Ardfry House is a ruinous country house that dates back to the late 18th century. Located near Oranmore in Galway, Ardfry House is situated on a peninsula that juts out into Galway Bay, offering scenic views and a tranquil atmosphere.

Ardfry House was built around 1770 by Joseph Blake, a member of the famous Blake family, one of the fourteen Tribes of Galway that dominated the city’s trade and politics for centuries. Joseph Blake became the first Lord Wallscourt in 1800, and his descendants lived in Ardfry House until the early 20th century. The house was designed as a two-storey building with nine bays, but it was renovated in 1826 to include gothic features such as crenellations, pinnacles, quatrefoils and bows. The house was also adjoined to an earlier medieval castle on the lands, creating a unique architectural ensemble.

Ardfry House has witnessed many interesting events and stories throughout its history. One of them involves the fourth Earl of Wallscourt, who married an American heiress named Harriet Blake in 1860. Harriet was notorious for her gambling addiction, which led her to sell the lead of every roof on the estate and even some of the family jewels. She also had a peculiar habit of making her husband wear a cowbell around his neck, allegedly to warn the maids of his naked wanderings around the house.

Another notable episode in Ardfry House’s history was its appearance in the 1973 Paul Newman film, The Mackintosh Man. The house was temporarily rebuilt and new windows fitted for the film, and then set on fire for a dramatic scene. Unfortunately, this destroyed many of the internal features that remained intact until then.

Today, Ardfry House is a roofless ruin that stands as a reminder of Galway’s past glory and splendor. The ruin is not open to the public, however, you can admire it from a distance and imagine how it looked like in its heyday or with the landowner’s permission.


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Ardfry House



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