Abandoned ireland


Ardoginna House,

Co. Waterford.

Documenting our Heritage

Ardoginna house was first mentioned in the Civil Survey 1654-1656, the proprietor's name was James Fzt Gerald gent, Irish papist.  The property consisted of 280 acres and was valued at £23.15.0.

The family name Costen was associated with the house in the 17th Century with several subsequent owners eventually leaving the house acquired by Sir France Prendergast. A story tells of the young heir of the house being falsely accused of stealing some valuable silver. The young man was pursued and fled across the cliff tops where he met his death at Croch an Oidhre (The Heir's Gibbet) where his horse failed to make a jump and he ended up being hung in the reins of the horse.

Ardoginna house passed into the hands of the Coghlans - one of the principle families of Co. Waterford at the time, however the Coughlans must have fallen on evil days. There are several accounts of the Widow Coughlan and her smuggling activities, of her two handicapped children and her two beautiful daughters. One daughter became Lady Barrymore and her sister Eliza went to live with her in London, where she met the widowed Duc de Castries and married him and returned with him to France after the Revolution. The Ardo estate came into the de Castries family through the marriage and was later acquired by Marshal McMahon (President and Marshal of France in 1873) on his marriage to Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of the Duc de Castries.

It was Marshal McMahon who put the Ardoginna property up for sale in 1865 with Sir Joseph McKenna buying the property. Sir Joseph was a nationalist M.P. for Youghal 1865 to 1868 and from 1874 to 1885.  He had been born in Dublin in 1819, was educated at Trinity College and called to the Bar in 1848. The McKennas brought about a period of refurbishment and prosperity at Ardoginna house. In 1895 the house was recorded "of scrupulously white washed walls, gleaming brilliantly in the sun". Those years from the 1860s to the 1920s appear to have been the heyday for Ardoginna house.

Sir Joseph McKenna had ten children six girls and four boys from his first marriage. He died on 15th August 1906.  He had re-married and the second Lady McKenna died in July 1907.  Both were buried in a vault in an adjoining field with a large stone angel on guard, however the statue wasn't enough to stop the grave-robbers who long ago desecrated the place.

Members of the McKenna family lived at Ardoginna for some years before moving to England.

During the period 1920-21 the house was let during the summer and after this time there was no caretaker and the place was looted, eventually sold and deprived of its roof and the final period of its desolation into ruin began.