BROOKLODGE DEMESNE ICEHOUSE
Brooklodge Demesne Icehouse is a rare and well-preserved example of an eighteenth-century structure that was used to store ice for the wealthy Blake family, who owned the Brooklodge estate.
An icehouse is a building that was designed to keep ice frozen throughout the year, long before the invention of refrigeration. Icehouses were usually built underground or partially buried, with thick walls and insulation to prevent heat from entering. Ice was collected from nearby ponds or rivers during the winter and stored in the icehouse, where it was packed with straw or sawdust to reduce melting. The ice was then used to preserve food, cool drinks, or make ice cream for the estate owners and their guests.
The Brooklodge Demesne Icehouse is one of the few surviving icehouses in Ireland, and one of the oldest and most intact. It was built around 1770, when the Brooklodge estate was owned by Robert Blake, a descendant of one of the Tribes of Galway. The icehouse has a circular plan with a pointed-arch entrance and a corbelled ceiling. It is made of random rubble stone and brick, and has a diameter of about 6 meters. It is located in an open field with mature trees, near a stream that probably supplied the ice.
The icehouse is a testament to the lavish lifestyle of the Blake family, who were among the most influential and wealthy landowners in Galway. The Blake family lived in Brooklodge House, a grand Georgian mansion that was demolished in the 1950s. The icehouse is one of the few remaining structures of the estate, along with a gate lodge, a walled garden, and a stable yard.
The Brooklodge Demesne Icehouse is not open to the public, but it can be seen from the road, or with the landowner’s permission. The Brooklodge Demesne Icehouse offers a glimpse into the past and reveals how people used natural resources and engineering skills to create comfort and luxury in their homes.
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