BELLEVUE

 Location

 This detached, two storey, nine- bay country house was built between 1754 and 1756 for the La Touche family. Located north- west of Delgany village, it was accessed from the road connecting Delgany to the townland of Drummin. It was also accessed from the old Dublin- Wicklow Road. The house had a grand conservatory and fine glasshouses, a chapel and deer park.

History

The banker, David La Touche,  bought the estate of Ballydonagh with three hundred acres of land in 1753 from Rev. Francis Corbett,  Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. There he built a small two storey country house with a five-bay façade, which was completed in 1756. Along with Bellevue, David built a folly building called the Octagon on the estate. The ruins of this folly still survive today. The octagon was designed by Enoch Johnson.

Finest in Europe

David’s son Peter inherited Bellevue in 1785. Peter’s 2nd wife Elizabeth nee Vicars,  built an orphanage and a girls’ school in the grounds of Bellevue. Peter extended the house around 1790, with two bay wings flanking the old house and a central portico. The conservatories with their 500 ft long curved ribbon of glass took ten years to build, and were completed in 1793. The glasshouses  were said to be amongst the finest in Europe. Peter also built in the grounds a private chapel, designed by the noted Irish architect Richard Morrison. Peter was also responsible for the building of a corn mill on the estate and also a saw mill, whilst his wife built a beautiful thatched cottage to the west of the estate,the ruins of which can still be seen today.

While Bellevue was owned and occupied by the La Touche family, notable visitors included the renowned philosopher Edmond Burke and the theological writer Alexander Knox.

Later residents of Bellevue included the Hon. Hugh Howard, and David Frame.

Hugh Melville Forward Howard was married to Mary Emily Sands, the daughter of Benjamin Aymar Sands, a lawyer of New York.  Hugh was half- brother of the 7th Earl of Wicklow. Hugh’s son became the 9th and last Earl of Wicklow. His sister founded the Katherine Howard Foundation, which helped the elderly and disadvantaged throughout Ireland.

The house was acquired by David Duff Frame in the late 1930’s. David was the managing Director of Hammond Lane Foundry, whose company had built the mill wheel at Killincarrig Mill. His daughter died in 1934 whilst riding in Delgany. The house was demolished in the early 1950’s, though the ruins of the glasshouses still exist.

Evening entertainment/ viewing area built by the La Touche family at Bellevue
Image by J. Harrington
The Octgon entertainment area -entrance.
Image by J. Harrington
Octogon - viewing section over majestic Glen of the Downs
Image by J. Harrington
Bellevue House
A view of ancient and modern Dublin, with its improvements to the year 1796. To which is added a tour to Bellevue, in the county of Wicklow, the seat of Peter La Touch Esq., John Ferrar, Dublin 1796.
A view of ancient and modern Dublin, with its improvements to the year 1796. To which is added a tour to Bellevue, in the county of Wicklow, the seat of Peter La Touche Esq., John Ferrar, Dublin 1796.
The greenhouses at Bellevue.
A view of ancient and modern Dublin, with its improvements to the year 1796. To which is added a tour to Bellevue, in the county of Wicklow, the seat of Peter La Touche Esq., John Ferrar, Dublin 1796.
Ireland and its scenery, John Tillotson and T.J. Allman, London, 1863, pages 12-13.
How to spend a month in Ireland, and what it will cost, Sir Patrick Roney Cusack, Chatto and Windus Publishers, 1874, page 19.

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