Ballinvirick House

Ballinvirick is an example of an early Georgian Irish Country House with formal Gardens, situated about halfway between Askeaton & Adare, County Limerick. The house contains several original architectural features and the property stands on 16 acres of parkland, woodland, formal & informal gardens. The house is presently undergoing renovations.

History of Ballinvirick
Ballinvirick House was constructed in the mid 1700's on an estate originally consisting of 120 acres for the Royce family who resided there over 150 years.

Ballinvirick House is situated in the parish of Nantinan, in the Barony of Connello Lower. The house is located 4 km south east of Askeaton. The Royse family resided in the parish of Nantinan from the beginning of the eighteenth century. Reverend Henry Royce, of Nantinan House, is recorded to have died in 1747 and was buried in the graveyard surrounding Natenan Church.1 The Irish Chancery report of 1862, details the case of Lysaght v. Royse, where inheritance of the lands at Ballinvirick was disputed. Here, we find an account of the ownership of Ballinvirick from 1703, at which time the lands were in the ownership of Richard Barnwall Waller. The lands were granted to Rev. Henry Royse in 1718 by way of mortgage with a lease term of 500 years.

On the marriage of his son Vere Royse to a member of the Hunt family, the lands went to Henry Hunt. In 1770, the lands were conveyed to Thomas Royse, grandson of Rev. Henry Royse and then passed to Thomas Royse's son Robert in 1798. In 1822, Robert Royse professed to demise his lands to his son Thomas, who took possession of Ballinvirick after the death of his father Robert in 1859.2 Samuel Lewis, Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1833 mentions both Royse families in Nantinan. 'The principal seats are Nantinan House, that of T. H. Royse, Esq., on the lands of which very interesting improvements have been made at a great expense; Stoneville, of H. Massy, Esq.; and Ballinvirick, of T. Royse, Esq., on all of which great improvements are in progress.' Pigots Directory of Ireland, 1834, lists Robert Royse, esq., Ballyavirick, under Gentry and Clergy. The estate is also mentioned in A Handbook for travellers in Ireland, by James Fraser in 1844. Slater's Commercial directory of Rathkeale, 1846 lists Robert Royse, Esq., Ballinvirick under gentry and clergy. The Dublin Almanac, General Register of Ireland, 1847 lists Thomas Royse, Esq. Ballinvirick, Rathkeale. Both Robert and Thomas are referred to in the directories above, and it would be safe to assume father and son resided at Ballinvirick during this time. Griffiths Valuation of 1853, names Thomas Royse as head of house in Ballinvirick. Anecdotal evidence tells us that the Royse family remained at Ballinvirick until the early twentieth century.

After the departure of the Royce family in early 1900's, the property became a dowager house for the nearby Castle Hewson estate, with Mrs Mary Hewson residing in the House from 1920-1929.

The property then became vacant and the Irish Land Commission acquired the estate and divided it into several parcels of land for sale to local small holders, with the main house remaining on just 16 acres. Ballinvirick was then offered for sale in the 1930's when, it was bought by Mr Berty Hunt who lived there with his family until 1947. The house was then sold to the Dutch Tellender family who lived in Ballinvirick after the war until 1955. The Tellender family made some additions to the house including the drawing room bay window, oak panelling, fireplaces and out offices.

The McMahon's brothers then purchased the estate and lived in the house until the early 1980's. After a period of neglect, Ballinvirick was then acquired by the Cusack family, who initiated the first restoration of the house, which was carried out between 1985-86. The Fleming family have occupied Ballinvirick since 2004.

1 The gravestone in memory of Rev. Thomas Royce is located in the graveyard surrounding Natenan Church. www.limerickdioceseheritage.org
2Irish Chancery Reports., (Dublin, 1862).
Architectural Heritage Impact Assessment
Conor Hourigan B Arch Sc MUBC