Bellevue House, County Wicklow

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Bellevue House was an 18th-century country house set in its own 300 acre (120 ha) demesne, in the village of Delgany, County Wicklow some 25 km (16 miles) south of the City of Dublin. The house was built on an estate originally called Ballydonagh, after the townland which borders it to the south west. It was demolished in the 1950s. The Delgany Golf Club is now located where the house once stood.

The house had extensive gardens with winding paths and large glasshouses and fine panoramic views across the Glen of the Downs (an unspoilt wooded valley to the east) and across farmland westward to the Irish Sea. A special feature of the grounds was the Octagon, where a panther on springs would leap out.

History[edit]

The Ballydonagh demesne was bought in 1753 by David La Touche, a rich banker from Dublin of Huguenot extraction. He built a house between 1754 and 1756 at a cost of £30,000 and named it Bellevue. In 1785 it was inherited by his son Peter, who moved in when his wife died and married her cousin Elizabeth Vicars. Peter La Touche built the church in Delgany in 1789 and his wife opened an orphanage and school for female children in the grounds of Bellevue. He died in 1828.

The estate was now inherited by his nephew Peter La Touche, of Marley, County Dublin and previously the Member of Parliament for County Leitrim. Peter died two years later and it passed to his eldest son Peter David, who donated land to build St Patrick's church in nearby Greystones. Peter David died in 1857 and Bellevue then passed to his brother William Robert who lived until 1892. During William Robert's ownership a significant part of the estate was required for housing and a further portion was donated in 1887 for a new Presbyterian church to serve them. After William Robert the estate went to his brother Octavius and then to Octavius' son Peter, a major in the Royal Dublin Fusiliers. He died young in 1904 and the estate was divided between his widow and his three sisters, one of whom, Frances, moved in with her husband Dr Archer.

The family then ran into financial difficulties and were forced to take paying guests, sell off family heirlooms and sell further land for a school to be built. The Archers finally left Bellevue in 1913 after which the house fell into decay and was pulled down in the early 1950s. The land was taken over by the Forestry Division of the Department of Lands.

References[edit]

Coordinates: 53°08′24″N 6°06′50″W / 53.140°N 6.114°W / 53.140; -6.114