Be Inspired - Magherintemple Gate Lodge

The Irish Landmark Trust completed the restoration work on this project in June 2011 and it is now available as self-catering accommodation. It is a beautiful building situated just outside the town of Ballycastle, Co. Antrim. Magherintemple Gate Lodge is interesting not only because of its architectural history but also because of its historical importance as the seat of the Casement family. In fact, a descendant of the family still lives there to this day. More pictures will be added as this restoration continues. Click here for information on renting this Gate Lodge...

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The gate lodge was built in the Scottish Baronial style in 1874, possibly by the architect S.P. Close. At the same time as the lodge was constructed, an extension was added to the main house also in the same style. The family believes that the main house was designed by John Lanyon but no definite evidence for the name of the architect survives. The original Georgian House was relatively modest but contained good reeded ornamentation with the Victorian addition containing much fancy pine detailing. It was John Casement, the father of Sir Roger, who built on the Victorian wing, adding a date stone and his initials over the drawing room window. The Scottish Baronial style he chose was very plain. However, the stepped gables, finials and chimney stacks break up the austerity of the building. This Victorian addition considerably improved the value of the estate. We know that in 1834, the house was valued at only £11.15.0 and between 1851 and 1879, the house and outbuildings were valued at £25. In 1878 it was shown as "rebuilding", and in the following year the valuation shot up to £60.

John Casement inscribed over the front door of his home, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths" and later in his life decided to take the pledge. Many of the next generation of the Casement family took to seafaring while the fate of another member of the family, Sir Roger Casement, is well known.

The gate lodge, above, provides a fitting entrance to the estate as it echoes the style of the main house. It is of a simple three bay construction with a steeply pitched roof with sawtooth cresting. The walls are constructed of uncoursed squared limestone rising to crowsteps on the main gables which are topped with ball finials and there is the final addition of a date stone over the door.

The estate is entered through decorative entrance gates with a circular motif. Concave dwarf walls topped with ornate iron railings with the same circular motif lead up to the gates.

Although at first glance the lodge appears to be in good condition, a closer inspection reveals that this is not the case. Unoccupied buildings deteriorate quickly and one of the major problems is always water ingress. Fortunately, the roof on the lodge has remained intact so the damp only becomes apparent at the rear of the lodge, and here the crumbling brickwork and vegetation is all too visible.

Despite the poor condition of parts of the building, true to the Trust's philosophy, as little as possible will be altered. All the existing rooms in the lodge will be remain as they are and will be transformed into a comfortable living room and two double bedrooms, while the existing yard walls will be retained and a bathroom and kitchen/dining area inserted behind them.

The purpose of The Irish Landmark Trust is to save buildings of architectural merit or historical importance that would otherwise be lost forever. The Trust undertakes the conservation & restoration of these buildings and sympathetically converts them into self-catering holiday homes thus ensuring their future survival.

As a charitable organisation, we rely on the generosity of others to ensure that our past has a future. Irish Landmark is totally dependent on the funds we receive from individual donors, grant giving bodies and fundraising initiatives. Without this support these unique buildings would not have become Landmarks and most probably would have decayed further until they were beyond any possible rescue.

Caroline Crowley
Tel: 00 353 1 670 4733
www.irishlandmark.com

Caroline Crowley is project Projects Officer for The Irish Landmark Trust and is responsible for overseeing the conservation and renovation of the Trust's properties. A graduate in the History of Design with a specialisation in Architectural History, Caroline previously worked for the Royal Commission on the Historical Monuments of England in the Threatened Buildings Section.

If you are renovating an old property and would like to have it included on these pages we would love to hear from you. Please contact us with the details and we will create a page for your project.