Buildings on the Vandeleur Demesne




noun: demesne; plural noun: demesnes
  1. 1.
    a piece of land attached to a manor and retained by the owner for their own use.

The Vandeleur Demesne

The original member of the Vandeleur family in Ireland was said to have been a Dutch merchant, Maximillian Van der Leur, who was based in Sixmilebridge during the early 17th century. The Vandeleur’s established their seat in Kilrush in 1687 when the Reverend John Vandeleur became rector of Kilrush. In 1712 several townlands in the vicinity of Kilrush were leased from the Earl of Thomond and later purchased by John Vandeleur, son of Rev. John Vandeleur in 1749.

The walled demesne became the core of their property consisting of 175ha (420 acres). The Vandeleur family became extremely influential during the late 18th and the 19th century, representing the county in parliament and encouraging development in the town.

vandeleur demesne

Source: OSI Historic Map 6 inch (1837-1842), colour

Selection of outbuildings on the Vandeleur Demesne

Gate Lodge (c. 1808-1810)


Detached three-bay single-storey coursed rubble stone gate lodge with single-bay single-storey limestone cut-stone gabled projecting porch to centre, flanked by open verandas with limestone cut-stone octagonal-profile columns. Gateway with four limestone cut-stone piers having neo-Egyptian-style panelled piers and cast-iron gates. Section of rubble stone walled garden with segmental-arch opening having bellcote above. Gateway with six cut-stone piers having rubble stone curved walls and cast-iron gates.

Gate Lodges as recorded in the contemporary press. This is an example of an advertisement from the 1830s. Saunder’s Newsletter, 3 May 1837


Gate Lodge no. two

Vandeleur Estate (1845), less ornate, this was the goods entrance and it’s likely that the family may only have used this lodge when attending church.


Game Keeper’s House

This building may have served as the place of residence for the chief game keeper’s house. It is located within the walls of the demesne and had its own private road that linked it with the estate. It is presently in poor repair as the below photograph (2014) illustrates. As a game keeper for a large country estate, the position was highly respected and offered a good income. The entry in the 1901 census of population records the Scottish-born, David Mollison in residence along with his wife, Rosanna, daughters Nellie and Daphne and one servant, Bridget Daly.


Function unknown – may have been the Herdsman’s House



Cosey Cottage (function unknown)

cosey cottage

Stable block, Kilrush House

Partially restored stable block of the demolished Kilrush House. It now functions as the wonderful Vandeleur Walled Garden attraction (


To date, no extensive study of the influence of Dutch merchants in the 18th and 19th centuries, in counties Clare and Limerick has emerged. Apart from the Vandeleur family, the Van Hogart family also settled in west Clare and built their house in the Dutch style at Querrin.


Further reading: Pieter Tesch, The Dutch at Limerick in Old Limerick Journal, vol. 28 (Winter 1990), pp 135-143


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