Lough Eske Castle
These photographs were submitted by Sylvia and form part of the Donegal Genealogy Resources Website
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Sylvia's grandfather was the Gatelodge Keeper and her father, Robert Johnston, grew up there. Lough Eske Castle is a tudor-baronial castle of 1866 by Fitzgibbon Louch, built for the Donegal branch of the Brookes.
It was sold in 1894 after the death of Thomas Brook to Major-Gen H.G. White.
The Donegal Brooks started with Sir Basil Brooke, who, we are told, was responsible for the design of Donegal Town and the attractive Diamond. He originally lived in and restored the O'Donnells Castle when it was made over to him by Royal Grant in 1610.
The Brooke family are believed to have lived in it up to the opening decade of the 18th century, when they moved to Brookhill which they had built.
Lough Eske Castle c.1930, when it was used as a Guest House
Sylvia has sent me some information on Lough Eske Castle and some background to her connection to it:
'My grandfather, Robert Johnston married Sarah Elvin in 1919; they had William in 1920 and my father Robert in 1921. Sadly, due to complications of the birth of my father, Sarah died nine days later. This left my grandfather with a new born and a 13 month old baby to care for....luckily enough he had kind neighbours and people called Lowry to look after my father until July of 1921, when my grandfather married Kate Bartley. Kate loved the boys and it turned out to be a very happy marriage. I'm not sure exactly when Robbie moved into the gatelodge (somewhere in the early 1920s) but he was gardener, gatelodge keeper and sexton of Lough Eske Church for nearly 50 years. Kate (she was always referred to as 'wee Kate') died early 1969 at 90 years old and Robbie died age 81 later that year. The gatelodge went into disrepair for several years after that and it was used as a fishing lodge for a while. It wasn't until 1996 that it was bought and renovated by a family from Comber, Co. Down, to be used as a holiday home.'
The Gatelodge of Lough Eske Castle c. 1963...........
..........and after restoration in 1997
Sylvias father, Robert Johnston, with the Celtic Cross which marks the grave of Major-Gen. H.G. White, c. 1956
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