Thursday, 9 March 2017

Carrick Lodge

THE MUSGRAVES WERE MAJOR LANDOWNERS IN COUNTY DONEGAL, WITH 23,693 ACRES

The Musgrave family may be said to have begun their connection with Belfast at the beginning of the Victorian era.

James Musgrave's father, Samuel Musgrave, was a general practitioner, who began there in 1799.

Dr Musgrave was about twenty when he started his practice.

His wife was Mary Riddel, a daughter of William Riddel, founder of Riddel & Company, Donegall Place and Fountain Street, Belfast.

The Musgrave firm was an off-shoot of the Riddel establishment.

The Musgrave family consisted of a dozen children.

When Dr Musgrave died at Lisburn aged 66 in 1834, the family soon removed to Belfast and lived in Upper Arthur Street.

By 1852 they were living at 1 Donegall Square South, and later moved to Drumglass House, Malone Road, which they built ca 1855.

As young men, the brothers Robert and John Riddel were in partnership with their uncle, John Riddel, at 54 High Street in Belfast.

With their brother James they founded the firm Musgrave Brothers and opened the establishment on the 30th May 1843 (which later became Richard Patterson’s of 59 High Street).

Here the ironmongery trade was carried on successfully until expansion of business brought the manufacturing lines and, from 1860 onwards, this branch was conducted at the Ann Street Ironworks until a limited company was formed.

John and James Musgrave were the principals, Robert having died in 1867. From this time forward the firm of Musgrave & Company Ltd created what was a new industry which attained world-wide fame with the manufacture of stoves, heating apparatus, stable fittings and high-class ironwork.

John R Musgrave was the chairman and director, and represented his brothers' interests in the company. The expanding business now removed to new works at Mountpottinger.

About 1854, the other brothers, Henry and Edgar, started the wholesale tea and sugar business.

The Musgrave family were benefactors of the city of Belfast and its institutions: Sir James, when he retired, devoted a large part of his energy and abilities to developing the Port of Belfast, the possibilities of which he foresaw, the great scheme which he devised and which he lived to see completed.

His name is forever linked with the Musgrave Channel which he did so much to further from the time he was elected chairman of the Harbour Board in 1897 until a year before his death in 1904.

In recognition of these services the dignity of baronetcy was bestowed upon him.

He also proved himself a firm friend of Queen's College (now University), where he founded the chair of Pathology which bears his name.

Like his brother James, Henry gave many benefactions to the City.

When the estate at Carrick, County Donegal, was acquired a similar bold policy was adopted.

The Musgraves' old-fashioned courtesy and graciousness of manner, combined with a distinctive style of dress, gave the impression that evoked a link with the early Victorian period.

Their unbounded generosity to charitable, educational and other worthy institutions will secure for them an imperishable memory.


THE LODGE, Carrick, County Donegal, is a five-bay, two-storey, former country house or hunting lodge, built ca 1867 and extensively altered and extended ca 1910, having a central advanced single-bay projection to the main elevation.

The main central block is flanked to either side (east and west) by lower wings having advanced gable-fronted single-bay two-storey terminating blocks with crow-stepped parapets over.

A two-storey range of outbuildings is attached to the rear (north) of the terminating block to the west.

Carrick Lodge was extensively renovated about 1990, following destruction by fire in 1970.

It is now in use as a private home.


This substantial former country house or hunting lodge/retreat retains some of its early character and form despite modern alterations.

The symmetrical front elevations is notable for the good quality "Tudoresque-style" cut stone surrounds with mullions to the window openings, hood mouldings to the ground floor openings and particularly by the striking crow-stepped parapets over the advanced blocks to the centre and terminating either end.

The crow-stepped parapets are reminiscent of the Scottish Baronial architectural style, an architectural idiom that was popular during the Victorian period, and into the first decades of the 20th century, but relatively rare in County Donegal.

These crow-stepped parapets were added as part of extensive alterations and extension to the house, around 1910, when the recessed wing and advanced gable-fronted terminating block to the east, and the projecting central gable-fronted bay were added.

Prior to this, the house was a modest and plain two-storey building.

Carrick Lodge was destroyed in a fire about 1970 and remained derelict until extensive renovations two decades later.

It was originally built in 1867, when the Musgrave family purchased extensive lands around here in that year) and apparently replaced or incorporates an earlier house on the same site built sometime between 1836-47.

The Musgrave family had their main residence at Drumglass House, Belfast, which suggests that Carrick Lodge was originally built as a hunting lodge or retreat.

It was the home of James Musgrave (later a knight and a baronet) and John Musgrave in 1881, who were both Justices of the Peace; and of John Musgrave in 1894.

Although altered, this building is a striking feature in the dramatic landscape to the west of Carrick, and is an addition to the built heritage and social history of the local area.


It forms a pair of related structures along with the attendant gate lodge to the south.

The simple outbuilding and former walled gardens to the rear, and the gateways and boundary walls to site add to the setting and historical context.

First published in March, 2013.

2 comments :

WeeGee said...

Interesting link with Donegal. Called here some years ago when the gatelodge was in use as a coffee shop / souvenir shop. Sadly, last time I passed in 2012, it had fallen into disrepair. One can follow the R263 Carrick - Glencolmcille Road on Google Map Streetview and get a glimpse of the place.

rory o donnell said...

in 1892 my grandfather Hugh O Donnell applied for a Publicans licence for his premises in Meenaneary three miles from Carrick and the Musgraves strongly objected to the granting of a licence. Despite this the licence was granted and is still in use. They also objected to the building of a new house for the Parish Priest alongside the church in Carrick on the grounds that it would block the light in the Glencolmkille Hotel dining room.The Mc.Gill Family who now have the Wild Atlantic Tae guesthouse and tea room there dont seem to have any problem with light!