The house was built on and incorporates the remains of an
older structure, visible on the 1750 maps of Dublin. Situated on the lands owned by
Hannagh Tilson Magan it was commissioned by her or by her son William Henry Magan
between 1815 and 1820.
William Magan is known to have employed the Architect William Farrell to design a country
house, Clonearl, in Co. Offaly in 1815. This house was destroyed by fire in the 1840's but
it is clear from the surviving plans that the distinctive pillastered design is mirrored in
both Killyon manor, co. Meath another Magan/Loftus house and in Corke Lodge. Unusual
fenestration and similar door treatments also link the two surviving properties. Close by
the church at Crinken, endowed by Hannagh Magan was also designed by Farrell. So it would not
be unreasonable to assume that Corke Lodge, which has all the hallmarks of an architectural
'capriccio' is by the same hand. The main façade and the two front reception rooms are in
the classical style. The rooms at the back and above have gothic detailing.
The last Magan owner of this property as well as the other huge
Magan/Tilson/Loftus estates was Augusta. Her eccentricities and reclusive life are said to
have inspired Charles Dickens, who visited Dublin, in his creation of Miss Haversham, in the
The most striking feature of the house is the bold architectural treatment of the classical
facade, a miniature of the two great houses mentioned above. By contrast, the back
elevations are in a flat gothic stile reflecting the romantic nature of the planted 'wilderness'. The interiors retain all their original features in terms of marble mantle
pieces, pillared architraves and plasterwork. Although the house originally would not have
been used for more than a few days a year by the Magans when bathing in the nearby sea or
visiting the family tombs at Crinken, it has been continuously inhabited since its
incorporation into the Woodbrook estate By Sir Stanley Cochrane in 1906. Sir Stanley, heir
to a mineral water fortune, was an accomplished athlete and opera singer who created on his
estate championship cricket pitches a golf course and the Laurel Park Opera House, precursor
of Glyndebourne, and where Dame Nellie Melba sang.
The gardens are an intrinsic part of
the presentation of Corke Lodge. Planted as a pleasure ground soon after 1815, it
contains fine specimens of Evergreen Oaks, American Cedars and Sequoias as well as a
magnificent Cork tree. These were meant to evoke a Mediterranean olive grove, in
keeping with the Italianate trend in the development of Killiney and Bray. Using
this as a backdrop the garden was recreated incorporating the re-erected remains of
Glendalough House, a Tudor revival mansion built for the Barton family by Daniel
Robinson in Anamoe. Robinson designed the nearby gardens at Powerscourt. Because of
a favourable microclimate the gardens now boast an extensive and rare collection of
sub- tropical plants and trees that reflect the spirit of the original concept of
The house as it presents itself today was
restored and furnished in 1980 by architect Alfred Cochrane. It pioneered the current
trends in historicist restoration of country houses and was featured in a number of
local and international publications.
"There is more fun at Corke Lodge..."
writes Jane Powers, The Irish Times
"where the 'ancient garden' of box parterres is punctuated by melancholy gothic follies, and emerges eerily from the dense boskage of evergreen oaks, myrtles, and a writhing cork oak tree with deeply corrugated bark. Avenues of cordyline palms and tree ferns, dense planting of sword-leaved New Zealand flax, and clumps of whispering bamboos lend a magical atmosphere to this rampantly imaginative creation."
The garden was featured in Diarmuid
Gavin's Gardens of Ireland on RTE on Jan 5th. 2001. Since 1999 it is part of the
Dublin Garden Group,
www.dublingardens.com, and is open to visits by appointment. Telephone (01)
2822821. Text and Mobile: 0872 447 006