Explore Turlough Park House
As well as the Museum Galleries, the extensive grounds of Turlough Park include a 19th century Victorian Gothic house. Step back in time when you enter...
The Big House
Turlough Park House is a moderately sized ‘big house’. It was built in 1865 for the Fitzgerald family to replace a much older building near the entrance to the park.
The house boasts 3 floors of living space in the main living quarters. The Drawing Room and Library on the ground floor
are open to the public and furnished as they may have looked in 1900. Upper levels are used for Museum administration.
A service area adjoining the house, which once accommodated the kitchen and stable block (pictured right), now incorporates visitor facilities such as the gift shop and Café. In such houses, the kitchen was detached from the main house to avoid cooking smells disturbing the family and their guests and to minimise the risk of fire.
Architecture & Style
The architect Thomas Newenham Deane designed Turlough Park House. Deane was also the designer of the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology at Kildare Street, Dublin.
The architectural style of the house has been referred to as ‘Victorian Gothic’. The two-storey house built of limestone rises to a high-pitched roof with dormer windows. It incorporates an open central Gothic porch bearing the house’s 1865 date stone.
An imposing stained glass window above the porch (pictured right) incorporates the Fitzgerald family crest and bears the motto Honor Probataque Virtus (Honour, Probity & Virtue).
Becoming part of the National Museum of Ireland - Country Life
Turlough Park House remained in the same family until 1991 when it was purchased by Mayo Co. Council. The proposal to open the house as a museum was a local initiative which led eventually to a decision made in 1995 to locate part of the National Museum of Ireland here. The Museum’s Folklife collections had been stored for a long time in Daingean, Co. Offaly awaiting a suitable venue.
As the house was not suitable as a major exhibition space, a new purpose-built building (pictured right) was designed alongside it. Housing the Museum Galleries, this building is an award winning design by the architectural branch of the Office of Public Works. At the same time the 1865 house was restored by the Office of Public Works and the Gardens were restored by Mayo Co. Council.