Clonalis House Castlerea, Co. Roscommon
Clonalis House is the ancestral home of the O’Conor family, direct descendants of Ireland’s last High King and traditional Kings of Connacht. The family has lived on this heavily wooded 700 acre estate on the banks of the River Suck for more than 1,000 years–an achievement unrivaled elsewhere in Ireland. The present Victorian house, the latest in a series on the estate, is a large, comfortable Italianate building on an elevated site. Clonalis is furnished with family portraits and memorabilia, including the harp of Turlough O’Carolan, the famous blind harpist.
The present owner, Pyers O’Conor Nash, is the most recent of his family to live here, an unbroken line of descent stretching back for more than a thousand years. The present Clonalis House is the most recent dwelling on the family’s lands and was built between 1878 and 1880 to the designs of the English architect, Samuel Pepys Cockrell. The result is a comfortable and elegant Victorian mansion of some 45 rooms. The bedrooms, many of which have four poster or half-tester beds, are large and comfortable with fine views over the demesne.
The Library lined with ancient tomes, some of which date to the 16th century, is a wonderful room to spend time sitting by the peat fire. Dinner is served in the handsome dining room lined with portraits of O’Conors down through the generations. The elegant Drawing Room and the peaceful Chapel all contribute to the atmosphere which is Clonalis.
The well-wooded acre estate, is just outside the town of Castlerea and was originally laid out for pheasant shooting, but in recent times it has become better known as a first class woodcock shoot.
Pyers and Marguerite O’Conor Nash who have lived here with their family since 1981 are renowned for their warm hospitality, where the sense of history blends easily with the aroma of turf fires.
Things to do in the area: Roscommon Castle, the ruined O’Conor castle at Ballintubber and the King House in Boyle, while the despoiled demesne at Rockingham with it many gates and lodges is still well worth visiting. Guests at Clonalis can fish for trout in the River Suck which flows through the estate or on nearby Lough O’Flynn. Guests can walk through the area along the Suck Way. Clonalis House is the ideal base for touring County Roscommon and the adjoining parts of Counties Galway, Mayo and Sligo.