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Florence Court House & Gardens

A Glimpse into Elegance and Nature in County Fermanagh

Florence Court is romantically named after the wife of Sir John Cole who first built a house on the spectacular site in the early 18th century. The present Palladian style house was probably built by his son John, afterwards the 1st Lord Mount Florence.

The wings and Pavilion were added to the mid-18th century block around 1770 by Wm Cole, 1st Earl of Enniskillen and may have been designed by Davis Ducart. Disaster struck Florence Court in 1955 when the main building was virtually gutted by fire.

The rest of the house and the striking plasterwork after the manner of Robert West has been meticulously restored by the National Trust. Family pictures and historic items owned by the 6th Earl of Enniskillen have been returned to Florence Court in accordance with his wishes, and are on display in the house.

Florence Court is well known to gardeners as the home of the Irish Yew, Taxus baccata ‘ Fastigiata’, which is now a feature of gardens throughout the world . The original tree, discovered in about 1760, can still be seen on the fringe of Cottage Wood to the south-east of the house .

Nestled amidst the rolling hills of County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, Florence Court House & Gardens is a timeless treasure that combines architectural grandeur with the splendor of nature. This historic estate stands as a testament to the opulence of the past, boasting a magnificent Palladian mansion and enchanting gardens that invite visitors to step back in time and revel in the beauty of Ireland’s lush landscapes.

The Legacy of the Cole Family

The story of Florence Court House begins with the Cole family. In the early 18th century, Sir Hugh Cole, a prominent member of the landed gentry, inherited the estate and began the construction of the mansion. His vision for a grand residence was realized with the help of several notable architects, including Richard Cassels, who contributed to the Palladian design. The result is an architectural masterpiece that fuses classical elegance with Irish charm.

Palladian Grandeur

The mansion’s Palladian architecture, characterized by symmetrical design and classical features, is a sight to behold. Florence Court House’s elegant facade, complete with Corinthian columns and a stately portico, exudes timeless grace. Inside, the mansion boasts beautifully decorated rooms, including the mesmerizing Drawing Room, where ornate plasterwork and fine furnishings reflect the taste and style of the Georgian era.

The Enchanting Gardens

The beauty of Florence Court extends well beyond its majestic mansion. The estate features stunning gardens that have been lovingly maintained for generations. A highlight is the walled garden, a horticultural gem filled with vibrant blooms, manicured hedges, and a delightful ornamentation of statues and fountains. The garden is a sensory delight, showcasing a variety of colors and fragrances that change with the seasons.

The Big House and Its Stories

Visiting Florence Court House is not just a chance to marvel at the architectural beauty and floral splendor; it’s an opportunity to uncover the stories that have shaped the estate over the centuries. The Big House, as it is affectionately known, holds the secrets of the Cole family, their connections to the wider world, and the changing fortunes of the estate.

Guided Tours and Trails

To fully appreciate Florence Court House and Gardens, guided tours are available. Knowledgeable guides lead visitors through the house, sharing tales of its history and the people who once inhabited its grand rooms. For those who prefer the outdoors, the estate offers a network of trails through woodlands and along the shores of Lough Erne, providing scenic views and an opportunity to explore the natural beauty of the region.

Plan Your Visit

Before planning your trip to Florence Court House & Gardens, it’s advisable to check the official National Trust website for the most up-to-date information on opening hours, admission fees, and guided tours. The estate is easily accessible by car from Enniskillen and other major towns in County Fermanagh.

Florence Court House & Gardens is a captivating destination that combines the elegance of a grand Palladian mansion with the serenity of meticulously maintained gardens. It’s a place where history, architecture, and the beauty of nature converge to offer a truly enriching experience. A visit to Florence Court allows you to immerse yourself in the opulence of the Georgian era, explore the stories of the Cole family, and enjoy the tranquil landscapes of County Fermanagh. It’s an escape into the past and a celebration of Ireland’s cultural and natural heritage, waiting to be discovered by visitors from near and far.

Florence Court House

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