Kilaspy House


Thomas Sherlock sold the Sherlock Estate at Butlerstown, Co. Waterford, to Robert Backas in 1798 and went to live in Kilaspy House. He was succeeded by his son, Alexander, who sold it to S.T. Grubb of Waterford pre 1865. Sam Tom Grubb was a colourful character in the Waterford of his day. Grubb seems to have had a short tenure of the house as he sold it to Abraham Stephens for £850 in 1868. Stephens was from Duncannon, Co. Wexford, and was a successful businessman in Waterford city. He died circa 1890 and Kilaspy House again changed hands. It was owned for a short period by James Cahill of the Waterford firm of Hearne & Cahill, Footwear Manufacturers, before being in the possession of Miss King from Mount Pleasant.

In 1901 Ernest Evans took a lease on the house. He and his family had come from Wales and for a time lived in Abbey House, Ferrybank. In 1903 he acquired the property from the Irish Land Commission and the Evans family remained there until the house became unsafe for occupancy. The structure had greatly deteriorated and the family were advised to vacate it.

The following anonymous account of a visit to the mansion was carried in the Waterford News of July 6th, 1934.

"On a recent visit to Slieverue, I found myself in the grounds of Kilaspy House, once one of the big houses of the area. A weather battered old Georgian pile, it looks out at you from among lines of lofty trees. The remains of the gardens, the huge walled orchard, the grass covered carriage drives, all point to the royal manner in which the country squire lived in the early part of the 19th century. I walked along the remains of what was once the famous circular walk. A gravelled walk lined once with trees which circled the demesne???. At three points on the walk I encountered stone bridges with gateways underneath to allow for the passing of cattle below. Pedestrians on this circular walk were not to be disturbed, hence the miniature bridges which arched to a height of 12 to 14 ft.

I was shown the ‘parlour tree’, a low tree of immense girth. At a height of some 20 feet in this tree hospitality was dispensed by Sherlock over a century ago, the table being set in the trunk with rustic seats about it. The recent American craze for tree sitting is after all not so modern as is generally suggested. The entrance to this rustic parlour was via the circular walk - a low circular wall, which is still standing, surrounded the strange dining table. Sherlock is said to have lived in lavish fashion and tradition tells of the balls and garden parties which were once a daily feature of Kilaspy House.

The bountiful host, however, severed his connections with Slieverue district under strange circumstances. A racehorse owned by him named Bucky Bravo was backed to win a fortune. Tradition tells that the race was sold and Sherlock found himself a ruined man!

There is more than one legend in circulation about the house and its surroundings. It is said that the house was haunted, that the sounds of voices were often heard at night. The folk memory relates that the voices seemed to come from a large group of people in high elation, suggesting that they may have been from the ballroom. It is also believed that the house was connected to the ancient church across the road by an underground tunnel.

Neither the house or the church remain. The church is long since gone, not the slightest trace of it remains, nor of the adjoining cemetery. No trace remains of the mansion that was Kilaspy House. The skeletal buildings which remain on the site are the remains of the stables. The house was on the western side of the stables and the entrance was from the road to Ballyrobin/Waterford. The entrance to the house still remains but, of course, it does nothing to convey the image of its importance in that far off age.