The House & Grounds
Settled and secure, the house offers both mystery and comfort.
The soft carpeted, lamp-lit rooms, where from pools of rose-gold light shadowy spaces run away everywhere, down long corridors into nooks and crannies, hidden rooms filled with novelties and secrets.
"Annaghmakerrig- moated by lakes, remotely distant beyond its three avenues, inviolate behind its fir-clad hills, boggy fields and brackish canals – is a dream kingdom, a view of the exotic over the last hill.”
– Joe Hone
“The isolation and unspoilt landscape of Annaghmakerrig make it a place where one’s humanity is inseparable from the mysteries of nature, where instinct and intuition come to the surface with an unquestioned validity. Through the white gates one takes that liminal step into a world with its own rhythms and exigencies, where some certainties and securities allow for the most daring and exploratory of work”.
– Sheila Pratschke
Situated in 450 acres of mature woodland the history of the house and land reveals a rich tapestry that is interwoven with the history of the townlands of Aghabog, Killeevan and the province of Ulster with its warp and weft of historical fact and mythology creating both pattern and colour, telling the story of the people who over several centuries called this place home.
The history of the land stretches back to prehistoric times, and reads like a microcosmic version of the history of the island as a whole. We can trace its trajectory through the recorded presence of a crannóg on Annaghmakerrig Lake, the heyday of the ancient clans until the end of the old Gaelic order in the seventeenth century with, in between, legends and stories relating to St Patrick and the Christianisation of ancient Ireland. Details can be found in the records left by industrious archaeologists and cartographers in Irish libraries and archives of Annaghmakerrig’s owners and their families who gave this very special place its distinct resonance.
There we can trace the passage of the families and their descendants that peopled the land and eventually built the house, passing it on through the generations as a proud inheritance, until it came to be the property and home of Sir Tyrone Guthrie. He it was who had the vision, generosity and faith to bequeath it to the State to become Ireland’s first Artists’ Retreat.
Today the house and grounds regularly appear in, or are the inspiration for poems, novels, paintings and music. For example, Irish composer Ciaran Farrell has written a suite, Around and About, that was directly inspired by the House and Lands. In his programme notes he comments:
"Around and About was written during a stay at the Tyrone Guthrie Centre, in Co. Monaghan after I returned from what can only be described as a shaky stay in Istanbul. A magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook the region for just under a minute on the 17th of August, 1999, causing widespread destruction and the deaths of over seventeen thousand people. Hundreds of thousands were left homeless. The prospects of another large-scale quake occurring left everyone on tenterhooks and many, often violent, aftershocks did occur during the months that followed leaving everyone on constant alert and readied for house evacuation.
Shortly after I returned to Ireland, Irish guitarist John Feeley and flautist William Dowdall commissioned a new work for flute and guitar. I wanted to do something light to counter what I’d experienced during my Turkish residency and I also wanted to somehow pay tribute to the late Sir Tyrone Guthrie. The resulting piece, Around and About, (The Garden, The Lake and The Woods) is a reflection on the grounds of Tyrone Guthrie’s estate at Annaghmakerrig, in County Monaghan, which he left to the state to facilitate artists in their creative endeavours. The piece is dedicated to his memory and it has since been arranged for a number of different combinations including flute and vibraphone, flute and piano, and sax and piano.”
The Big House
The eleven comfortable rooms in the Big House include a bed, writing desk and a chair. Each has its own unique charm and character with a unique selection of books, ornaments and paintings.
The five unique cottages situated in the farmyard are self-catering and artists are invited to dinner one night per week in the Big House, by prior arrangement. Each cottage has a living room/workspace, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom.
There is also a purpose-built apartment adjacent to the Big House which incorporates a carer’s room.