Temple House, Templehouse Demesne, Ballymote, Co. Sligo
Temple House is one of the finest estates in the west of Ireland. The great house, which was remodeled in 1864, nestles in a wooded demesne, looking out over the Templars’ castle to Templehouse Lake. Despite its vast size this is a comfortable, welcoming family home with many original contents. The owners are Roderick and Helena Perceval, whose family has lived here since 1665. Temple House is surrounded by an area of outstanding natural beauty, with beaches, mountains and numerous sites of archaeological interest. It is a haven for the outdoor enthusiast, with pike fishing on a private lake and miles of lovely woodland walks.
Temple House is a vast classical house in the Georgian style, set in the centre of a beautiful 1000 acre west of Ireland estate. It overlooks Temple House Lake and the 13th century castle of the Knights Templar, who owned this land in mediaeval times. The Perceval family have lived here since 1665 though the present house was built in 1864 by the owner’s forebear, who returned from China with a rich wife and an enormous fortune, and trebled the size of his home, leaving his descendants with something of a white elephant on their hands.
The present owners and their two young children took over from parents Sandy and Deb several years ago. They are continuing the family tradition of accommodation in a historic private house. Guests all eat at one large table and meals are thoughtfully prepared using fresh local ingredients.
Temple House still retains its authentic decoration and furniture from that period and delicate Chinese porcelain is intermingled with solid County Sligo squires and their ladies. The main reception rooms are large, bright and comfortable, while the bedrooms – several have canopied beds – are particularly pleasant, with superb views. One is so large that it has long been known as ‘the half-acre’.
Guests can relax in the terraced gardens or stroll down to the lake, while the more energetic can explore many miles of woodland walks, take a boat around the lake, or fish for pike. Within easy reach are beautiful beaches, numerous archaeological sites, riding schools, trout lakes and three championship golf courses, while traditional music and dancing sessions are often held in the nearby village.
Temple House is an ideal stopping point when travelling between Connemara or County Mayo and County Donegal, and is a really terrific base for exploring County Sligo.