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November Blog 2023

The Enchanted Saga of Glananea House and Its Mysterious Gates

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The Enchanted Saga of Glananea House and Its Mysterious Gates

In the heart of County Westmeath, where time seemed to stand still, there stood the enchanting Glananea House. At its entrance, a charming Gate Lodge beckoned travelers with a pop of pink, as if the very door itself were winking at passersby. This gate lodge, a sentinel of a bygone era, watched over the comings and goings of a world that had long moved beyond its centuries-old stones.

Yet, dear reader, as we step into this intriguing tale, let me transport you to a time even before the pink door adorned the gate lodge. It was a time when Glananea House was known as Ralphsdale, named after the illustrious Ralph Smyth, who entrusted the brilliant architect Samuel Woolley with the design of this stately country house.

The house, standing in a dignified neoclassical style, retained the grandeur of its original form. Its Doric doorcase, an intricately carved masterpiece, welcomed visitors with grace, while the delicate plasterwork within whispered of a time when craftsmanship was an artistry unto itself.

The Smyth family, a respected name during the 18th and 19th centuries, held sway over the lands, their estates stretching far and wide, including Drumcree, Barbavilla, and Collinstown.

But the real mystery lay not within the walls of the house but at the entrance, where history and fate converged in an unexpected way. In 1850, a new entrance graced the estate, a masterpiece of cast iron and wrought iron, standing as a testament to the elegant tastes of the era.

It was during these times when one's social standing hinged on reputation and name, when even the slightest nickname could shatter one's prestige. And it was here, dear friends, that our tale takes a curious twist.

The grand stone archway gate, a work of art designed by the London-based Samuel Woolley, was unceremoniously removed from Glananea House. Its intricate Coade Stonework, the finest in all of Ireland, was sold and transported up the road to the entrance of Rosemead estate.

Now, why would one relocate such an architectural masterpiece, you ask? Ah, it was all because of a nickname.

This gate was more than just an entrance; it was a distinction. It set Ralph Smyth apart from other Smyths in the area. He was known as "the Smyth with the gates." But, oh, how fate can be capricious! Furious at such an apparently insignificant moniker, Ralph decided to part with the gates, hoping to shed his label. Alas, his plan backfired, and he was henceforth known as "the Smyth without the gates."

And so, dear reader, the gates themselves became a symbol of history—a tale of how a name, a nickname, and a pair of exquisite gates left an indelible mark on the legacy of Glananea House, a legacy that still resonates through the annals of time.

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