There was a house on the site before 1800 but the current structure dates to approximately 1801. It was built by the second Earl of Belvedere, George Rochfort, who owned vast acreage around Mullingar, including nearby Belvedere House. Sometime in the nineteenth century it passed into the ownership of the Downes family, well known members of the legal profession. When the Catholic Diocese of Meath purchased it in 1952, it became the Bishops Palace.
It was bought by Ted O’Leary (Michael O’Leary’s father) in 1974 and the O’Learys lived there for a few years. It’s easy to imagine a young Michael O’Leary flying paper planes in the drawing room! The O’Learys sold it to the Broder family and in 1980 it was bought by Bord Fáilte, the Irish Tourist Board. The beautiful building was the Regional Tourist Office for more than thirty years.
Now it is the home of the Victorian Escapade where you can enjoy your special occasion in these elegant surroundings and experience how both halves lived a century ago.