Marie O’Leary and I spent a few hours talking about this particular site. Hollymount House was an old plantation house sited in the townsland of Galbally, which was bordered by the townslands of Sinnottsmill, Pollregan, Knockmore, Johnstown, Ballina, Ballyhow Lower and Galbally Beg. We came to the opinion that the current reference to the name of Hollymount as a townsland is recent and derived from the name of the house and estate. When this occurred, we were not sure. OSI maps from the late 19th feature the name Galbally as the townsland so we can only surmise it has happened in the past 100 years or so. Nevertheless, the name change has stuck and even the local Shelmalier GAA Club uses Hollymount in its address. 
 
One of the last people to live in the house was a well-known character called Agnes Murphy who left a lasting impression on many of the people I spoke to. In fact, a local drinking water well bears her name, ‘Agnes’ Well’. However, like the house, it too has grown over.
 
From the old OSI maps you can see it was a large house and was extensively landscaped and planted with trees. I was told that at the back of Hollymount House was a line of trees which were planted so that the ladies of the house could walk in privacy and always be in shade. From examining the old OSI maps, this double line of trees is evident. I have come across this form of deliberate planting in other estates in Ireland. Across the water in France, the great Napoleon himself is credited with originating the policy of lining French roads with trees to enable his soldiers to march in the shade. To this day, some of France’s roads are still lined with these trees which are slowly disappearing due to road safety developments. However, there is no sign of the line of trees at Hollymount House now, its only remains are in the stories of the local people which have been backed up by the old maps of the site.
 
In fact, on visiting the site of the old house and plantation, nothing at all is visible of the house and trees. The field gently rises and falls, now covered in stubble with a small planation of evergreens in the distance. As for the entrances, very little exists, apart from the actual entrances themselves which are simply purely functional entrances into the cattle sheds and the field itself. The only thing that remains is the name; Hollymount.

Hollymount House

Galbally, Co. Wexford

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