Aghada Hall House

What did this house look like……?

This house played host to one of the most talked about weddings in the Cork area…is it possible that this house is completely obliterated and no trace of it remains…?

Aghada Hall house was designed by the well know Cork architect of his day, Abraham Hargrave (1755-1808).

Here are some of Abraham Hargrave’s architectural designs of which the Cork Custom House (centre) is the best known.

All trace of Aghada Hall House had disappeared, all that is left is a walled garden, half  an entrance and a small gatehouse that looks so out-of-place. (The old sheds and stables) have been converted into homes.

Aghada Hall House was a large late Georgian residence built by John Roche (from the Trabolgan- Roche family) and was completed in 1808. John Roche was also responsible for the start of the Aghada National School in 1819. At John’s death he left the house to his nephew William Roche who sold much of the land and left Aghada Hall House to Maria and Eleonor Roche.  Maria Audriah Roche then married her cousin Major General Sir Joseph Lucas Thackwell. And lived in the house with grounds in 1853 (873 acres) Major General Sir Joseph Thackwell was the son of John Thackwell of Wilton Place, Gloucester. Major General Sir Joseph Thackwell and Maria had 5 sons (one son died young) and 3 daughters.

Major-General Sir Joseph Thackwell had a remarkable military career, he lost his left arm at Waterloo and had it amputated close to the shoulder joint. Two horses were shot underneath him during this battle. He spent the greatest part of his last quiet years, shooting and carrying out improvements on the property.

The property was left to his son Major William de Wilton Roche Thackwell (1834-1910) and he married Charlotte (daughter of Rev. Tomkinson) William R. Thackwell resided in Aghada Hall house untill 1894.Their eldest daughter Katherine Harriet Thackwell married Col. Edward Rawdon Penrose who in 1891 by Royal Licence changed his surname to Thackwell. Aghada Hall House played host to a very important wedding and all the manor house owners of the area were invited and here is an account of it………

Here is the account of that wedding between

  Katherine Harriet Roche Thackwell

                       daughter of

 Major General William de Wilton Roche Thackwell &

        Captain Edward Rawdon Penrose

Katherine’s wedding dress was of rich poplin (silk), with a bodice and court train of brocaded poplin trimmed with Limerick point lace and sprigs of orange blossoms.

Limerick Point Lace:

“Limerick Lace differs from all other Irish Laces in that it was a commercial enterprise started by an Englishman, Charles Walker in 1821. He  started a lace industry based on Nottingham lace in Limerick. The industry thrived for many years until the demand for lace fell and the trade nearly died out. It was revived in 1880 by Mrs. Vere O’Brien and the tradition of Limerick Lace continues to this day. The beauty of Limerick Lace is its delicacy and the contrast between the outlines of the design and the filling stitches used.”

Limerick point lace

Orange Blossoms – symbol of fertility, fruitfulness.
Since Queen Victoria wore Orange Blossoms for her wedding day, they became a classic floral theme for Victorian brides.

sprays of myrtle

Her tulle veil was fastened with diamond stars and sprays of myrtle and orange blossoms.

She wore a pearl and moonstone bangle a gift from the bridegroom.

And carried a magnificent bouquet.

I assume (although it is not said) that her wedding bouquet would have included sprays of myrtle and maybe orange blossoms to continue the theme and myrtle that was made fashionable by Queen Victoria’s bouquet.

  The bridemaids costumes consisted of Louis xiv velvet coats of sieux roses, with lace ruffles and white brocaded vest, and long skirts of bengaline to match and large hats with ostrich feathers.

               Formal weddings during this period were all white, including the bridesmaid’s dresses and veils. Veils were attached to a coronet of flowers, usually orange blossoms for the bride and roses or other in-season flowers for the attendants. The bride’s accessories included: short white kid gloves, hanky embroidered with her maiden name initials, silk stockings embroidered up the front, and flat shoes decorated with bows or ribbons at the instep.

