Kenure House

Rush, Ireland

Demolished 1978

The Disappointed Tourist: Kenure House, Ellen Harvey, 2023. Oil and acrylic on Gessoboard, 18 x 24″ (46 x 61 cm). Photograph: Etienne Frossard.

Kenure House was a large Georgian house and estate in Rush, County Dublin, Ireland. The main house was constructed between 1703 and 1713 by the Duke of Ormond but rebuilt in 1827 after a fire. A portico and further additions were added in 1842 to a design by George Papworth. In 1964 the contents were auctioned off by Colonel R. H. Fenwick-Palmer, the last of the Palmers to live in the house. The estate was sold estate to the Irish Land Commission who then handed it over to Dublin County Council, who, unable to find a buyer for it, in its increasingly dilapidated and vandalised condition, were finally obliged to demolish it for safety reasons in 1978. Today only the enormous portico remains. The painting is based on an old undated photograph from the Office of Public Works.

It’s an archival image of a now demolished “Big House” from Rush, in north County Dublin. The granite portico of the house remains, surrounded by a housing estate. I photographed the portico as a teenager, and have often wondered about the rest of the house. The wonders of the Internet have revealed something of the mystery of the rest of the structure. Anon.