Fodor's Expert Review Belvedere House, Gardens and Park

Mullingar Historic Home

A stately mid-18th-century hunting lodge with extensive gardens, Belvedere House occupies a beautiful spot on the northeast shore of Lough Ennell. Access to the mansion is through the servants' entrance—so you can see what life behind the scenes was like back then. The interiors are a quirky mix of Georgian stateliness and Victorian charm. The noted bow and Palladian windows have great parkland views sloping down to the lake and its islands.

It was built in 1740 by architect Richard Cassels for Robert Rochfort, 1st Earl of Belvedere, and his wife, Mary. She was accused of having an affair with Robert's brother Arthur, which was denied, but she was locked away in the Rochfort's ancestral home at Gaulstown House for 31 years on a charge of adultery. During this time, Robert had considerable work carried out on Belvedere House to make it more homey; one of the most impressive features he commissioned was the rococo plasterwork ceiling by the renowned stucco artist Bartholomew... READ MORE

A stately mid-18th-century hunting lodge with extensive gardens, Belvedere House occupies a beautiful spot on the northeast shore of Lough Ennell. Access to the mansion is through the servants' entrance—so you can see what life behind the scenes was like back then. The interiors are a quirky mix of Georgian stateliness and Victorian charm. The noted bow and Palladian windows have great parkland views sloping down to the lake and its islands.

It was built in 1740 by architect Richard Cassels for Robert Rochfort, 1st Earl of Belvedere, and his wife, Mary. She was accused of having an affair with Robert's brother Arthur, which was denied, but she was locked away in the Rochfort's ancestral home at Gaulstown House for 31 years on a charge of adultery. During this time, Robert had considerable work carried out on Belvedere House to make it more homey; one of the most impressive features he commissioned was the rococo plasterwork ceiling by the renowned stucco artist Bartholomew Cramillion. He spent much of his family fortune dotting the gardens of the estate with "follies," including the Jealous Wall, a gigantic mock-castle ruin that served to cover up a view of the adjoining estate, owned by another brother, also hated. It now stands as Ireland's largest folly and is loved by Instagrammers.

You can walk around the 160 acres of the estate and 10 km (6 miles) of woodland trails; some walks take you past the Gothic arch folly. Belvedere rebranded its historical interpretation in autumn 2019 to add interactive panels, audio guides covering both the house and grounds bringing history to life in a new way through illustrated characters and even talking portraits. In the dining room, for example, you can listen to the commentary of the Wicked Earl, known for his extreme jealousy, hosting a lavish dinner party for his friends. Also on the grounds are a café and four children's play areas, which include a zipline, and a fairy garden. At the back of the house look out for the sculpture of King Malachy, the last High King of Ireland, made from the stump of an old oak tree whose story is recounted in the audio tour.

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Historic Home Family City Park Viewpoint Trail

Quick Facts

N52
Mullingar, Co. Westmeath  Ireland

044-934–9060

www.belvedere-house.ie

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: House and parkland €8

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