Garbally Demesne Icehouse, near Ballinasloe in County Galway, is one of the few surviving examples of a once common feature of Irish country estates, and it offers a glimpse into the past lifestyle of the wealthy landowners and their servants.

An icehouse is a structure that was used to store ice before the invention of refrigeration. Icehouses were usually built underground or partially buried, with thick walls and a domed roof to keep the cold air inside. Ice was collected from nearby lakes or rivers during the winter, and packed with straw or sawdust to prevent melting. The ice was then used throughout the year to preserve food, make drinks, or cool rooms.

The Garbally Demesne Icehouse was built around 1800 as part of the Garbally Estate, which belonged to the Trench family. The estate covered over 10,000 acres and included a large manor house, a chapel, a school, and several farms. The icehouse is located in a dense woodland, about 500 meters from the main house. It has a stone-lined entrance tunnel that leads to a circular chamber with a vaulted ceiling. The chamber has a drainage hole at the bottom and an air vent at the top. The icehouse is now disused, but it is still in good condition and a testament to the technical skill and craftsmanship of its builders.

The Garbally Demesne Icehouse is open to the public and free to visit. You can access it by following a footpath from the Garbally College, which is now a secondary school run by the Christian Brothers. The footpath is marked with signs and takes about 15 minutes to walk. The icehouse is surrounded by trees and bushes, so you might have to look carefully to find it. There is no lighting inside the icehouse, so you might want to bring a torch or flashlight if you want to explore it. Please be respectful of the site and do not litter or damage it.

The Garbally Demesne Icehouse is a hidden gem that offers a rare opportunity to experience a piece of Irish history and heritage.


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Garbally Demesne Icehouse



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