Rossmore castle, the seat of the Westenra family in Monaghan, the Barons Rossmore, was demolished in the mid 1970’s as a public health hazard due to its state of decay. This once imposing and grand big house commanded views over the estate that is now Rossmore Park, which received over 400,000 visitors last year. However, the building that was central to this remarkable landscape has been out of view for a generation. Now the public will once again be able to marvel at this beautiful piece of our architectural heritage through a new mural, which has just been completed on a wall of the Westenra hotel in Monaghan Town. The mural, which is one of the largest in the country truly reflects the scale of the original building. It is also very fitting that the mural is on the wall of the hotel named after the Westenra family. This was made possible by kind permission of the owner and manager Frank McEneaney and the assistance of Monaghan Tidy Towns.
The mural is part of a county wide project; Monaghan Murals, which is managed jointly by Monaghan County Museum and the Patrick Kavanagh Centre. The project is funded by national Creative Ireland initiative through Creative Monaghan. Murals have already been completed in Carrickmacross, Ballybay and Castleblayney and it is hoped to create more throughout the county in the coming years. The Monaghan Murals project is working with nationally renowned mural artist, Omin, who has created stunning pieces of art throughout the country including several of the murals in Dundalk as part of the annual Seek festival.
Rossmore Castle was a very large and complex building, constructed on the outskirts of Monaghan town in Tudor Gothic style in 1827 by the 2nd Lord Rossmore, to the designs of William Vitruvius Morrison. The original name for the site on which it was constructed was Cortolvin Hills. An extension was added in 1858 in Scottish Baronial style, designed by William Henry Lynn. A main feature of the original building was a large square tower and turret with crow step battlements. The extension also featured two towers.
The building underwent further small changes, several of which were inspired by a competition which had developed over the years between Lord Rossmore and Mr. Shirley of Lough Fea, as to which of them could claim to have the largest room in County Monaghan. As a result, the drawing room in Rossmore Castle was enlarged five times!
Eventually the combined changes and additions resulted in a building with three towers and over 117 windows in 53 different shapes and sizes. After World War II the house developed a severe case of dry rot, and the 6th Lord Rossmore and his family were forced to leave the castle and take up residence in Camla Vale, a Georgian house owned by the family and situated within the estate grounds.
To find out more about the Monaghan Murals project go to www.monaghan.ie/museum/monaghan-murals/
Rossmore Castle in Minecraft
Monaghan County Museum has also worked on a cross border project with Amma Creative Learning Centre in Armagh to bring Rossmore Castle and the Park surrounding it into the virtual world of Minecraft. This innovative project has rebuilt the castle through the Microsoft Minecraft game and will allow us to once again walk through its regal halls as well as exploring the incredible stories that Rossmore Park has to offer. For more information on this new and exciting project follow this link www.ammacentre.org/rossmore