to get back next year to see how far it has come on. I'll keep you all updated on the progress!

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Prints from Knocklofty are available here 👇


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