Abandoned ireland


Coolbawn House

Co. Wexford

Documenting our Heritage

In 1840 Francis Bruen employed the architect Frederick Darley (Junior) Esq. to built him a magnificent Tudor Revival House. This new house was to replace an earlier house which had been destroyed in an accidental fire in 1820. Francis Bruen was descended from the Cromwellian soldier James Bruen who had settled at Boyle, county Roscommon. The Bruen family had gone on to establish estate lands totalling more than 25,000 acres.

Coolbawn House was completed at a vast expense. In 1855 a visitor wrote of the location: 'The beauty of the scene will long remain impressed upon the lover of picturesque landscape'. The house was composed of fine cut stone, and finished with white granite obtained from the neighbouring mountains. The house was covered in elaborate ornaments, pinnacles and spires. The visitor said of this 'indeed, it may be very justly said to be overloaded with ornaments'.

Bruen was an absentee landlord, he lived in England and left the estate to be run by his agent, the much hated Mr Routledge. Each Friday fifty horses were shod in preparation for Mr Bruen, but he rarely made the journey from England.

Coolbawn was inherited by Francis Bruen's nephew, Henry Bruen who was an Irish Conservative Party politician, MP for county Carlow and a sworn member of the Privy Council of Ireland.

As recorded in the 1911 census Coolbawn House was occupied only by Henry's staff of four servants. The head of the household is recorded as being his cook, Mary Sharkland, age 43. Mary was accompanied by Susan Warran, age 25, parlour maid; Mary Kate Martin, age 16, kitchen maid and John Neill, age 28, domestic servant.

Coolbawn House met its end in The Irish Civil War; in 1923 it was burnt by the IRA.

This article is the copyright of Tarquin Blake, Abandoned Ireland, and may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Co. Wexford