Ardress House, Annaghmore, was originally a modest farmhouse which was transformed in 1760 by Dublin architect George Ensor. It is run by the National Trust and contains examples of 18th century furniture and a display of paintings. It includes plasterwork in the drawing room made by Michael Stapleton in 1780. The farmyard and outbuildings show aspects of farming history with a display of farm implements. There is a garden with examples of early types of Irish rose. The ‘Ladies Mile’ is a woodland walk around the estate.
Ardress House boasts one of the finest neo-classical drawing rooms in Ireland but beyond the grandeur lays a pleasant surprise in the form of an 18th Century cobbled farmyard. The farmyard’s proximity to the house itself is unusual and it boasts a comprehensive range of farm buildings such as a Dairy, Smithy, Tool Shed and Threshing Barn, all fully equipped with tools used at the time in the 18th Century. Let your imagination take you on a journey….as a Dairy Maid perhaps milking the cows in the Byre followed by butter making in the Dairy or imagine yourself as the Blacksmith shoeing horses and making tools in the Smithy. The farm nowadays comes to life with a collection of colourful chickens that wait patiently for the arrival of visitors. Come along and feed these colourful characters and also meet their cute Shetland ponies, Poppy and Murdy and the Soay sheep. Ardress farmyard is also where you can find a total of 8 species of bats. You’ll have to come to one of their Bat evenings to fully appreciate them but there is an interesting exhibition in one of the buildings giving information about these nocturnal inhabitants. With its sunny position facing south west the farmyard appeals to all, whether to evoke childhood memories of days gone by or to simply provide a haven to experience the sights and sounds of the present.
The Lady’s Mile is a circular walk bordering part of the 100 acre estate of Ardress. It was planted in the 1800’s by the Ensor family and while oak predominates, ash, beech, lime, horse chestnut, sycamore and Scot’s pine trees are also present. The short Lady’s Mile walk guides you through a peaceful belt of woodland surrounding Ardress. Pause for a moment and through the gaps in the trees you can glimpse charming views of the white-walled farmhouse with its quiet apple orchard nestled in pastoral farmland. The walk is about 1 mile, or 1.6 kilometres, long and shoyld take about 20 minutes, though you should take the time to pause and enjoy the bucolic serenity. The gradients are moderate.
Drinks and ice cream are available. There is free parking, about 10 yards from the house. You can picnic in the attractive garden and woodlands. There are adapted toilets in the reception area. There are three steps to the main entrance but there is an alternative accessible entrance at the rear of the house. One wheelchair is available. There are accessible routes in the grounds. Assistance dogs are welcome.
Location : 64 Ardress Road, Annaghmore, Portadown, County Armagh, BT62 1SQ
Transport: Portadown (NI Rail) then bus (67a). Bus Routes : 67a and 67b stop closeby.
Opening Times : Saturday - Sunday, 13:00 to 18:00; July, August, Thursday - Monday 13:00 to 18:00
Tickets : Adult £5.00; Child £2.27
Tel: 028 8778 4753