This estate served as the summer residence of Armar Lowry-Corry, also known as Lord Belmore, a distinguished member of Parliament. It was completed in the year 1798. The Castle Coole grounds occupy 1200 acres in rural
The Castle Coole grounds occupy 1200 acres in rural County Fermanagh, a naturally beautiful location set amid ancient oaks and clear lakes. The mansion was built at a cost of the equivalent of 20 million pounds in today's currency. The building work and subsequent maintenance was done by local people from the nearby market and county town of Enniskillen.
Castle Coole was designed by architect James Wyatt, in Neoclassical Georgian architectural style. He replaced the original architect, Richard Johnston, when only the basement of the house had been completed.
Wyatt finished the design of the mansion, and even created a few pieces of period furniture for the house that are now considered extremely rare. John Rose's artistic mark can be seen on the decorative plasterwork throughout Castle Coole.
The facade is made from Portland Stone, and inside, the most noteworthy rooms include:
- The state bedroom, furnished in 1821 for King George IV, although his expected visit never materialised. The room contains unique flock wallpaper and authentic period furniture.
- The Ladies Workroom, complete with exotic Chinese furnishings that reflected the desire of apparent worldliness that was prevalent during the time.
- The Drawing Room, furnished in French Empire style.
Wyatt deliberately designed the house with no back door. He did this so that all guests would have to be announced and so that servants and delivery people would be unable to congregate at the rear of the house. The service entrance was a tunnel that ran to the stables, which were located in the grand yard. The basement of Coole Castle houses a Roman bath and brewery, which are in need of restoration and not open to visitors.
The mansion overlooks Lough Coole, which in Gaelic means, "secluded lake". The grounds include a yard, a tallow house that was used for candle making and now functions as a gift shop, and a laundry and dairy.
Castle Coole became the permanent residence of the Belmores when the Irish House of Lords was abolished in the 1800's and the family no longer needed their Dublin townhouse. The seventh Earl of Belmore sold the estate to the National Trust in 1951, due to a mounting tax debt. It underwent extensive renovation, which was completed in 1988, and celebrated with a reopening event to which the late Queen Mother was invited.