French Family Association

The Official Website of the Surname French

Ireland Castles

This chart updated by Mara French on 10/24/08. Send any corrections or additions to this chart to Revisions: 2008

A Guide to Irish Country Houses

A Guide to Irish Country Houses, by Mark Bence-Jones, 1988

Castle ffrench, Ahascragh, County Galway

See the ffrenches of Castleffrench

An elegant ashlar-faced house of 3 storeys over a basement, built 1779 by Sir Charles ffrench, Mayor of Galway; replacing a late C17 house on a different site which itself replaced a castle built by the ffrench family soon after they bought the estate in late C16. 5 bay entrance front with 3 bay breakfront, the outer bays being very wide. Fanlighted and pilastered doorcase; solid roof parapet with urns. 3 bay sie; 4 bay rear elevation with twin round-headed windows in the centre, lighting the main and secondary staircases. Interior platerwork of a style characteristic to Co. Galway, with delicate naturalistic foliage and flower swags. Foliage and trophies on ceiling of hall; Irish harps and other emblems in drawing room frieze; flowers, foliage and birds in sideboard alcove of dining room. Doors and shutters of handsome joinery, with octagonal- and lozenge-shaped panels. Slightly curing staircase behind hall with balustrade of plain slender wooden uprights. Early in C19, 2nd Lord ffrench lost a great deal of money owing to the carelessness of the manager of the family bank; the family fortunes suffered a further blow with the Famine, when 3rd Lord ffrench refused to collect any rents from his tenants; so that in 1848 Castleffrench had to be sold. It was, however, bought back by the parents of the 7th Lord ffrench in 1919.

Cloonyquin, Elphin, Co. Roscommon

See the ffrenches of Roscommon

A plain 2 storey 3 bay Georgian house, orignally a shooting-lodge but occupied permanently by the Frenches after their original house, about a mile away was burnt; subsequently enlarged at various dates, notibly by the addition of a single-storey lean-to with a porch at one end of it, and a 2-storey wing. The boyhood home of Percy French, entertainer, writer of immortal Irish songs and watercolourist. Sold ca. 1955 by Mr. H. A. St. George French; afterwards demolished.

Clonbrock, Ahascragh, Co. Galway

A house of 3 storeys over a basement built between 1780 and 1788 by Robert Dillon, afterwards 1st Lord Clonbrock, to the design of William Leeson; replacing the old castle of this branch of the Dillons which remained intact until 1807 when it was burnt owing to a bonfire lit to celebrate the birth of 2nd Baron's son and heir, 7 bay entrance front with 3 bay pedimented breakfront; doorway with blocked engaged Tuscan columns and entablature. A single-storey Doric portico by John Hampton was added ca. 1824; while in 1855 3rd Baron added a single-storey 2 bay bow-ended wing to the right of the entrance front, which is balanced by a single-storey wing on the left hand side, sthought the two do not match. Good interior plasterwork of the 1780s, in the manner of Michael Stapleton. Cassical medallions and husk ornament of the walls of the hall, at the inner end of which stood a splended organ in a mahogany case surmounted by a baron's coronet. Medallions and husk ornament also on the walls of the staircase hall, which has an oval ceiling of particularly graceful plasterwork on fan pendentives; coloured salmon pink, brown, pale grey and white. Stone staircase with balustrade of brass uprights. Large drawing room with coved ceiling and modillion cornice in 1855 wing opening with double doors into a smaller drawing room in the main block, to form what is in effect one long room; which a few years ago, still had a delightful early-Victorian character; with a grey watered silk wallpaper and curtains of cream and faded pink as a background to the glitter of 2 crystal chandeliers and of the many gilt frames of the pictures and of the mirror over the fine statuary marble chimneypiece. When the room was being fitted up, 3rd Baron's son, who at thae time was a young diplomat in Vienna, wrote home to give instructions on how the floor was to be laid, so that it might be suitable for dancing the latest waltzes. After the death of 5th and last Baron 1926, Clonbrock passed to his sister, Hon Ethel Dillon; it was subsequently made over to her newphew. Mr. Luke Dillon-Mahon, who sold it 1976. The Shauer family family bought it, only to have it burn down in 1984. Only the outside structure still stands.

French Park, Co. Roscommon

See the ffrenches of Frenchpark

An early Palladian winged house of red brick; probably built 1729 by John French to the design of Richard Castle, 3 storey 7 bay centre block, 3 bay pedimented breakfront with lunette window in pediment; late-Georgian pillared porch, 2 storey wings 5 bays long and 4 deep joined to main block by curved sweeps as high as they are themselves; the curved sweeps having 3 windows in their upper storey and a soor flanked by 2 windows below. 2 storey panelled hall; stairs with slender turned balusters ascending round it to gallery; panelling with bolection mouldings; walnut graining. Dining room originally hung with embossed leather which was later replaced with wallpaper; C19 plasterwork cornice and rosette and circle in centre of ceiling. Drawing room on 1st floor above dining room, with a Bossi chimneypiece at one end and a late C18 Ionic chimeny piece at the other; good compartmented plasterwork ceiling executed for Arthur French, 4th Lord De Freyne, late C19. Fine C18 wrought-iron entrance gates. Now a roofless ruin, having been sold by 7th and present Lord De Freyne 1953 and afterwards demolished. Photos show the front, the hall, the dining room, the hall and staircase, and the drawing room (to come later). I (Mara French) visited this castle first in 1985 before the walls were destroyed, and then in 1996 after it was completely demolished and all ffrench artifacts and tombstones in the Catholic Church were removed. Photos to be added later.