Each bridesmaid wore a shamrock brooch and carried a tall Malacca done with a massive silver head with monogram of the bride and bridegroom embossed in gold (that was a gift from the bridegroom) 

The brides travelling dress was of green cloth trimmed with Astrakhan and fawn coloured vest embroidered in gold with a hat to match.

A large reception was held at Aghada Hall House and many of the locals

of importance were invited. Here follows a list of their names were they lived and what the gave as a wedding gift:

Mr & Mrs Penrose-Fitzgerald  (Corkbeg House) Case of sugar, set of teaspoons, sugar tongs, copper kettle with wrought iron stand

Mrs Howie (Barnabrow) a tea cloth

Mrs Lawless and daughters (Kilcrone House) silver candlesticks and opal ring

Mr & Mrs Litchfield (Ballymaloe House) Book of poems

silver lemon squeezer

Dr Travers & family (Farside Villa) Pearl and diamond bracelet

Captain and Miss Rowland (Kilbroy house)

Lady Pope Hennessy-  Astrakhan wrap

Mrs. Paul Lawless – gold and pearl bangle

Mr & Miss Wise (Rostellan House) Old silver cream jug

Misses Gladys Wilkinson – a photographic frame, garnet brooch and pearl and diamond ring

Dean Fleming, wife and daughter (D eanery) embroided handkerchief

Rev. Townsend and his daughters (Aghada)

To name but a few of the guests that were present from the area and the gifts they brought.

The bride and groom left for the continent for their honeymoon.

Isn’t it so sad to think that this house that played such an important part in this young lady’s big day stands no more and that all trace of it is gone…..

(The illustrations used are not of  the exact items)


About Annemarie Foley

I'm a house-historian that researches and documents the history of a house and the people that lived there. I bring together a snapshot of the story behind the house. This information is used by a variety of people from Historians to Architects, Estate agents, Ancestors or those generally concerned about the heritage of the property.

11 Responses to “Aghada Hall House”

  1. very interesting account of the wedding anne marie. I live locally and enjoy local history but had never come accross this account before.

    Martha Walsh

  2. Loved your article on Aghada House and would love to know how to share this artile with friend in Cape Town via Face book or email?

  3. Hi There Annmarie are there any surviving paintings or photos of Aghada Hall

    • So far I have not been able to find anything! it is so frustating it is as if all trace of this house has disappeared. Have been able to trace relatives but they don’t seen to have anything either.

      • I used to live in the small lodge at the entrance gate and would have really liked to see what the house looked like .I believe there is a painting in the port of cork offices that may show the house from the water

      • Hi I don’t know if you are still interested but I have a painting of Aghada Hall.

      • Louis de Soissons September 26, 2014 at 4:37 pm

        How fascinatingt to find this , Katherine Thackwell and Edawrd Penrose ( of Woodhill House , sadly now also demolished although the Crawford Gallery in Cork house many artworks from the house including a David ) were my great grand parents and their daughter Eleanor married my grandfather , Louis de Soissons . I do have some old family photographs of the house if anyone is interested to see them , it was a handsome and well proportioned Georgian house . We have a wedding near Glandore next weekend ( 4th Oct ) and were planning to visit

  4. Merle Penrose-Thackwell Reply June 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Will be visitng Aghada in September. Sir Joseph & Katherine are my husbands great, great grandparents. Their great, great, great granddaughter and her son will accompany us.
    Should be very interesting. Also intend visiting his grave in Corkbeg.
    Merle Penrose-Thackwell. South Africa

  5. Thanks for sharing, I like James Cahil


  1. Things to do for free « Whitegate Village, East Cork - March 1, 2012

    […] 6.Wonder what happened to Katherine’s Wedding dress in Aghada Hall House. Katherine’s wedding dress was of rich poplin (silk), with a bodice and court train of brocaded poplin trimmed with Limerick point lace and springs of orange blossoms. Read more… […]

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