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Woodlawn Icehouse, near Ballinasloe in County Galway, is one of the few remaining examples of a once common feature of the Irish countryside, and it tells a fascinating story of how people used to preserve food before refrigeration.

An icehouse is a structure that was used to store ice for cooling and preserving food. Icehouses were usually built near a source of water, such as a lake or a river, where ice could be harvested in winter. The ice was then packed into the icehouse, which had thick walls and a domed roof to provide insulation. The icehouse would keep the ice frozen throughout the year, allowing the owners to have access to chilled food and drinks whenever they wanted.

The Woodlawn Icehouse was built around 1780 as part of the Woodlawn House estate, which belonged to the Trench family, who were prominent landlords in Galway. The Trenches were known for their lavish lifestyle and hospitality, and they often hosted parties and events for their guests. The icehouse would have been used to supply ice for their kitchen, as well as for making ice cream and other delicacies.

Today, the Woodlawn Icehouse is a derelict and overgrown structure, but it still retains its original shape and features. You can see the entrance tunnel that leads to the underground chamber, where the ice was stored. You can also see the drainage system that allowed the melted water to escape. 

The Woodlawn Icehouse is a rare and interesting example of Ireland’s industrial heritage, and it offers a glimpse into the past of how people lived and ate in the 18th and 19th centuries. The icehouse is located on private property therefore you should seek the landowner’s permission before exploring.


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Woodlawn Icehouse



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