About Us - The History of Barlow House

Barlow House’s story leads it on a historical journey from elegant Georgian townhouse to Victorian RIC Barracks up to the present day as an Arts Centre. We’re particularly proud of the architectural, artistic and historical value of this beautiful townhouse.

Barlow House Exterior

The building of the town of Drogheda during this period is one of the most important developments in the history of Irish Georgian architecture. Barlow House reveals the prosperity of the aristocracy and merchants of the town at the time. A five bay town house constructed in 1734 within the walls of the western barbican, the design is attributed to the Neo-Palladian builder Richard Castle, a German draughtsman and Francis Bindon, the Munster architect and portrait painter.
The building was commissioned by Alderman James Barlow, a merchant and active participant in the corporation. It served as his family home which he shared with Althamia Leigh and their six children. To the front of the house there were formal sculpted gardens leading down to the river and this fact is supported by several maps of the period including Revels map.

This graceful structure can be seen in one of the oldest artworks held in the Drogheda Borough Council’s Collection. Painted by Italian Artist Gabriele Ricciardelli, a Neapolitan artist around 1750s and entitled ‘A View of Drogheda from Millmount’, this painting looks across the river to the Western Town Wall leading to the Old Westgate with the ruins of the Abbey of St. Mary D’Urso and Barlow House in the distance. This painting is noteworthy because it accurately shows us the towns plan at the time and displays Barlow House as one of the most significant pavilion houses at the time.

It has been designated by both An Foras Forbartha and the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage with their highest status as of ‘National’ importance. It is fortunate in retaining many of its original features such as room layout and its open-well back staircase with fluted balusters and Corinthian columns on the corners. The original plasterwork over the entrance hall has a geometrically designed ceiling and modillion blocks in the cornice. Early Georgian detailing such as the door knockers, lamp post and railing piers are still present.

Barlow House Foyer

Barlow House Droichead Arts Centre

Barlow House Today

Today Barlow House is bustling with an array of cultural and community activity on a daily basis including; classes in drawing, painting, drama, photography, music, yoga, meditation, children’s art, school grinds, flower arranging, and much more. It is also a perfect space for group meetings including; writers, music appreciation, youth theatre and production rehearsals. With its traditional features, the drawing rooms are an ideal location for book launches, small music launches and art auctions.