Belvedere House & Gardens
Belvedere House & Gardens information
Don't miss magnificent Belvedere House, an immense 18th-century hunting lodge set in 65 hectares of gardens overlooking Lough Ennell. More than a few skeletons have come out of Belvedere's closets: the first earl, Lord Belfield, accused his wife and younger brother Arthur of adultery. She was placed under house arrest here for 30 years, and Arthur was jailed in London for the rest of his life. Meanwhile, the earl lived a life of decadence and debauchery. On his death, his wife emerged dressed in the fashion of three decades earlier, still protesting her innocence.
Lord Belfield also found time to fall out with his other brother, George, who built a home nearby. Ireland's largest folly, a ready-made 'ruin' called the Jealous Wall , was commissioned by the earl so he wouldn't have to look at George's mansion.
Designed by Richard Cassels, Belvedere House contains some delicate rococo plasterwork in the upper rooms. The gardens, with their Victorian glasshouse, walled garden and lakeshore setting, make for wonderful walking on a sunny day. A airy new annexe houses Catoca, a classy restaurant and cafe and a tasteful souvenir and gift shop There's also a large children's playground.
Belvedere House is 5.5km south of Mullingar on the N52 to Tullamore.