Pair of Gate Lodges

Virginia was an historic staging post on the coaching road from Dublin to Enniskillen. The town was one of three Cavan towns settled as part of the 17th century plantation of Ulster. By the end of the 18th century the lands around Virginia formed part of the wider estate of Thomas Taylor - Baron Headfort (1760) Earl of Bective (1766) and Marquess of Headfort (1800). The family’s main residence was a substantial mansion beside Kells in County Meath, but they also created a private demesne and a hunting lodge overlooking Lough Ramor in County Cavan near Virginia. The lodge may be a conversion of an earlier structure and was known as Virginia Park Lodge (now the Park Hotel), of which the subject structures were gate lodges.In 1883 the family estates comprised some 21,000 acres in England, together with 14,251 acres of County Cavan and 7,544 acres in County Meath.

Samuel Lewis writing in 1837 describes the town as ‘pleasantly situated on Lough Ramor, consists of about 130 houses and containing 930 inhabitants’. He further notes that ‘within the last few years the town has been greatly improved by its noble proprietor, the Marquess of Headfort’. With regard to the subject site, Lewis writes that ‘Adjoining the town, and on the north side of the lake, is Virginia Park, a cottage residence of the Marquess of Headfort. The scenery of this park is extremely diversified, and its walks and drives very beautiful: the plantations are a highly ornamental feature in the landscape. Lough Ramor contains several small islands, which have recently been planted by his lordship, who has established an annual boat race on the lough and gives as a prize a cup of the value of 30 guineas. Many curiously shaped brazen pots, supposed to be Danish, were discovered in the lake a few years since, some of which are in the possession of the Marquess at Headfort House, near Kells’.

Historic/Original Architect(s)