1870 – An Grianán, Newtown House, Termonfeckin, Co. Louth

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Originally built in the 1780s by the McClintock family and called Newtown House. In 1852 it was sold to a Drogheda merchant and shipbuilder called Ralph Smyth who extended it around 1870. It was redesigned with two elevations of similar architectural merit, both with fine dressed limestone porticos giving it an overall Italianate appearance. The house as it survives today is Smith’s work, but a portion of the McClintock building survives at the east end of the south front.

In the early 1920’s it was bought by Helen Lentaigne, who allowed the newly constituted Irish Countrywomen’s Association to use Newtown House as a venue for one of the first ICA Summer Schools during the 1930’s. In July 1945 Mrs Lentaigne sold Newtown House to the Irish Tourist Board, who renovated the premises and opened the house as Tearman Hotel.

The seeds of An Grianán, were sown in 1952, when Muriel Gahan of the ICA proposed the idea for a residential college for social and educational purposes to Dr Morris, of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of America, through a chance introduction. It was purchased and entrusted for the benefit of the people of Ireland. In October 1954 it was officially opened by the then President of Ireland Seán T O’Kelly.

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Gouache and pencil drawing of the house in 1944 by artist Bea Orphen (1913-1980).

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