Another fine example of Neo-classical 18th-century buildings in Ireland is the stunning Argory House. The incredible house was first built in the 1820s and is surrounded by it’s 130- hectare wooded riverside estate. Its wonderful hillside location offers you views over the gardens and the surrounding wooded estate.
Today nothing much has changed about the house as it still carries its beautiful 18th-century charm and design. Much of this is due to being owned by the National Trust, who do there best to preserve heritage sites in Ireland.
For those wishing to visit The Argory House, you must head for County Armagh in Northern Ireland where it’s located.
History of the Irish Mansion
The house was designed for the McGeough Bond family by two brilliant Dublin Architectures; Arthur and John Williamson. The Argory was designed with a Greek Revival style in mind. This was a hugely popular architectural movement in the late 18th and 19th century. Many of house and buildings in Ireland during this century were designed with this unique style.
In 1989, An awful fire broke out within the house during. The Argory had to be rebuilt and modified a short time after. Much of the remodelling of the mansion took place during the 19th century. Today it still contains some of its original Victorian furniture, just how the Bond family had left it.
The inside interior is just as impressive as the outer design, which includes ornate metalwork, marble walls and polished brass staircase balusters.
Impressive Art Installation at The Argory
Besides, coming to visit the house for its historical value and beautiful design, there is a new art installation located inside the house that is incredible. You can check this out during one of the guided tours available of the Argory.
Back in 1906, Argory first installed its original acetylene gas lighting system. This was considered cutting edge during its time. What the lightening system did was create a distinctive glow.
Over the last few years, the Argory has been undergoing a conversion project to remove 100 years of dirt and tarnish from the unique collection of brass fittings. The last phases of this project was to remove the magnificent chandelier located in the west hall for restoration. The National Trust took the opportunity to use the space in an exciting and innovative way. That’s when the art installation idea was put forward.
Emma Cunningham the general manager of National trust in Mid Ulster has this to say; “Remarkable strides took place at The Argory in the development of modern lighting systems. We wanted to celebrate that innovation.”
This was also the first time a modern art installation has been added to one of the Trust historic houses. Northern Irish Artist, Kevin Killen was asked to create the art installation. He specialises in the unique creation of neon light sculptures.
Behind the Design Creation
The idea was to create a bespoken art installation, with a contemporary design at the forefront. The end result was inspired by the glow of the acetylene gas flame that lit up the Argory. The new art installation offers a more modern take on the celebrating form of lighting.
The artist likes to use neon light to map out people’s stories, lives and histories to help create his design. “Using the tour of the house as a starting point, I photo-documented a staff member traversing the tour route and translated that into a neon map. The piece embodies the owners, staff and visitors throughout the house’s history. While the spiral shape is inspired by the spiral patterns found in the house’s décor.” Explained Kevin Killen, the artist.
The art installation isn’t short of a masterpiece and is currently open to the public until November 2019.
The installation is only the starting point of a bigger programme to bring the story of The Argory technology and innovation to life. This will include new interpretations, trails, event and an exciting science room all coming into place 2019. So if there any time to Visit Argory House is the year. Amazing things are happening.
Gift Shop and Blackwaters Books
While visiting the house you must stop by the Blackwater Bookshop which helps to raise money for the on-going projects at the Argory. The bookshop is full of amazing titles in a variety of genres. Something to suit all you book lovers out there. From novels to travel books, cooking books, children’s book and more.
Also not forgetting the onsite gift shop that offers a wide variety of items to buy for you or as a gift. Items found at the gift shop include throws and rugs perfect to add to your house. As well as new stock coming to their shelves, I’m sure something will interest you.
Other things not to miss on a visit to Argory:
- The Beautiful Courtyard Displays
- Woodland and riverside trails offering gorgeous views
- The Adventure playground and environmental sculpture trail
- Afternoon tea at the Lady Ada’s tea room
Other worthy reads:
Florence Court: 18th Century House in County Fermanagh| Springhill House: A Pretty 17th Century Plantation House| County of Armagh: A Home of Northern Ireland’s Most Worth-Visiting Sites| Castle Ward: A Place with a Remarkable History|