Belvedere House and Gardens is a country house located near Mullingar, in County Westmeath, Ireland on the northeastern shore of Lough Ennell. It was built in 1740 as a hunting lodge for Robert Rochfort, 1st Earl of Belvedere by architect Richard Cassels, one of Ireland’s premier Palladian architects. Belvedere House, although not very large, architecturally significant because of its Diocletian windows and dramatic nineteenth century terracing. When Robert Rochfort decided to use the Belvedere as their main residence, he worked Barthelemij Cramillion the French Stuccadore, performing Rococo plasterwork ceilings which are among the finest in the country.

The landscaped demesne has the largest and most spectacular folly in the country, the jealous Wall , built to block the view of his estranged brother’s house nearby. There is also the Victorian walled garden and many hectares of forest. The house has been completely renovated and the grounds are well maintained, attracting some 160,000 visitors annually.

History 

The house was originally built by Robert Rochfort as a retreat, after being imprisoned his wife in their former home on Gaulstown, for an alleged affair with his brother Arthur. Arthur later was tried and fined £ 20,000 as he could not pay. Arthur spent 18 years in prison creditors Board in Dublin but was released on Robert’s death. Robert built the Jealous Wall after falling out with his brother George, who lived on the adjacent farm at Tudenham. His wife was just released on his death 1774th

The estate went to his son, George Augustus Rochfort, 2nd Earl. He was MP for Westmeath 1761-1776 and High Sheriff of Westmeath in 1762. He left for England in 1798 and died in 1814. When his widow died in 1828, passed the Belvedere to her grandson Brinsley Butler, 4th Earl of Lanesborough. He rarely visited the Belvedere and it was then inherited on his death by his cousin Charles Brinsley Marlay 1847th

Charles moved into the house, and during his time there was responsible for the change of Diocletian window on the upper facade and addition of terracing. He commissioned Ninian Niven, curator of the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, to draw up plans for the Victorian walled garden.

In the period after World War II, Charles Howard-Bury, who was a soldier and mountaineer, restored houses and gardens. He never married and on his death in 1963, the estate was inherited by Rex Beaumont. Rex was Howard-Bury friend and companion for 30 years and sold the farm to Westmeath County Council in 1982 for £ 250,000.

After a long-pound restoration, the house and the garden opened to visitors.Belvedere also hosts weekend music festivals and intimate garden theater.

References 

  • “Belvedere House, County Westmeath.” Ask about Ireland. Pulled 12/13/2012.
  • “Belvedere House Gardens & Park”. Pulled 12/13/2012.