25 September-Oak Park Carlow

Oak Park demesne is situated about 3km north of Carlow town, Ireland. Once the home of the Cooke family, Oak Park Estate was purchased by Henry Bruen in 1775. Bruen had made a fortune in the army commissariat in America where he was responsible for the supply of food and forage, for the troops. Bruen also purchased other land around Oak Park and by 1841 a survey showed the Bruen estates extended to over 8,000 hectares in Carlow.

Oak Park was home to the Bruen family from 1775 until 1957. The last Bruen to live in Oak Park, also Henry, died in 1954. His wife had left him several years earlier to live in Galway with Milo Petrovic-Njegos, a Montenegrin Prince. She was left nothing in his will. His daughter, and only child, Patricia who was born in 1914 had married Mervyn Boyse of Wexford. Bruen did not approve of the marriage. As a result he left her a weekly income of £6 for life. He left the remainder of his estate to his cousin in England. Patricia contested the will and the High Court but it was agreed to sell the estate in 1957 and divide the proceeds equally. Patricia later lived at Ballybrack in Dublin.

The estate was purchased by Brownes Hill Estates for £50,555. However due to objections from local farmers the estate was purchased by the Land Commission in 1960. The Land Commission divided seven hundred acres of the estate among farmers. The remainder of the estate and Oak Park House became a research centre for the Agricultural Institute (Teagasc). The Agricultural Institute was established with the assistance of funds from the Marshall Plan through which Ireland received over $146 million. Today Oak Park is the national headquarters of Teagasc where a Plaque in the reception area records the impact of the Marshall Plan on Ireland.

In 2006 Teagasc gave over 120 acres of woodland near the Oak Park lake to Carlow local authorities. This has been developed as an amenity with boarded walkways stretching for several kilometres through the forest. It is a popular recreational attraction for both locals and tourists.

The Oak Park Estate in Carlow was auctioned in the year 1957 On This Day.

Oak Park photo


Photo by andrew_j_w

Oak Park photo

Farm safety walk at Oak park

Photo by The Labour Party

4 Replies to “25 September-Oak Park Carlow”

    • Our apologies for the omission. We acknowledge that several details relating to the estate were omitted. We will rectify the matter in due course.

  1. Just came across this today, and probably a bit late to be contributing. My grandfather was a groom, later chauffeur to Capt (Col?) Bruen, and my mother grew up on the estate. Oak Park and its various goings-on were part of our family folklore. As a child I well remember the controversy with the will and Patricia Bruen-Boyse. As well as the sawmill, there were also a school, dairy, stables/garages, ice-house as well as an unfinished mausoleum. As a small child I stayed in my grandparents cottage on the estate occasionally, and once even in the big house when Capt Bruen was away.

    • It sounds like it was exciting and enjoyable childhood experience. We would be very pleased to publish your recollections of Oak Park if you feel like sharing them with us.

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