Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Lake House, Ballydugan

The Lake House in 2014

THE TOWNLAND of Ballydugan lies a few miles south-west of Downpatrick, County Down.

In olden times the county was occasionally referred to as Downshire, and the Hills, Marquesses of Downshire, take their title from this county.

The nearest railway station was at Downpatrick, though the line closed down in 1950.

Downpatrick Racecourse had a halt which operated on race days only.

Ballydugan flour mill, now restored as a guesthouse, was built in 1792.

Ballydugan Lake, which stands nearby, was used as a water source for the mill.

Ballydugan House stands between the Lake and the race-course to the east.

Directly beside the lake is the Lakeside Inn.

Ballydugan Cottage was associated with the adjacent mill and seems to have been built ca 1830.

This is a 1 1/2 storey house with dormers comprising three bays, overlooking Ballydugan Lake, on Drumcullan Road.

The cottage has a modest garden at the front, bounded to the road by a rendered boundary wall.

A sloped garden rises via stone steps to wooded ground at the north.

There is a larger garden at the opposite, lake side of the road, a well-maintained, sweeping lawn, bounded by Ballydugan Lake to the west.

It truly is a most picturesque landscape, with a fine prospect of the lake and the Mourne Mountains to the west.

Isaac Hardy rented the single-storey cottage and the associated mill from William Wallace, Robert Denvir and Sarah Rentoul, though we do not know whether Mr Hardy resided at the cottage.

By the mid-19th century, Ballydugan Cottage lay vacant whilst the flour mill, less than 70 years after its construction, had been abandoned.

In 1871, the cottage was leased by William Wallace & Partners.

Major Charles C Johnston resided at the cottage, then known as ‘Lake Cottage’ during the 1870s.

Major Johnston continued to reside at Lake Cottage until 1889, when the Rev Canon Lewis Arthur Pooler acquired it.

The cottage was subsequently considerably remodelled ca 1890 with the addition of Victorian features, including its dormer windows.

Dr Pooler was a canon of Down Cathedral and also Deputy Master of the County Down Grand Orange Lodge.

He continued to reside at Lake Cottage until the end of the 19th century.

In 1901 Lake Cottage was occupied by a solicitor called George T Harley, who changed its name to Ballydugan Cottage.

Mr Harley was a native of the city of Cork and resided at Ballydugan with his wife, Clara, and their daughter, May.

The 1901 census records that there were a number of staff employed to administer the household including a nurse and two domestic servants.

Ballydugan Cottage comprised 14 rooms at this time.

The Harleys continued to reside at the cottage until 1909, when the property briefly came into the possession of Mr C M Russell, also a solicitor.

Mr Russell resided at Ballydugan Cottage with his wife Ann until 1912, when it was bought outright from Colonel the Rt Hon Robert Hugh Wallace CB CBE (1860-1929), of Myra Castle, by one James Kelly.

Mr Kelly occupied the cottage during the 1930s; however, he had vacated it by the 1950s, when, about 1956, his relative, Kathleen Kelly, came into possession.

I visited the Lake House recently and it appears to be undergoing a complete restoration.

The garden in front of the house (beside the lake) has been landscaped and lawn sweeps down to the water.

I intend to revisit Ballydugan during the summer, have a small shandy in the Lakeside Inn, and photograph the Lake House and its garden beside the lake.

No comments :