Lissadell House - History and Facts | History Hit

Lissadell House

County Sligo, Ireland

Image Credit: D Gore / CC

About Lissadell House

Lissadell House is an austere neo-classic Greek revivalist country house in County Sligo, Ireland – it was home to the Anglo-Irish aristocratic Gore-Booth family until 2003.

History of Lissadell House

In the early 17th century, the English soldier Sir Paul Gore was awarded a significant portion of land in Sligo (confiscated by the crown from the church) as a reward for his services during the Nine Years’ War. The original seat of the family and estate was Ardtermon Castle.

In 1830, Francis Goodwin began to build a new, neo-classic Greek revival style house for Sir Robert Gore-Booth and his family. The house was inhabited from 1833 and finished in 1835. Many consider the Ballysadare limestone and style to be extremely austere in style, and it was one of the last built like this in Ireland.

Lissadell remained the family home of the Gore-Booth family throughout the 19th and 20th centuries – most notably, it was the childhood home of the revolutionary Constance Markievicz (nee Gore-Booth), who was played an active part in the Easter Rising and was later the first woman to be elected to Parliament. The poet W. B. Yeats also visited Lissadell several times, using it as a kind of holiday retreat. He memorialised this connection in his poem “In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz”.

As the Gore-Booth family’s fortunes declined, Lissadell was increasingly neglected. Jossylyn Gore-Booth put the house up for sale in 2003, with the aim that the state would take it into public ownership because of the historcal connections. However, it was eventually sold to the Cassidy-Walsh family, who continue to live in and run Lissadell today following an extensive restoration programme of the house and gardens. In more recent years, there have also been major clashes between the Cassidy-Walsh family and Sligo Council over rights of way across the Lissadell Esate.

Lissadell House today

The house is accessible via guided tour only – given it’s still lived in, only the ground rooms are open to the public, but these wind through the rooms associated with Constance Markievicz. The coach house houses assorted exhibitions.

The gardens – Kitchen and Alpine – are also gorgeous. These were also restored in the early 2000s: years of neglect meant it took some serious vision to bring them back to anything like they might have once looked. 180 varieties of potato are grown in the Kitchen Garden, and the produce from Lissadell’s garden can be found in the surrounding area.

Look out for the Russian art and Arctic memorabilia belonging to Sir Henry Gore-Booth, an explorer. Until 2003, the house kept the furniture originally designed for it in the 19th century.

Getting to Lissadell House

Lissadell House is about 12km north of Sligo town on the N15 – head along the L3305 through Carney and follow signs to the house. Bus 474 will get you there from Sligo town. but be warned: it’s pretty irregular so be sure to check the most up to date timings before you set off.