|Photo by permission J. Collins of the Glebe House|
The weekend of my attendance at what some of my acquaintances refer to as the zimmer frame games but which are more correctly labelled as the Irish Masters Athletics Championships resulted in me staying at The Glebe House Rathowen, Co Westmeath.
This property was constructed in 1817 as the residence for the Perpetual Curate of the parishes of Rathaspeck and Russagh. The total cost was £461.10.9 1/4 of which £415.7.8 1/4 appears to have been a gift from Dame Frances Elizabeth Fetherston of Ardagh Co Longford. The balance of the cost came from a small loan from the Board of First Fruits. The glebe lands extended to nine acres.
Not quite Georgian in looks nor yet having what would become the traditional Victorian look the property none the less has an appealing aspect with commodious accomodation which lends itself to its now use as a bed and breakfast establishment. The house is three bay, two storey over basement with a projecting single-bay, single-storey porch to the front. A rectangular plain overlight tops the doorway which is flanked by Doric type pillars. Immediately to the rear of the house is a well maintained and enclosed stable yard and adjoining this is a walled garden which extends to something over a rood. This garden is planted out with fruit trees including a fig and mulberry. Well tended lawns open out from the treelined avenue and wrap around the house. A small terrace invites contemplation by guests on the south side.
Internally the two principal reception rooms are entered from the vestibule and they provide secondary admittance to the two minor reception rooms behind. The latter two rooms are also entered via the inner hallway. The domestic offices are to the rear, off the living room. An open balustrade stairway rises to the first floor and its two sided gallery landing. A long pendulous light fitting hangs below an oval skylight. Five bedrooms run off the landing.
In one of the many codocils to her will Dame Frances adverted to an oak book case and books which she had placed in the Glebe House for the use of the incumbent for the time being and which was to be known as the, "Rathaspit Trust." The library of books which she provided for the curate's use included such potboilers as, Meditations on Death and Eternity, Dialogues on Universal Salvation and Aunt Trudy's Letters. Rathaspit is an old name for the church.
The Glebe House is definitely a cut above the average b & b, both internally and externally. It has history, it has properly proportioned rooms and it has comfort and appetising breakfasts. Methinks that I will be staying there again.