Local Amenities

Things to do in the Killenard area

Horse riding, Clay pigeon shooting, Golf (par 3), Golf 18 hole, Driving range, Bowls (indoor & Outdoor), all-weather Walking Track, Tennis, Badminton, Squash, Basketball, Indoor football etc.

Places to visit

Emo Court, located near the village of Emo in County Laois, Ireland, is a large neo-classical mansion, formal and symmetrical in its design and with beautifully proportioned rooms inside. It was designed by the architect James Gandon in 1790 for John Dawson, the first Earl of Portarlington. It is the only house to have been designed by Gandon. Other buildings by him include the Custom House and Kings Inns, both in Dublin. Gandon was so busy with his work in Dublin that he found little time to work on Emo Court. This may be one of the reasons that it took so many years for Emo Court to be made habitable, let alone finished.

The approach to Emo Court today begins through a rather unobtrusive gateway. Within the grounds, a road runs for some distance through a beech wood which opens suddenly to give a view to the right of the house and the Giant Sequoias which now line an abandoned avenue. Visitors are directed to a car park at the side, so that the house and its trees are preserved free from cars and from a goodly share of the 21st century. To the left are coach houses and servants’ quarters, to the right beautiful mature trees and in the centre the entrance front, dominated by a pediment supported by four graceful Ionic pillars. The Earl’s coat of arms fills the pediment and, to left and right, are 18th century friezes depicting agriculture and the arts. Heraldic tigers guard the steps.

Inside the house, an octagonal entrance hall has doors in each of its four angles. Two of them really are entrances to other rooms. The others are simply there to give a balanced effect. A larger doorway leads to the Rotunda, the most splendid feature of the mansion and also the way into two of the major rooms and out to the garden. Completed about 1860 by the Dublin architect William Caldbeck, it is two storeys high, surmounted by a dome which extends above the roof line of the rest of the house. Pilasters of Siena marble support the ornate ceiling.

The Gardens at Emo are magnificent and they too have been brought back to the splendour of their past, with formal areas, woodland walks, abundant statuary and a lake. Indeed many of the original statues were found in the waters of the lake and it is suspected they found their way there during the time the Jesuits were living in the property, where they survived until their eventual discovery and restoration. The gardens are divided into two main areas. The Clucker, which contains some fine and rare specimen trees and a vast range of azaleas and rhododendrons and other shrubs. This part of the garden is at its magnificent best in late Spring. The Grapery is an arboretum though which wind a series of pathway, each opening to vistas across the surrounding Slieve Bloom Mountains or towards the house. This is a marvellous place to visit in Autumn especially when it is a blaze of dramatic colours.

Visit the Garden Trail at Ballintubbert

See www.ballintubbert.com for more information.