Derrymore House is a National Trust property in Bessbrook, County Armagh, Northern Ireland. It is described by the National Trust as a "late 18th-century thatched house in gentrified vernacular style". Built in the style of a cottage orné,the house is set in over 100 acres (0.40 km2) of beautiful parkland and woodland. It features unique local thatching using Shannon reeds.
It was built between 1776 and 1787 by Isaac Corry, MP for Newry for thirty years, on land he inherited from his father. The house was described by Sir Charles Coote as "without exception, the most elegant summer lodge..." The Act of Union was drafted in the drawing room (now known as the Treaty Room) of the house in 1800. The surrounding parkland was laid out by John Sutherland, one of the most celebrated disciples of Capability Brown.
Corry was unmarried but had a long-term relationship with Jane Symms, they had six children (three sons and three daughters); his daughter Ann married Lt.-Col. Henry Westenra, the brother of the first Baron Rossmore. Corry's residence in Newry was the Abbey Yard, now a school, and Derrymore House, Bessbrook, which he had inherited from his father and sold in 1810. During Corry's life, a road was constructed from near the main entrance of Derrymore House around Newry and linked up with the Dublin Road on the southern side of the town primarily for Corry's use. This road subsequently became known as "The Chancellor's Road," as a result of Corry's term as the Irish Chancellor of the Exchequer. A local legend has it that the road was constructed after an incident in which Corry's stagecoach was stoned while passing through Newry by people angry at an unpopular window tax he had introduced. The road has retained this name but it was cut in half by the Newry by-pass in the mid-1990s, however as a result of works associated with the new A1 dual carriageway the two halves of the road have now been reconnected. He died at his house in Merrion Square, Dublin and is buried in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.
Nearby are the Mournes, the most famous of the mountains in the country. Hugging the County Down coastline, the Mournes structure is made up of 12 peaks that extend into an area only 15 miles by 8 miles (24 x 13 kilometres), each mountain rising above 600m with the highest being Slieve Donard which towers above 852 metres. The highest and most spectacular mountain range in Northern Ireland, its popularity is evident by the hordes of walkers even in the depth of winter. The climb to Slieve Donard Summit can be strenuous but worth it for breathtaking views of the County Down Coast, Newcastle town, Murlough dunes and on a clear day Scrabo Tower to the north and the Isle of Man to the East. The National Trust cares for and maintains 526 hectares of the Mournes, which takes in part of Slieve Donard and Slieve Commedagh and forms a very important part of the Eastern Mournes Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) and Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Noted for its biological and earth science interests, the extent and quality of the habitats represented is particularly notable. One of the last active granite quarries in the Mournes is Thomas's Quarry. It is from here that 47 tonne, 40 feet (12 metre) long Delamont Millennium stone was quarried, the highest modern standing stone in Northern Ireland. Another place to explore is Bloody Bridge. The name refers to a massacre at the site during the 1641 rebellion, when the bodies of slain prisoners were thrown over the bridge into the river turning the water red.
Separate mobility parking within 30 yards of Derrymore House. The grounds have an accessible route although some visitors may require assistance from a companion. Assistance dogs are welcome although all dogs must be on a leash and all non-assistance dogs are confined to the grounds only. There are no toilet facilities on site. The treaty room is open for guided tours on a limited basis. The grounds are open daily from dawn till dusk.
Location : Derrymore House, Camlough Road, Bessbrook, Newry, County Armagh BT35 7EF
Transport: Newry (Translink) then bus. Bus Routes : 41A, 42, 44, 338E and 338F stop near by.
Opening Times : 1 and 29 May, 12 July, 28 August and 9 September, 14:00 to 17:30.
Tickets Treaty Room Tour: Adults £2.00; Children £1.00
Tel: 028 8778 4753