Woodbrook

Open for overnight accommodation with dinner Cultural activities or events Available for functions or corporate events Available as a film location

Woodbrook, Killanne, Enniscorthy, Wexford, Ireland

t: +353 53 9255114
e: gilesfitzherbert@gmail.com
w: http://www.woodbrookhouse.ie

The House

Woodbrook, in County Wexford, first dates from the 1770s. Arthur Jacob, the Archdeacon of Armagh who came from Enniscorthy, built the house for his daughter Susan, who had married Captain William Blacker, a younger son of the family from Carrigblacker in County Armagh.

Nestling in woods beneath the Backstairs Mountains, the house was occupied during the 1798 Rebellion, allegedly by a group of local rebels led by John Kelly, the 'giant with the gold curling hair' in the well known song 'The Boy from Killanne’. John Kelly is supposed to have made a will leaving Woodbrook to his sons but he was hanged on Wexford bridge, along with many other captured rebels after their defeat at Vinegar Hill. There is an imposing monument to him in the cemetery at Killanne where his body was eventually buried.

Woodbrook was badly knocked about by the rebels and substantially rebuilt in about 1820 as a regular three storied Regency pile with overhanging eaves, a correct Ionic porch and three bays of unusually wide Wyatt windows on each floor of the facade. The drawing room is exceptionally large, with a fine chimneypiece thought to have come from the original house, while the amazing 'flying' staircase stands in the centre of a square double-height hall, without touching the walls at any point. Each timber tread must have been individually fashioned by an especially skilled craftsman, and the staircase is knitted together by iron balusters which connect the treads. A remarkable tour de force of the joiner’s art its closest parallel is the staircase at Chevening in Kent. 

The Woodbrook branch of the family inherited Carrickblacker (an important late-seventeenth century house outside Portadown) when the senior line died out in the 1850s and produced a stolid series of soldiers, sailors and clerics. A racier era began in Edwardian times when Woodbrook was home to a younger son, Edward Carew Blacker, a sporting bachelor whose weekly visits to London were necessitated by his close involvement in running the book at his club, Whites.

Edward usually found time to visit his mistress in Brighton before heading home to County Wexford. Her presence was quite unsuspected until shortly after his death when his nephew's family received a heavy parcel in the morning post. The package proved to contain the family jewels, presented piece by piece to his ladyfriend throughout their long relationship. She had always realised that they were not his to give away but felt unable to return them to the family during his lifetime for fear of appearing ungrateful and causing hurt. 

Woodbrook lay empty for some years after E. C. Blacker’s death in 1932. The house was subsequently occupied by the Irish army during the Second World War and was then extensively modernised when his nephew Robert moved back to County Wexford with his wife and family after the sale of Carrickblacker in the 1950s. Eventually sold in the mid 1990s, Woodbrook and what was left of a once substantial estate was bought by Giles and Alexandra FitzHerbert in 1998. They continue to live in the house with their family today.

Information

Open for overnight accommodation with dinner

Cultural activities or events

Available for functions or corporate events

Available as a film location

Opening Hours