Listed by Sotheby’s International Realty
A splendid eighteenth century Gothic Revival Castle majestically positioned within a rolling parkland estate of 500 acres (with 500 additional acres available).
Knockdrin Castle is one of the finest picturesque castellated country houses built in Ireland during the first half of the nineteenth century. The castle was built by Sir Richard Levinge [1785-1848], who first commissioned Sir Richard Morrison to design a new Gothic Revival style castle residence circa 1810.
However, neither of Morrison’s two designs were built and the built design is attributed to James Shiel, assistant to Francis Johnston, one of Ireland’s best known architects, and a noted exponent of this idiom of architecture. Elements of the front façade do appear to have been influenced by the Morrison designs.
The castle is noteworthy as one of the leading examples of the transition from Classicism to Gothic, when the latter was still a style and not yet an ideology and the former classical principles very much survive beneath a veneer of ornamentation. Knockdrin’s late-mediaeval trappings are lightly worn and the castle is in essence a classical Georgian country house in Gothic dress. Possessing none of the heaviness customarily associated with the Gothic Revival Movement and benefiting from large windows, the principal reception rooms facing south, the accommodation is elegant and bright.
A most striking feature at Knockdrin is the top-lit staircase made of carved oak, like the doors throughout the castle. An abundance of natural light provided by a central glazed dome. The elaborate first floor gallery is decorated with fluted shafts and a sequence of ogee-headed niches around the walls. Reception rooms on the ground floor include a reception hall, drawing room, dining room, ballroom and library. The accommodation within the castle extends to some 19,375 square feet and provides 7 principal bedrooms [12 in total], including the Crown Bedroom where British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill stayed during the War of Independence [his parents being regular hunting visitors to the estate]. 4 estate lodges complete the accommodation.
The picturesque is also celebrated beyond the castle with an attractive undulating topography throughout the estate, which includes belts of highly productive arable lands along with commercial woodland and a small lake [Lough Drin]. The core estate demesne extending to over 1,000 acres is intact (with 500 acres offered in this lot and an additional 500 available by negotiation), relatively unique in an Irish context, with the castle privately and centrally positioned within the lands and enjoying uninterrupted views over estate lands to the distant hills beyond.