Social & Architectural History
Longueville’s beautiful view of the Blackwater Valley belies a turbulent history. The oldest section of this house was built in 1720 by the Longfield family, who always maintained they were of French extraction and not Cromwellians. Current day proprietor William O’Callaghan is a descendant of original owner Donough O'Callaghan. Donough fought beside the Catholics after the collapse of the 1641 Rebellion and forfeited the land to Cromwell. At this time, when Richard Longfield was created Baron Longueville in 1795, the family changed the name of the estate to Longueville. Richard was later rewarded with a Viscountcy, receiving a large sum of money as compensation for losing his Parliamentary seat. He’s believed to have used it to add two wings, stone parapets and a pillared porch. Architecturally Longueville is typically late Georgian, of five bays and three storeys over a basement. The central doorway retains its original door and large fanlight beneath a Doric portico. On the East side, you’ll find a fine Victorian conservatory of curved ironwork added in 1862, one of the last drawn up by Richard Turner, the greatest ironmaster and designer of glasshouses of the Victorian era. At the rear of the main house lies a large double courtyard, neo-classical instyle, containing a number of fine two-storey buildings, some have been converted into living quarters. Inside, the house is embellished with ornate Italian-designed ceilings, a marble dining-room mantelpiece featuring a relief of Neptune in his chariot, rare, inlaid mahogany doors, and an unusual, full-height bifurcating staircase. Longueville House is elegantly situated in undulating parkland and is approached from the east by a curving avenue over an arched limestone bridge. In earlier years, the estate contained an artificial pond with a decoy, used for catching wild duck up to 1914, when it was outlawed. The majestic group of oak trees on the front field of the house was planted in 1815, to celebrate Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo. The estate also contains a 25 acre cider apple orchard used to produce on-site a medium-dry artisan cider, some which is double distilled into a remarkably delicious apple brandy cider spirit.
Your Hosts Today
Today Longueville is back in the hands of the O'Callaghan clan whose forebears were originally deprived of it by Cromwell in 1650. It was returned to the O'Callaghans in 1938, when the Longfields sold the property to Senator William O'Callaghan. Then in 1969 Michael O'Callaghan (son of the Senator) and his wife Jane first opened Longueville's doors to the public as a simple Bed & Breakfast. Michael being a farmer oversaw the 500 acre farm surrounding Longueville by day and at night helped serve wines in the restaurant. In the meantime Jane opened The Presidents' Restaurant at Longueville in the early 1970's. Together Michael and Jane developed a huge reputation both nationally and internationally for excellent food and warm hospitality. They had five children together, their eldest son William taking over the running of the property from his parents. Sadly Michael passed away in 2010 but Jane is still very much involved in Longueville.
It’s a place of history, yet Longueville has moved with the times. Maintaining and modernising the house has been a labour of love for third-generation owners William O’Callaghan and his wife Aisling, your hosts. The couple met while students of Hotel Management & Business Studies at DIT Cathal Brugha Street in the late 1980's. Both worked in small, boutique hotel properties in the UK, France and Ireland before settling down to marry in 1993. They have two children, Elena and Michael who attend schools locally. In addition to the welcoming committee in Longueville there are six dogs, a flock of sheep, saddleback pigs galore, a gaggle of geese and laying hens!