Local history project by pupils of St. Patrick's B.N.S, Castlebar


     Our trip to Turlough Park House


A trip to Turlough

On the 30th of January 2001 fourth class of St. Patrick’s B.N.S. visited Turlough Park House, which is situated six miles from Castlebar along the N5. This is to be the site of the new national folk life museum which we hope will be open by this Summer. One of the boys in our class used to live there as a baby until his family sold it to the state in 1993. His ancestors are the Fitzgeralds who used to live there. He cannot remember much about it but his parents have told him lots of stories and given our class lots of interesting information for our project.

We travelled along by bus. Mrs. Uí Dhomhnaill, our class teacher, accompanied us on the trip. We left the school at half past ten and we were home at twenty five past twelve, just in time for lunch.

Turlough house was built in 1865 and there is a yew tree in front of the house that has been around since the house was built. There were lots of yew trees around Mayo and that's how it got called 'Maigh Eo' which means 'The plain of the Yews'.

We met a person called Noreen who would show us around the gardens. Noreen said they are trying to keep the gardens as authentic as they possibly can. She works as a gardener there while they are trying to restore it..

She took us to the vinery where the grapes used to grow. They made wine from the grapes which grew there. We saw where the flowers used to grow. She said they are trying to keep the flowers that they grew then.

We walked to the boiler room, which was just beside the vinery. We went into the boiler room two or three people at a time. It was in very good condition and the chimney and the tools, which were used to clean the boiler are still there.

Next we travelled on to the glass house that had to rebuilt. The foundations of the glass house are still there. They rebuilt a wall inside the glass house and it looks just like the original one.

The beams, which were used to redevelop the glass house, had to be much thicker than the original one for fire regulations.

We walked to the roadway, which connected the old estate to the grounds of the house. Some of the trees were knocked down to make way for the N5.

We came to a little lake that had three islands on it but now has only one. They filled it up in the summer with water and after a month the water was totally dried up. They thought there might be a swallow hole. They found one that was only eighteen inches deep. They filled up and they filled it again and it drained out again. Then a man in the area said there is a little stream going in the lake that leads to Foxford.

We progressed on to the gatemans house, which had two rooms in the whole house. The gateman used to let the family or visitors in the main gates to the house. There is a bridge near the gateman's lodge over the Castlebar river which runs through the park. This is a tributary of the river Moy.

Near the bridge beside the river  there is a hydraulic ram which was used for pumping all the water to the house and to all the houses around the village in olden days.

Noreen said that the ram is in perfect condition and might be put back into use sometime.


We advanced on to the old house, which was built in the 1500’s. The farmer for the Fitzgerald’s got a house behind the old house. There is another house, which belongs to another important person, situated in the village of Turlough.

We progressed on to the sunken garden which was dug out by hand long long ago.

We got to run around on the path in the garden.

We had great fun running around through the trees here.

We then travelled back to the house and went into the gunroom or drawingroom, which had pictures of the house and family on the mantlepiece above the fireplace. The fireplace in this room is made from red marble brought from Co. Cork. There is a fireplace in most of the rooms in the house and they are all made from different stone from all over the world.

In the hall there is Chinese paper on the white marble fireplace, which came from Italy.

The staircase is a floating stairs because you can see that there are no supporting beams under it. It just floats round the wall leading to upstairs. Above the floating staircase are three Georgian stained glass windows with the Fitzgerald coat of arms on the middle one.

We progressed to the library, which has a secret passage with books painted on it and it leads to the drawing room. We walked through the library and we came out another door. We continued to the kitchen. The windows were put up high in the kitchen so the servants couldn’t look out while working so the food would be good.

A man called Tom showed us around the museum. It has four floors in it. Each floor is in line with a terrace outside. Noreen told us that the museum would hold stuff that ordinary people used in the last two centuries. They are being stored in Kildare. They will have to be frozen to try and kill all the bugs in them. We couldn't visit all the museum because they're still getting it ready and anyway there's nothing in it yet.

We left Turlough Park House for the Turlough Round Tower. We went inside the abbey which is beside the tower.

We could see out the windows for miles around and could easily see Turlough Park House.

Then we explored the graveyard. Some of us found graves from the 1800’s. We didn’t have long there because we had to be back at big break. We were leaving and teacher sent Ross to try and find the old grave.

Around ten minutes later he found a grave from 1369 and he took a picture of it for a project we are doing on Turlough.

It was time for us to return to the bus and school. We had a most interesting and enjoyable day.

Report by Michael D.

Rang IV  


We hope you keep checking this webpage for updates on our work with the project.

Slán go fóill!