Vernon Mount Park

Landscape of the 1830's

Ordnance Survey of Ireland’s maps of the Douglas area reveal a tiny village of church, chapel, court house and constabulary barracks and some modest street housing.

Industrial activity was across a varied spectrum and utilised the water-power of local streams to manufacture flour, linen, sail canvas, rope and other products of flax and hemp – the textiles boom of later years is yet to manifest itself. The surrounding area is mostly agricultural land dotted by large planted ‘big house’ demesnes. Cork City, much smaller than is the case to-day, is some 3 miles distant and its approaches from Douglas marked by market gardens. The principal ‘seats’ of their wealthy owners are often surrounded by formal and kitchen gardens, and more widely by informal parkland landscaping with shelter belts. Lyrically described in a contemporary account “as a chapelry and village (Douglas) presents that singularly beautiful contour and richly embellished dress for which the whole tract along the lower River Lee and especially between Cork and Passage (a harbour-side town east of Douglas) is celebrated and it possesses a profuse powdering of villas and gemming and embroidering of gardens, shrubberies and villa demesnes”.

Some twenty or so ‘big houses’ and their attendant demesnes were to be found within a two mile radius of Douglas. Largest among them, and still standing, are Maryborough to the east, and Bessborough to the north east of Douglas. The former is now part of a hotel complex, the latter in the care of a religious institution. Of the grouping west of Douglas, and in the vicinity of Vernon Mount, only two houses survive out of an earlier half dozen, one of which – Frankfield - is much reduced following a deliberate burning during the Irish War of Independence. A later connection between Frankfield and Vernon Mount and Ballybrack to the south of Douglas Village was their occupancy by Lane family members.

** The big Houses within two miles of Douglas.

Ronayne's Court

Douglas Hse


Vernon Mount

Bloomfield Hse

Monfieldstown Hse

Old Grange Hse


Frankfield Hse

Shamrock Lawn Hse

Donnybrook Hse

Douglas Hall


Mount Conway


Grange Hse



Grange Erin


Mount Grange


Tramore Hse



Click Here to view locations of the above houses.

As pointed out in Con Foley’s History of Douglas, the owners of these houses were seen as the privileged elite of their community as well as holding positions of authority in civic society. Usually successful businessmen or landed gentry, they also contained within their ranks descendants of emigrant Huguenot families fleeing religious persecution in France.


Click on the thumbnails below to enlarge the image:

‘A History of Douglas’ by Con Foley, R. Lynch publisher, 1981 & 1991 (revised and extended).Donnybrook House 2014. Pic: G.Lehane, Grange Frankfield Partnership. Courtesy R. Crighton.Westgrove House, Douglas, circa1980 (since demolished).  Lennox Robinson the playwright and director of the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in the early 20th century was born here. Courtesy Michael Linehan.Montpellier House, Donnybrook , Douglas circa 1970 (since demolished).  Former home of ‘The O’Donovan’, family clan leader. Courtesy Michael Linehan.Frankfield House early 1900s. Courtesy Michael Linehan.Maryborough House, Douglas (now a hotel), 2014. Pic: G.Lehane, Grange Frankfield Partnership.Bessborough House, 2014. Pic: G.Lehane, Grange Frankfield Partnership.Mount Conway. Courtesy Michael Lenihan.Grange House. Courtesy Michael Lenihan.Douglas House, 1950. Courtesy of Jim Horgan.Douglas Hall. Pic: G.Lehane, Grange Frankfield Partnership. Courtesy of Mr. Sean Cooper.Thornbury Cottage, Rochestown. Courtesy of Cork Past & Present, City Library.Tramore House, 2014. Pic: G.Lehane, Grange Frankfield Partnership.Donnybrook House 1870s. Courtesy of Robert Crichton.














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Grange Frankfield Partnership

Grange, Co. Cork.