Elphin (Roscommon)

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The Bishop's Palace, Elphin (mapped in 1837)
The Bishop's Palace, Elphin (mapped in 1837)

An Phailís aka the Bishop’s Palace at Elphin (Church of Ireland) was commissioned by Anglican Bishop Edward Synge (1691–1762) the man behind the invaluable Census of the Diocese of Elphin 1749.


Built 1747-49, the design of this modest Palladian style building is attributed to Dublin architect Michael Wills. The three-storey central block, facing east, featured a first-floor Venetian window matching the style and proportions of the main entrance below.  Its two-storey wings on either side, were linked to the main building by quadrants and by underground passages.

As the 1837 OS map shows, there was a significant number of trees (sycamore, beech and dale) on the palace grounds. Its extensive gardens featured a covered walk of lime trees and a fish pond. A number of springs and limekilns can still be found within the grounds of the palace, as well as an ice-house and rookery directly across from the palace.


On the eve of the Great Famine, in 1845, the Anglican Bishop's residence moved to Kilmore, and The Palace was let as a private residence thereafter. As time progressed, it became known as Elphin House.  

At the time of Griffith's Valuation 1857, it was the home of Arthur O'Conor, younger brother of Denis O'Conor (Mount Druid) who leased it from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners (rateable value of £55).


In 1911, the main block was destroyed by accidental fire in 1911. The wings and quadrants, still extant, fell into dereliction over time.

In 1916, “The Orchard” was acquired and opened as one of the first G.A.A. pitches in Co. Roscommon. The walls of the beautiful gardens have survived to this day, and this stretch of road en route to Croghan and Carrick-on-Shannon is known as Palace Road.


In 2013, the south wing and its quadrant were lovingly restored as a private residence.





Some communities associated with this building

Some buildings associated with these communities