Mountain Lodge was built as a shooting lodge for the first Viscount Lismore, Cornelius O’ Callaghan. It is located in Glengarra Woods on land which once formed part of the Shanbally Castle estate and is located in the townland of Cullenagh.
Samuel Lewis writes, in his Topographical Directory of Ireland of 1837, that this demesne comprised:
'…820 acres, is finely wooded, and, being situated in a valley between the Galtee and Waterford mountains, is surrounded by scenery of a grand and imposing character. His Lordship has lately erected a lodge in a situation of much beauty in a glen of the Galtees; and surrounded it with a plantation of about 150 acres.'
Shanbally Castle itself was constructed circa 1810 and designed by the one of the most important British architects of the late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century, John Nash.
Nash was one of the architects at the forefront of Regency architecture, designing Regent Street and Regent’s Park in London, in addition to the Brighton Pavilion and alterations to Buckingham Palace. Once the largest of Nash’s buildings in Ireland, Shanbally Castle was unfortunately demolished in 1957 despite being in good condition and retaining its original interiors.
In addition to the large projects mentioned above, John Nash made a major contribution to domestic architecture through his design of stylistically varied villas, country houses and cottages. He was particularly interested in the Picturesque, a movement which embraced the concept that architectural ideals should look away from formal Classical architecture and instead should take inspiration from, an often romanticised, past.
The Picturesque architectural movement was naturally closely associated with its surroundings, and Nash designed or remodelled many country seats and grounds. Nash designed small buildings for these estates also, including a prototype of the Picturesque village at Blaise Hamlet near Bristol, incorporating thatch, leaded lights, elaborate chimneys, asymmetry and ‘rustic’ architectural elements into the designs. He was also the architect of the Swiss Cottage or cottage orné built by Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall. Built c. 1810, the Swiss Cottage would have been constructed at the same time as works were proceeding on Shanbally Castle.
Given the timescale of the development of the Shanbally Estate, and Nash’s design of Shanbally Castle and the Swiss Cottage at this time, it is very likely that the hunting lodge at Glengarra was also constructed to a design by John Nash. Frederick O’ Dwyer attributed the lodge to Nash in an article in the Irish Arts Review in 2002 (‘A Noble Pile in the late Tudor Style – Mitchelstown Castle’, Irish Arts Review 18, 2002). Situated in the most beautiful location, its setting and design are intricately linked to the Picturesque movement of which John Nash was such a strong advocate.
Griffiths Valuations (completed in the early 1850s for Tipperary) include the lands of Viscount Lismore for the townland of Cullenagh (in which the lodge is located), and note a house and mountain land, with the house valued at £7.0.0.
Extract from Griffiths Valuations maps for the townland of Cullenagh, parish of Shanrahan.
The estate at Shanbally was a victim of the Land Wars of the late-19th century, and by the time the lands were sold to the Land Commission in 1954 only 1000acres of over 30,000 acres remained. 250 acres of this were woodland, including the area in which the shooting lodge is located.