Ballykealey House

Ballykealey was transformed from a large old farmhouse built in the 1600s to the magnificent Todor Mansion that we know it today in 1830. It was constructed to the design of the eminent Carlow architect Thomas A. Cobden, who also designed Carlow Cathedral.

Five years prior to its completion in 1825 John James Lecky married Sarah Lucia Smith the only daughter of the wealthy John Smith from Balby in Yorkshire. It was he who instigated and insisted that a new palatial home be built for the newlyweds. During construction, the best tradesmen were availed of and specialists in stucco plaster work were brought from Italy to complete the intricate decorating of ceilings, walls and borders. The superbly ornate marble fireplaces were brought in from Cararra in Italy, an area famous for its marble.

Out offices were constructed around the sides of a cobbled courtyard which was entered by an archway. A short distance away the stables and farmyard were sited. Plantations and woodlands were extensively created at Ballykealey. A Scottish landscaper, namely Gregg, was employed to carry out the design and planting and his expertise is visible and most obvious even to the present day.

Local businesses thrive off the support from those that live in their villages and towns and this is no different for Ballykealey. The long-standing relationship and support Ballykealey have received from the local community throughout the years and particularly since its renovations and reopening is of utmost importance. The pandemic highlighted the importance of locals to our business the ongoing support weekly from those who ordered take away lunch, who shared our updates on social media, who recommended us for a family occasion or a wedding. Where possible we use local produce in the creation of our menus and support local ourselves.

By supporting Ballykealey, the locals are supporting the local economy. When a purchase is made at a local business, a crucial amount of money stays in the community rather than going to a nationally owned business. This helps with keeping the local economy booming and thriving.

“Life is like a camera. Just focus on what’s important, capture the good times, develop from the negatives, and if things don’t work out, just take another shot.”

Richard Branson