Trip Planner:   Europe  /  Ireland  /  Province of Leinster  /  County Laois  /  Parks  /  Emo Court
Emo Court, County Laois
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Emo Court, located near the village of Emo in County Laois, Ireland, is a large neo-classical mansion, formal and symmetrical in its design. It was designed by the architect James Gandon in 1790 for John Dawson, the first Earl of Portarlington. It is one of the few houses to have been designed by Gandon, another including Roslyn Park, Sandymount.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 house and gardens were taken into ownership by the Irish state in the 1990s, and now managed by the Office of Public Works. The estate is open to visitors.History18th and 19th century constructionWhen the 1st Earl was killed in the 1798 rebellion, his new house was under construction – but far from finished. The 2nd Earl employed new architects to continue the work. The building became habitable during his lifetime. However, when he died 47 years later, it was still unfinished and in the aftermath of the Great Famine , came near to being sold. By the 1860s, the 3rd Earl succeeded in bringing Emo Court to a state closely resembling that which welcomes visitors today. Some elements of the basic structure are faithful to the original plans of James Gandon. However, while Gandon was involved in the first twenty years of its building, given how long the building was in development, little more than his name can be connected with the house which finally came into being.
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  • On a recent trip to Ireland we enjoyed a tour of Emo Court led by a very knowledgeable guide. Beautifully furnished house & naturalistic gardens. Added bonus was the Father Brown photographic exhibiti...  more »
  • The house is open up until the end of September but the gardens and excellent tea rooms remain open all year. A visit during the summer season will give you a chance to see the inside of this Gandon d...  more »
  • Since discovering Emo Court in August 2015 we have been many times both as a couple and with our children. Our most recent visit was as a couple and we did one of the long walks around the estate and ...  more »