DiCamillo Companion
Ireland

Westport House

  • Earlier Houses: A 17th century house, supposedly built on the foundations of a castle owned by the 16th century pirate queen, Grace O’Malley, occupied the site of the current house.

    Built / Designed For: John Browne, 1st Earl of Altamont.

    House & Family History: Westport is noted for its imperial staircase, made between 1857 and 1859 of Sicilian marble and featuring a metalwork balustrade by Skidmore. The staircase was created by George Wilkinson for the 3rd Marquess of Sligo and occupies the site of the burned Library wing. The Browne family, who owned Westport from the 17th century until 2017, are direct descendants of Grace O'Malley. In 2017 the Brownes sold Westport House, including most of the contents, together with 455 acres, to Hotel Westport Ltd. for €10 million.

    Collections: The collection includes pictures by Sir Joshua Reynolds (including a portrait of the 1st Earl of Altamont), a fine collection of landscapes painted in the locality by James O'Connor, and other paintings, including canvases by James and George Barrett, Gibson, Wotten, and Cha Ion. There is also a collection of old English and Irish silver, including 18th century Irish "potato" rings; Waterford glass; a library with many old Irish books and manuscripts, and the flag of the Mayo Legion, which was brought to Ireland by General Humbert when he invaded the country in 1798 and which has been in Westport House ever since (his troops occupied the House).

  • Architect: Thomas Ivory

    Date: 1778
    Designed: Additions for 2nd Earl of Altamont
    (Attribution of this work is uncertain)
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    Architect: Richard Castle (Cassels)

    Date: Circa 1730
    Designed: House for 1st Earl of Altamont

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    Architect: Peter Frederick Robinson

    Date: 1807
    Designed: Marine Bath for 1st Marquess of Sligo

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    Architect: Henry Holland

    Date: 1808
    Designed: Gateway (demolished circa 1958) for 1st Marquess of Sligo; built after Holland's death.

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    Architect: Benjamin Dean Wyatt

    Date: 1819
    Designed: Library and Gallery Wing (burned) for 2nd Marquess of Sligo

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    Architect: James Wyatt

    Date: 1781-96
    Designed: Interiors (1781) and Greenhouse (1796) for 1st Marquess of Sligo

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  • Country Life: CXXXVII, 1010, 1074, 1965.

  • Title: Guide to Irish Country Houses, A
    Author: Bence-Jones, Mark
    Year Published: 1988
    Reference: pgs. 283-284
    Publisher: London: Constable and Company
    ISBN: 0094699909
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600-1840, A - HARDBACK
    Author: Colvin, Howard
    Year Published: 2008
    Reference: pgs. 530, 880, 1173, 1184
    Publisher: New Haven: Yale University Press
    ISBN: 9780300125085
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Debrett's Peerage and Baronetage, 1990
    Author: Kidd, Charles; Williamson, David (Editors)
    Year Published: 1990
    Reference: pg. P 1131
    Publisher: London: Debrett's Peerage Limited (New York: St. Martin's Press, Inc.)
    ISBN: 0312046405
    Book Type: Hardback

    Title: Ireland of the Welcomes (magazine)
    Author: NA
    Year Published: NA
    Reference: May-Jun 2002
    Publisher: Dublin: Irish Tourist Board
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Magazine

  • House Listed: Unknown

    Park Listed: Unknown

  • "Warrior Women" (2003 - TV documentary, episode 1.2, "Grace O' Malley, Pirate Queen"). "Rosamunde Pilcher - Wiedersehen am Fluss" [aka "Return to the River"] (2007 - TV series in German). "Who Do You Think You Are" (2007 - BBC TV documentary, episode 4.2, "John Hurt," stories of an illegitimate child of the Marquess of Sligo). "About the House" (2007 - TV building documentary by Duncan Stewart, episode 8.10, house tour by Sheelyn Browne). "Rosamunde Pilcher - Herzenssehnsucht" [aka "A Heart's Desire"] (2009 - TV series in German).
  • Past Seat / Home of: John Browne, 1st Earl of Altamont, 18th century; Peter Browne, 2nd Earl of Altamont, 18th century; Henry Ulick Browne, 5th Marquess of Sligo, 19th century; Denis Edward Browne, 10th Marquess of Sligo, until 1991.

    Current Ownership Type: Corporation

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Visitor Attraction

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 3539-827-766

    Fax: 3539-825-206

    Email: info@westporthouse.ie

    Website: http://www.westporthouse.ie

    Historic Houses Member: No