Monivea Castle Icehouse which was built around 1860 and repaired around 2000, is a rare example of an industrial heritage site that once served the needs of the Ffrench family, the former owners of Monivea Castle.

An icehouse is a structure that was used to store ice in the winter for cooling purposes in the summer. Icehouses were usually built underground or partially buried to keep the temperature low and prevent the ice from melting. Icehouses were often filled with ice from nearby ponds or lakes during the winter, and then covered with straw or sawdust to insulate them. Icehouses were used to preserve food, such as meat, dairy, and fruit, as well as to make ice cream and chilled drinks.

Icehouses were a common feature of Irish country estates by the mid-nineteenth century, as they demonstrated the wealth and status of the landowners. However, with the advent of refrigeration and electricity in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, icehouses became obsolete and many of them were abandoned or demolished.

Monivea Castle Icehouse is one of the few surviving icehouses in Ireland. It is located in Monivea Woods, near the village of Monivea in County Galway. The icehouse was built by the Ffrench family, who lived in Monivea Castle. The Ffrench family were one of the fourteen Tribes of Galway, who were influential landlords and politicians in the region.

The icehouse is a circular stone structure with a domed roof and a small entrance. It measures about 6 meters in diameter and 4 meters in height. The interior of the icehouse has a conical pit that could hold up to 40 tons of ice. The icehouse was repaired around 2000 by the local community.

As mentioned, the Icehouse is situated in Monivea Woods, which is owned by Coillte, the Irish state forestry company. The woodland covers about 250 hectares, is open to the public, and has several walking trails that lead to different parts of the woodland.

The Monivea Castle Icehouse is a fascinating and historical site that offers a glimpse into the past of Monivea and the Ffrench family. It is a hidden gem in Galway that is worth exploring and learning more about.


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Monivea Castle Icehouse



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