1780s – Trabolgan, Whitegate, Co.Cork


Originally a Georgian house, of two storeys at the front with a single storey Doric entrance portico, and three storeys at the back. Long single-storey wings were added in the 19th century, making a facade of exceptional length. The wings featured large round-headed windows. The main reception rooms were in this central block facing the coastline with a large orangery and ballroom in the right wing, with a large Adamesque living room in the left. The main staircase was in a separate hallway behind the entrance hall.

The front of the house faced out to sea, and was approached by an avenue of more than 1 mile in length. Closely hemmed in by trees and shrubs for most of the way, it emerged spectacularly into the open by the sea and swept around to the long front of the house. Because of weather, the rear was also an entrance front incase conditions were too wild to open the main doorway for visitors.

Originally home to the Earls of Fermoy, later bought by the Clarke family in 1912. The Clarkes were tobacco merchants (Players Cigarettes) and even grew tobacco here on the estate during the years of the First Worl War. In the late 1930s early 1940s, the Irish Land Commission purchased the estate from the Clarke family and most of the land was divided amongst tenant farmers.

The remaining 140 acre estate including the house was used as a base by a unit of the Irish Army during the Second World War. In 1948, a number of investors decided to purchase the remaining estate from the Land Commission and to operate the estate as a holiday camp for Pontins. For this purpose, over 100 chalets, a dance hall and an outdoor swimming pool were built. The holiday centre was successful at the start and attracted British holiday makers, but it soon waned in popularity and Trabolgan was put up for sale once more. During the following years the mansion and estate changed hands several times.

In 1958 Gaedhealachas Teo bought Trabolgan house and estate and established an Irish language boarding school for boys – Scoil na nOg. This school was opened in June 1959 and ran until 1973. During the summer months, Scoil na nOg operated a summer Irish college where up to 1400 boys and girls were provided with an opportunity to improve their knowledge of the Irish language. Since then it has been run as a holiay destination. The swimming pool of the modern complex is roughly on the site of the original house which was demolished in the early 1980s.