Abandoned ireland


Stephenstown House,

Co. Louth

Documenting our Heritage

Stephenstown House, County Louth.

Built in 1785 by Matthew Fortescue for his new bride Marian McClintock.

A square Georgian house of 2 storeys over a basement 5 bays long and 5 bays deep. Extended in 1820 by the addition of 2 wings of one storey over basement. One of these wings was further demolished later in the 19th century. Some time in the earlier part of the 19th Century the windows were given Tudor-Revival hood mouldings but later the house was refaced with cement and the hood mouldings replaced by classical pediments and entablatures.

In 1817, William Galt was contracted by Matthew Fortescue to build two ponds, the water being needed for new gardens which had recently been constructed at Stephenstown house and also to drive to the grinding mills in the house farmyard.

William Galt who was married to Agnes Burns, the sister of the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns.

Galt was retained as manager to Mr. Fortescue after the completion of the ponds with the generous salary of 40 guineas per annum - the post also came with the use of a cottage as well as land for keeping a cow and growing vegetables. Galt adorned the whole site with a bewildering array of trees and shrubs with those years being part of the golden age of tree planting in Ireland. William and Agnes had no children but lived comfortably for the rest of their lives. Agnes lived to be 72 years old and died on October 17th 1834, her husband survived her by 13 years and died on March 3, 1847. The couple are buried in St Nicholas Cemetery in Dundalk.

Stephenstown pond is now a nature park and tourist attraction

Marianne Fortescue (1767-1849) married to Matthew Fortescue  and for whom Stephenstown house was built wrote a diary at the family home on Merrion Street in Dublin where they were staying when the 1798 uprising broke out. Her diary is of significant historical value. In July 1798 she was able to return to Stephenstown house, Country Louth.

Stephenstown house remained in the Fortescue family until recent times.

After the death of Mrs Pyke-Fortescue in 1966, Stephenstown was inherited by her nephew Major Digby Hamilton who sold it in 1974.

It was let fall into ruin in the 1980's.