Clonalis House home to the O'Conor family who were once the High Kings of Ireland opens to the public.
The ancestral home of the O’Conor family, who were at one time High Kings of Ireland and Kings of Connacht, Clonalis House as it now stands was designed by Frederick Cockerell and built in 1878.
An exhibition of farm machinery at Clonalis House, Castlereagh, in Roscommon is now on display and the public can also visit the Victorian Italianate mansion.
Upon completion the O’Conor Don family took up residence there, moving from the original Clonalis House, an early eighteenth century Georgian structure, located within their estate’s grounds.
Pyers O’Conor-Nash, his wife Marguerite and their family now live in the house, and have opened it to the public. The agricultural machinery on display was all used on the farm lands at Clonalis, in the days before tractors were commonplace.
There is also a well preserved landau coach which belonged to Charles Owen O’Conor Don, an MP (Member of Parliament) for Roscommon from 1860 – 1880. He was also President of the Society for the Preservation of the Irish Language, a precursor of the Gaelic League.
An exhibition of the Clonalis archives brings visitors back in time, when fairs were held in nearby Bellanagare in the nineteenth century, and union agreements for farm wages were signed in the early 20th century.
There is also a list of the O’Conors from 1156, to the last O’Conor Don, the Reverend Charles O’Conor Don, SJ (Society of Jesus).
The famed blind harpist and composer Turlough O’Carolan often entertained here, and his harp is preserved in the house.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 8 August 1984. The reporter is Padraic Ó Catháin.