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  • Aspects of Westmeath

Belvedere House and Gardens

Belvedere House and Gardens are located on the shores of Lough Ennell. It was opened to the public in 2000 after it was restored by Westmeath County Council, Bord Fáilte and the ERDF (European Regional Development Fund).

The Belvedere Estate is 160 acres in size and is now a major tourist attraction in Westmeath. Why is that so?

Robert Rochfort

Belvedere House is an 18th century stately home which was owned by the Earl of Belvedere, Robert Rochfort. It was designed by Richard Castle, a German architect.

Rochfort, or the "Wicked Earl" as he was known was famous for locking his second wife up in Gaulstown for 18 years. It was a huge scandal at the time and his younger brother George, who was very upset with his brother's behaviour, decided to build a bigger mansion close to where Belvedere House was.

Belvedere Gardens

The gardens at Belvedere are dominated by the Walled Garden, which was designed by Ninian Nevin in 1857. It houses some of the finest specimens of rare and unusual plants found in Ireland.

The gardens are also home to the Belvedere Apiary (where bees are kept) and to the Belvedere Falconry Centre. This centre organises flying displays by falcons, hawks and eagles, as well as housing a wide variety of owls.