Photographer's Note

This is the ruins of Louth Hall, a great castle and mansion situated in the town of Tallanstown in County Louth.

The original part of this site is the gothic castle which was built in the 14th century, from this shot, its visible on the right, partially obscured by the trees.
In the 18th and 19th century, the castle was extended by the addition of the Georgian mansion. Even though Georgian design is common in Irelands cities, it is quite unusual to see it in a rural setting like this, combined with the older castle.

The estate was vast with around 1100 acres of land surrounding the sumptuous home. Most of the houses history is written around the Plunkett family, whose most famous member, Saint Oliver Plunkett hid from the British here in the 18th century. (on an unrelated note, the head of Saint Oliver Plunkett is on display in the catholic church in nearby Drogheda).

The work on building the original castle lasted 5 years, which at this time saw the planting of a demesne wood. This wood was laid out in such a design that one could walk around for a whole day without walking over the same patch twice or without being exposed to sun or rain. The garden and woods near the castle were laid out in the form of the Plunkett Family Crest. And it was at that time the townland of Tallanstown changed its name to Louth Hall.

The house in its current form survived through the reigns of many British monarchs, including Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabth I. While the plunkett family maintained favour with the English monarchy, they did not always escape attention.

In 1579 the 4th Lord Thomas Louth was called to the Queens Court to answer why he should have on his castle 365 windows which was in fact the same number as was on the castle of her Royal Highness. He escaped punishement, as he did not design the castle, but he was ordered to block up some of the windows in the estate.

It is hard to imagine it now, but a local who allowed me permission to enter these private lands told me that this house was occupied and in good order until the late 1960's, at which time it was abandoned to the elements. It became a popular place for local kids to gather, and a celebratory party in the 1980's led to a fire breaking out in the home. The local fire services were unable to get the trucks to the house, and sadly had no choice but to let the beautiful house and castle burn.

Today it stands rotting on private farmland, surrounded by cows. It is completely gutted on the inside, and is not much more than a stone shell.
It does still command an impressive view over the local town though, and makes a beautiful addition to the town, as it is very visible from the road when entering the area from the south.

Thanks for looking.

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4177 W: 26 N: 9240] (33774)
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