1832 – Oak Park, Carlow

Architect: William Vitruvius Morrison, Richard Morrison / William Mitchell



Formerly known as Painestown, Oak Park is a large Victorian house by William Vitruvius Morrison. The Bruen Family purchased Oak Park in 1775. In 1832, Henry Bruen commissioned Morrison to redesign the house. It has two storeys, the entrance front having a five-bay central block with a pedimented portico of four huge Ionic columns. The main block is prolonged by wings of the same height, initially set back though returning forwards with Wyatt windows at their ends. The garden front of thirteen bays features to semi-circular bays. The interior has splendid plasterwork in the style of Morrison; while the Hall boasts giant, free-standing Ionic columns.

In 1872 the Oak Park Estate extended to 16,477 acres, making it the largest estate in County Carlow. On 22nd February 1902, the house was gutted by fire. After eight hours of fighting the blaze, all that remained was the north wing. Fortunately, a large number of paintings, furniture and books were saved by the workers. The house was rebuilt under the supervision of William Mitchell. It remained in the family until 1957. In 1960 the property was sold to the state via the Irish Land Commission, and eventually became the headquarters of Teagasc.

A granite ionic triumphal arch was also constructed to designs by William Vitruvius Morrison and Richard Morrison as an entrance to the estate.