Historic houses and castles

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Emo Court House

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Contact details

Address

Emo, Laois,
T: +353(0)578626573
F: +353(0)578626460
E: emocourt@opw.ie

Emo Court House is an Irish historic house near Emo Village in County Laois. A long and colourful history has seen the house adapted and renovated; today the popular attraction has been restored to its former glory as a large neo-classical mansion.

Emo Court House is a neo-classical mansion in County Laois that attracts visitors from all over the country and beyond. Designed by noted architect James Gandon, it features magnificent gardens and is located just 2.5 km from Emo village and 7 km from Portarlington Railway Station.

Designed in 1790 for the Earls of Portarlington, Emo Court House is a magnificent example of the neo-classical style. After some periods of lying empty, it was acquired by the Jesuits in the middle of the 20th century. Functional renovations were made to the estate before it was sold to Major Cholmeley Harrison, a former London stockbroker, in the 1960s.

Cholmeley Harrison’s vision was to restore Emo Court House to its former glory and today the results of his efforts are obvious. Leading London architect Sir Albert Richardson was commissioned to take on the restoration of the house which remained a private residence, though the public were encouraged to enjoy the gardens for a small entrance fee.

In 1994 Cholmeley Harrison presented Emo Court House to the people of Ireland, continuing to live there in private apartments until his death in 2008. Staff of the Office of Public Works (OPW) now care for the estate and preserve its stately elegance for modern visitors.

Visit Emo Court House to enjoy the beautiful gardens and parklands which were first laid out in the 18th century, containing formal lawns and a lake. Walks through the woodland are a popular way to explore the beautiful grounds.

The Cupcake Café at Emo Court House offers lunch and is open every day from 1 February to 31 October. From 1 November to 31 January it’s open on Saturdays and Sundays. Groups are welcomed at Emo Court House, but booking is required.