Abandoned ireland




Documenting our Heritage



Moorehall was built by George Moore, it was started in 1792 and finished in 1795.

The house features 2 bays on each side of a central break front similar to that of Tyrone House, Galway - also of the same architect.  A triple window is framed by short fluted pilasters on console brackets above a Venetian window above the entrance doorway, which is beneath a shallow single storey Doric portico. The top of the portico is treated as a balcony with ironwork railings.

George Moore had amassed a fortune from his business activities in the the wine and brandy trade in Spain and also from shipping seaweed from Galway for the manufacture of the iodine. He operated his business from Alicante in Northern Spain.

George sold his property in Alicante for £250,000 in 1784 and returned to Mayo in 1790 and set about the task of building Moorehall on land he had purchased from Farragh Mc Donnell a year earlier. George ignored local advice for the location of Moorehall and built the property on Muckloon hill. The folklore in the area was that the site was unlucky because of events that took place around 400 A.D. when Brian Orbsen was King of Connaught. Towards the end of the century Brian was killed by enemies and his Druid Drithliu escaped into hiding on Muckloon Hill. Drithliu was eventually hunted down and killed on the shores of Lough Carra.

George Moore spent £2,200 defending his radical son John Moore, when at the 1798 rising his son had been captured and sentenced by Lord Cornwallis to deportation. George  Moore went blind from a stroke before his death. He died November 1799, one month before his son John who died in Waterford, en route to New Geneva. George Moore is buried in Ashbrook (near Straide Co. Mayo).

The Moore's were unusual in that they were Catholic landlord gentry, prior to George the family was however Protestant. Unlike most other landlords of their time, they were considered to be 'decent'. It is still remembered that no one died on the Moore estate during the famine and no evictions were ever recorded.

From 1795 the Moore family and their descendanys continuously occupied the house until 1910 when the house was periodically unoccupied until it was burnt down by the old IRA in January 1923 during the Irish Civil War.

Moorehall was designed by the Waterford Architect John Roberts, who also designed Tyrone House, Co. Galway and Waterford Cathedral.

Inside Moorehall there was much Italian plasterwork - remnants of which still remain, other rooms were oak panelled. The estate was planned as a manor and had all the outbuildings to make the house and estate a self-sufficient entity.

The estate is presently owned by Coillte Teoranta, in state care and is open to the public.

Access is not permitted to the house interior.

The Moores

Many members of the Moore family became noteworthy in Irish and International events.

George Moore (1729 - 1799)

George Moores ancestors came from Straide in Co Mayo. He was honoured by the ruling Spanish Aristocracy and was admitted to the Spanish Royal Court in the 1760s. He made his fortune in the wine and brandy trade operating his business from Alicante in Northern Spain. In the 1790's George returned to Mayo with a fortune and commissioned the construction of Moorehall.

John Moore (1767 - 1799 )

John was educated in France and became a lawyer in both London and Dublin. When the rebellion of 1798 began he came back to Mayo immediately and was appointed President of the Connacht Republic by General Humbert, in Castlebar in 1798. He was later captured and sentenced to death by Lord Cornwallis. However the sentence was later reduced to deportation after his father spent £2,200 defending him. John Moore however died in Waterford, en route to New Geneva. In 1961 his body was exhumed and brought from Waterford under full military escort. John Moore was re-interred at The Mall, Castlebar with full military honours on August 13th 1961.

George Henry Moore ( 1810 - 1870 )

George Henry was educated at Oscott, a Catholic school in England, and at Cambridge. He had an interest in horses. His brother Arthur Augustus was killed after a fall from 'Mickey Free' in the 1845 Aintree Grand National. In 1846 at the height of the famine, he entered a horse called Coranna for the Chester Gold Cup. Long odds and a betting coup netted Moore £17,000. He imported thousands of tons of grain to feed his tenants. A cow was also given to each tenant family. A portrait of Coranna still hangs in the church in Carnacon.

It is still remembered that no one died on the Moore estate during the famine and no evictions were ever recorded.

George Henry Moore was M.P. for Mayo in 1847 and was a founder of the Irish Party at Westminster. During the life of George Henry, O'Donovan Rossa and also the future Cardinal Newman were frequent visitors to Moorehall. George Henry is buried on the Moorehall estate at a place called Kiltoom. His graveside oration was delivered by The Land League Priest - Fr. Lavelle.

George Augustus Moore ( 1852 - 1933 )

George Augustus Moore became a distinguished writer in the early 1900s. He was an associate of many of the French Impressionist artists and portraits of Moore by Manet, Degas, Orpen, Tonks and Yeats hang in galleries all over the world. Russel, Cummins, Gogarty, Lady Gregory, Hone, Martyn, Hyde, Maria Edgeworth, Osborne and W.B. Yeats were among the many literary visitors to Moorehall.

George Augustus Moore's most important works include Ester Waters, Hail and Farewell, The Lake, and Confessions of a Young Man. He is still studied internationally as part of the Irish Literary Revival. He is hugely important in the USA and the Hayden Library of Arizona has the most extensive collection of his work in the world. This collection was the property of Edwin Gilcher, a noted American Bibliographer. He was involved with the setting up of the Abbey Theatre and The Gaelic league. His last book 'The Brook Kerith' deals with an alternative life of Christ - for this George spent much time in later life travelling the Holy Land. George's ashes are interred on Castle Island on Lough Carra in view of Moorehall.

Maurice Moore ( 1854 - 1939 )

Senator Colonel Maurice Moore served with the Connacht Rangers in the Boer War and became involved with human right issues. He is credited by many as the founder of The Irish Volunteers. He was appointed by the First Dail as envoy to South Africa in 1920. He served in the Seanad from 1923 under both W T Cosgrave and E DeValera where he moved legislation for the return of Irish prisoners in English jails and argued for the retention of UCG when it was under threat. He was also deeply involved with the establishment of The Co-operative movement in Ireland.