Buildings of Bellevue Demesne

Mrs. La Touche's Cottage on the western side of Bellevue Demesne, today little remains of the cottage
From the Collection of the National Library of Ireland Photography Collection
A photograph showing the conservatory and the private chapel at Bellevue House
From the National Library of Ireland Photography Collection
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.
Evening entertainment/ viewing area built by the La Touche family at Bellevue
Image by J. Harrington
The Conservatory at Bellevue Demesne
From the Laurence Collection, National Library of Ireland


Bellevue Demesne was located just west of Delgany village and was accessed by four entrances, two which lead onto Kindlestown Hill. The main entrance was through the Lion Gate, which was off the road that led from Delgany village to Glen of the Downs. Today this entrance is the entrance to Delgany Golf Club. The Demesne stood on three Hundred acres, which included fifty five acres of Deer Park and was described in its heyday as one of Wicklow’s showpieces. Central to the demesne was Bellevue House and the grounds contained a fabulous conservatory, a chapel, school house and several follies which are mentioned below.

Mrs La Touche’s Cottage

The two storeyed cottage was located near the northern entrance into Bellevue Demesne next to a small stream and was on the edge of a beautifully verdant lawn. The Swiss styled cottage was built in a rustic manner and had a thatched roof. It was designed by Mrs. La Touche and contained a number of apartments, one on the ground floor level, which was used for the purposes of a museum and one on the upper floor used as a dining room. The ruins can be seen today in the Glen of the Downs woods, close to the car park.

Octagon House

The Octagon was erected in 1766 of Brick to the design of the architect Enoch Johnson, who also work on projects for the Earl Fitzwilliam in County Wicklow. The Octagon had extensive views of the Scalp, the sugar loaf mountain, Dromin, Howth, Lambay and Kindlestown Hill. In the hall of the Octagon building was a stuffed panther. The interior was very lavish with a ”judicious collection of Books” and had stained glass windows and decorated with shells. The ruins of the Octagon can be seen in Glen of the Downs woods, it is approached through a hillside forest walk.

Gothic Dining room or Banqueting room

The Gothic Dining Room was added to the Octagon in 1788 and was designed by the noted Dublin Architect, Francis Sandys. Sandys died at Bellevue on the 15th of July 1795. It was located below the Octagon and built of rustic masonry in the gothic style.

Ice House

The Ice House of Bellevue Demesne was located near the Octagon and today is closed off and hidden.

Rustic Temple

The rustic temple was located to the east of the Octagon and by 1822 was recorded as in poor repair and was recorded as ruinous by 1843. It overlooked the grounds of Bellevue and was built of unbarked wood and thatched with heather. Sadly this temple has long since disappeared.

The Turkish Tent

The Turkish Tent at Bellevue was built in by David La Touche in the late 18th century, it was approached by a serpentine gravel walk and was built in 1793 to the design of the Dublin architect Francis Sandys. The tent was adorned by riggings of a ship wrecked off Turkey and had furnishings in the style of an eastern pavilion. Sandys is believed to have also worked for the La Touche family at their hunting lodge Luggala near Roundwood. He is believed to have died at Bellevue House in 1795.

Orangery and Glass Houses

The Orangery at Bellevue built as part of the glass houses and was in a square form and was planted in 1789, with orange trees in the centre. The northern part of the orangery was covered with fig trees and had cherries in the angles. In the western side were mignionettes, sweet pea and lupins. The Peach house led from the orangery and this was sixty foot in length and 18 foot in breadth. Its flues were covered with exotic plants in pots. From the peach house you entered the vinery, with three crops of grapes. The vinery was forty two feet long and twenty four foot in breadth, with the highest part being twenty foot.

Adjoining the vinery was the grand conservatory in an oval form, this was nearly 40 feet long by twenty four foot wide and twenty feet in height. The conservatory cost upwards of £4000. It was connected to the house and was 500 feet in length, the greenhouses were finished in 1793 and were mostly the work of a man named Shanley and took ten years to build. The collection of Glass houses also included a pinery and cherry house.

Forcing Houses

There were two forcing houses at Bellevue. The forcing houses at Bellevue were built between 1791 and 1792 by Michael Pennick the gardener at Bellevue Demesne. They were built to aid ripening of early fruits and blowing early flowers. They were heated by just one fire.

Walled Garden

The enclosed walled Garden was fourteen feet tall and were built of red brick, and was divided by a good brick wall. The walled garden contained an extensive kitchen garden. Beside the kitchen garden was an orchard.

Bellevue Chapel

The private Chapel at Bellevue was built by Peter La Touche on a plan of a Greek Cross in 1803, it cost 5000 L and it was connected to the house by a conservatory. It was designed by the noted architect Sir Richard Morrison, with carpentry work done by architect and builder Charles Lilly. The interior had a very elaborate plastered ceiling. It was demolished in the 1950’s.

School House

The school House on Bellevue Demesne was located East of Bellevue house, close to the village of Delgany. It was established by Mrs La Touche in the mid to late 18th century. The building was a two storeyed building with a kitchen and school on the ground floor and the dormitories on the upper storey. The school catered for 24 girls, though in 1819 the school catered for 30 girls.  Mrs. La Touche provided the girls a dowry of £10 when they left school.


Howley, James; The follies and garden buildings of Ireland, Yale University Press, (1993)

Seery, Michael; Education in Wicklow, From Parish Schools to National Schools, Creathach Press, (2014)

Flannery, Judith; Christ Church Delgany (1789 – 1990), Between the Mountains and the Sea, Select Vestry of Delgany Parish, Delgany (1990)

Ferrar, John; A View of ancient and modern Dublin, with its improvements to the year 1796, Dublin (1796)

Wright, George Newenham; A Guide to the County of Wicklow, Baldwin, Cradock and Joy, London (1827)

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