1770s – Mount Trenchard, Foynes, Co. Limerick


Mount Trenchard House was built in the late 1770s by the Anglo-Irish Rice family, who were major landowners in County Limerick. The house was built in the late Georgian style, but has some Victorian additions. Their descendants were raised to the peerage as Barons Monteagle of Brandon in 1869. During the Irish War of Independence, Mount Trenchard was used as a safe house by IRA fighters, looked after by Hon. Mary Spring Rice. In 1953 the house was sold to the Sisters of Mercy, who opened a private school for girls. They extended the complex to include a large and grim 1960s dormitory block, classrooms and a church.

Mount Trenchard was sold again in 1996 and became a centre for holistic medicine. Later used by the Reception and Integration Agency as an accommodation centre for asylum seekers, and widely regarded as the worst Direct Provision centre in the country. Now closed.