Irish Country life at its best

HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE

Georgian Guest House - Irish Country Hotel

Francis Jackson, an officer in Cromwell’s army, received a grant of land in north Mayo in the 1650’s. He lived first in the castle in Crossmolina and later built a house on the shores of Lough Conn, but the location of this first house is not known.

 The present house appears to be a classic Irish Georgian country house of medium size. However one of its most interesting architectural features is that it is in fact one house built onto another, older, house.

This older house, described as a fortified house on the shores of Lough Conn, was built sometime between 1740 and 1750 by George Jackson, great grandson of Francis Jackson.  It was a tall (three stories over basement) single gabled building of five bays. This house is perfectly preserved as it is incorporated into the existing house. Behind the Georgian reception rooms and staircase the joining to the old house is clearly visible.

The front part of the house was added in the 1790’s by George Jackson’s son, also and confusingly called George (they are known in the family as George One and George Two) The addition was structurally complete by 1798 and it is known that some damage was done to the house during the French invasion and rebellion of that year. It is a two story house with five bay entrance front.  While quite plain outside the house contains some elegant late Georgian plaster work, and a spiral staircase leading up to an oval landing. The front reception rooms have friezes of sphinxes and foliage, and in the drawing room the original silk Adam design wallpaper survives, having faded from pale blue to mushroom pink.

Today the house is substantially unchanged. George Two’s granddaughter, Madeleine, inherited the house and lands in the 1830’s. She married her cousin, Mervyn Pratt, and together they set about restoring the, by that time, neglected house and creating new gardens within the old garden walls. This work was continued by their son Joseph and his wife, Ina. However there was very little money available so no further building or major alterations were carried out during the 19th century.

Joseph Pratt‘s son Mervyn lived in the house until his death in 1950. He never married and his life’s work was the garden. His mother had died in 1910 and from that date the house was kept in repair but nothing else was touched. His father died in 1929 but had handed the property over to him some years earlier. In 1950 Enniscoe was inherited by Mervyn’s cousin, Jack Nicholson.  Jack Nicholson was a Professor of Veterinary Medicine and head of the Veterinary College of Ireland, his wife, Patita, was a member of the Bourke family from Heathfield House, Ballycastle, Co Mayo. They were never able to realise their ambition to live full time at Enniscoe. Jack Nicholson died in 1950, Patita died in 1998. Today Enniscoe is the home of their daughter, Susan Kellett, and her son, Dj Kellett.