19 January 2018

The miller’s house remains
an interesting feature in
the landscape of Askeaton

The former Tall Trees Nursing Home on the Quay was also known as Abbey Lodge and was built as the miller’s house around 1810 (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

Patrick Comerford

I was writing yesterday how there are still signs in Askeaton that this was once a thriving, trading port on the Shannon Estuary, shipping grain, corn, cattle and agricultural produce to and from Limerick.

One clue of this past is provided by the derelict Victorian corn warehouse on the Quay. Another is the former Tall Trees Nursing Home on the Quay, which was previously known as Abbey Lodge.

This is a detached, three-bay two-storey house that was first built around 1810 as a miller’s house and was linked with the neighbouring Abbey Mills.

This house is an early 19th century two-storey villa. It is square in plan and with three bays on each side. The entrance door faces south and has a portico or flat-roofed porch with Doric columns supporting a moulded entablature.

The roof is hipped and slated. The main gate is of made of wrought iron and has intersecting sunbursts or spider-web patterns. It is flanked by wrought iron gate piers.

The square-headed windows at the front are six-over-six pane timber sliding sash windows with painted stone sills.

Recently, there have been some inappropriate extensions to the house, including a recent multiple-bay single-storey extension to the south and a four-bay two-storey extension to the west.

But the house retains much of its original form and character outside, despite recent additions and alterations. It stands above the banks of the River Deel, south of Abbey Mills, and originally it was part of the mill complex.

It remains a prominent feature in the landscape of Askeaton and is enhanced by its good quality boundary walls. In recent years, work began on converting the former Tall Trees nursing home into a small hotel. The project was abandoned during the financial crisis, and I wonder whether it is beyond rescue, because Askeaton deserves a decent hotel and a good restaurant.

The main gate, made of wrought iron with intersecting sunbursts, is flanked by wrought iron gate piers (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2018)

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