An Grianán was not always an education centre
The then Newtown House was built in the 18th century by McClintock and bought by Mrs. Helen Lentaigne, a founding member of the ICA, in 1922. Because of Mrs. Lentaigne connections with the ICA, Newtown House was used as a venue for one of the first ICA Summer School’s in the 1930’s.
In 1945 Mrs Lentaugn sold Newtown House and land to the Irish Tourist Board who renovated the premises and opened the Tearmann Hotel. It was sold again to Mr. Con Smith in 1949 and again to The Kellogg foundation. It is said that while attending a dinner party, Muriel Gahan overheard Mr Kellogg say that he wished to educate the people of Ireland. She, being a head- strong ICA lady, told Mr Kellogg she knew of the very place he was looking for-having attended the summer school there. She told him that if he invested on behalf of the ICA that they contribute strongly towards the educating of the people of Ireland. The Kellogg foundation entrusted the property to the Irish Countrywomen’s Association for “The health, education and welfare of the people of Ireland”.
An Grianán meaning the” sunny place” was then born in 1954. A Committee report from the time stated “ We do not set out to run a College in the generally accepted use of the word, nor to turn out scholars or experts , but we know that in the light of our work during our short stay at An Grianán, visitors will go home with the desire to learn more and the will to do more about all they have seen, done and experienced.”
Because of An Grianán various owners the building and its rooms have 18th, 19th and 20th century influences with new and old rooms being constantly rebuilt and updated. The most recent updates occurred this year to the bar, the demonstration kitchen, the reception area and the dining room. The bed rooms are currently in the process of being brought up to date with en-suites and refurbishments.
The house today is still a hive of activity with classes being held by both ICA and non ICA members. It is available for events such as weddings, business meetings, conferences, tour groups and weekends away. Visitors to the House always complement it on its warmth and beautiful setting. It is a building that is loved and admired. The grounds of An Grianán also house The Muriel Gahan Museum, A Garden Centre, Tea Rooms, Tennis Courts and quick access to the local beach.
This week An Grianán Celebrates its 60th year with the ICA. Here’s to more to come!
For more information contact An Grianán at email@example.com or 041 9822119