1805 – Lyons, Hazlehatch, Co. Kildare
Lyons, near Hazlehatch, County Kildare, was originally the seat of the Aylmer family, though they sold it to the 1st Lord Cloncurry who had a new house built in 1797. About 1801, shortly after his release from the Tower of London – on account if his progressive political views and friendship with the United Irishmen – the 2nd Lord Cloncurry hired Richard Morrison to undertake improvements and alterations to his father’s house, work continuing till 1805. The present mansion house is a three storey block with a curved bow on either side of its entrance front, joined to two-storey pavilions by one storey wings. The seven-bay garden front was left fairly plain, though an immense formal garden was laid out, with abundant statuary and urns.
From: J.P. Neale, Views of the seats of Noblemen and Gentlemen in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, Second Series, vol.II, London, 1825
“Lyons is particularly well circumstanced , being not more than twelve miles from the city of Dublin, upon the banks of the Liffey, and near the Grand Canal, which runs westward from Dublin, towards Galway. The Mansion is constructed with Irish granite, of a remarkably fine grain , brought from the neighbouring mountains, where it abounds. The Portico , at the principal entrance , designed by Morrison , is composed of four columns of Egyptian granite, the shaft of each being a single stone, highly polished ; three of these formerly adorned the Banquetting Hall of the Farnese Palace, and were originally removed from the Golden House of the Emperor Nero, at Rome. Four columns were purchased by Lord Cloncurry from the late King of Naples, who was heir to Duke Farnese, and which had been erected by the celebrated Raphael, who was an architect as well as painter, and built the Farnese Palace ; but it was afterwards found that only three were of Egyptian granite, and that not being able to procure a fourth column of the same material, the architect had stained one of white marble to cor respond in appearance with the others, and the deception was not dis covered until the columns were repolished ; fortunately a fourth column of granite was, at the same time, procured from the baths of Titus, which now perfects this noble Portico, and the marble pillar supports an antique statue of Venus, found in the excavations at Ostia, sixteen miles from Rome, at the mouth of the Tiber.
The principal rooms in this Mansion were painted by Gabrielli, and are adorned by a select collection of busts and statues, some of which are most excellent, particularly those of Minerva and Venus ; there are also, in the collection , some splendid relievos, alto and basso , as well as a magnificent antique sarcophagus.
Lyons is well sheltered by fine old woods as well as extensive plantations, laid out by the present noble proprietor; at the back of the Mansion is a verdant hill, which rises six hundred feet above the level of the sea, and is stocked with deer; at the base of the hill, and between it and the Mansion, is a most beautiful lake, diversified with islands, producing multitudes of wild fowl; there is an ancient Irish Castle, and within the demesne of Lyons the ivy-clad remains of an Abbey Church , in which Lord Cloncurry has erected a monument to the memory of his son.”