Temple House

Sporting activities or events Park or garden open Open to pre-booked groups (minimum 6) Open for overnight accommodation with dinner Available for weddings Available for functions or corporate events Available as a film location

Temple House, Ballymote, Sligo,F56 NN50, Ireland

t: +353 7191 83329
m: +353 87 997 6045
e: stay@templehouse.ie
w: http://www.templehouse.ie

The House

Temple House, in County Sligo, takes its name from the Knights Templar, the wealthiest of the three military orders founded during the crusades. Fierce warriors and able administrators, their power stretched across Europe where they operated as a separate sovereign administration within each independent state.

The knights reached Ireland with the Normans and quickly became established, building a castle at Temple House in County Sligo, their most westerly foundation, shortly after 1200. In 1312 the Pope suppressed the order, citing their alleged heretical and blasphemous practises in justification. In France Templars were burnt at the stake and their land seized by the crown but other countries adopted a more measured approach, transferring their property to the Knights Hospitallers, known today as the Knights of Malta.

As English influence waned in the remote west of Ireland, Temple House was reoccupied by the O’Haras, the principal sept in that region, who built a new castle in 1360.

In 1565 William Crofton was appointed Auditor and Escheator General, and used his position to amass extensive estates in Counties Leitrim, Roscommon and Sligo. These included Temple House, or Tagh-temple, which passed with his great-granddaughter Mary on her marriage to George Perceval, the younger son of another distinguished Irish administrator, and grandson of Richard Perceval, ‘confidential agent’ to Queen Elizabeth’s minister, Lord Burleigh, who correctly identified preparations for the Spanish Armada and was rewarded with Irish estates.

By the 1760s George and Mary’s descendants had replaced her parent’s thatched dwelling of c 1630 and their new house was further extended in 1825. Unfortunately the Famine ruined the family and the estate was sold to a Mr. Hall-Dare (see Newtownbarry in County Wexford) along with the town of Ballymote.

Happily, a younger son, Alexander (b. 1821, went to seek his fortune in China and amassed vast riches in the development of Hong Kong as Tai-Pan for the great trading house, Jardine Matheson. He returned to Ireland, repurchased the estate and tripled the size of the house in 1864, cladding it in cut-stone in a strict classical style, with three formal fronts and a porte-cochere, always a convenient feature in the wet West of Ireland.

The result is broadly symmetrical, with the Georgian house still clearly evident in the centre of the East front. The interior has a superb suite of large, grand rooms, lit by serried ranks of vast plate-glass windows. There are lofty ceilings, the vestibule rises to some thirty-two feet, and decoration of a very high order, reminiscent of the grander London clubs, while much of the furniture was specially commissioned for the house.

Alexander’s neighbours suggested he might be overs-spending but he assured them of his imminent return to make an even larger fortune in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, he caught sun-stroke fishing on Temple House Lake and died in 1866, leaving a widow with a large young family and rather less capital than his heirs would have liked to maintain their vast new home.

But they did survive and today the estate comprises 1,200 acres of pasture, woodland, lake and bog, and is home to Alexander’s great-great-great grandson Roderick, along with his wife Helena and their family, the thirteenth and fourteenth generations in almost continuous occupation since the late sixteenth century.

Information

Sporting activities or events

Park or garden open

Open to pre-booked groups (minimum 6)

Open for overnight accommodation with dinner

Available for weddings

Available for functions or corporate events

Available as a film location

Opening Hours

Open 1st of April to 15th November

Groups and Shooting Parties by arrangement