Once upon a time, nestled at the entrance of the Glananea House estate, stood the charming Gate Lodge. With its pink front door that winked at all who passed by, it was a true centurion guard, overseeing the comings and goings of the world beyond.
But, did you know, dear reader, that in times long past, a different gate graced these grounds? Ah, that's where our story truly begins, for the gate was the very heart of the matter, and it held a secret charm that beckoned to me. You see, I found the main house, Glananea House itself, to be quite the dull affair, though no offense is intended.
A Glimpse into History
Originally known as Ralphsdale, the house was named after its predecessor, Ralph Smyth, who wisely enlisted the talents of the architect Samuel Woolley to design this country house. It stands in a reserved neoclassical style, its original splendor and form lovingly preserved through the years. A standout feature, if I may say so, is the finely carved Doric doorcase, with its intricate fanlight above the door and splendid interior plasterwork.
The Smyth family, during the 18th and 19th centuries, were esteemed residents of the area, owning vast lands and other estates, such as Drumcree, Barbavilla, and Collinstown.
The Mysterious Gates
Now, let me share with you the tale of the gates. In 1850, a new entrance emerged, complete with cast iron gate posts, wrought iron double gates, and looped railings, all elegantly set within an ashlar limestone plinth wall. But this was not the estate's most dramatic entrance, dear friends.
You see, in those days, one's standing in society depended greatly on one's name and reputation. To bear a lowly nickname was simply unacceptable. And so, an extraordinary change took place.
A Name and a Nickname
The elaborate and beautifully carved stone archway gate, a masterpiece designed by Samuel Woolley of London, was removed from the entrance of Glananea House. These gates, the finest example of Coade Stonework in all of Ireland, were sold and transported just up the road to the entrance of the Rosemead estate. Alas, Rosemead House may have faded into history, but its gates remain a testament to the craftsmanship of another era.
And why, you may ask, would one move such exquisite architecture to another location? Well, dear reader, it was all due to a nickname!
The grand archway gate served to distinguish its owner, Ralph Smyth, from the other well-to-do Smyths in the area. One must always stand out, you see. But with other Smyth families nearby, Ralph became known as "the Smyth with the gates."
A Fateful Decision
Furious at such a seemingly trivial moniker, he removed the gates and sold them to Rosemead, hoping to shed his label. Alas, the plan backfired, for he was then known as "the Smyth without the gates."
And so, the gates themselves became a symbol of history, of how a name and a nickname can shape the destiny of an estate. Glananea House may stand as it always has, but the gates have found a new home, telling a tale that still echoes through the ages.
And with that, dear reader, we conclude our tale of Glananea House and its gates, a story of architecture, nicknames, and the enduring legacy of a bygone era. The gates may have moved, but their story lives on, reminding us that sometimes, even the smallest details can leave the most lasting impressions.