The estate of Ballydonagh comprised of 300 acres was purchased by David La Touche, David the Second, in 1753. The house was built between 1754-56 at an estimated cost of £30,000. It was called ‘Bellevue’ and was David’s favourite country retreat. Exquisite gardens were laid out with winding paths and “extras” built by David and his son, Peter. Famous among these was the Octagon, built in 1766, with a panther on springs which could be made to jump out at unwary visitors.

On the death of David, in 1785, Peter inherited Bellevue. Peter’s wife, Rebecca Vicars, died in 1786. Peter moved to Bellevue and 2 years later married Rebecca’s cousin, Elizabeth Vicars. There were no children of either marriage. Elizabeth was famous for her charitable works. She opened an orphanage and school for female children in the grounds of Bellevue and supported the children until they were old enough to fend for themselves. Peter, equally well known for his generosity, built Christ Church at Delgany in 1789. He died in 1828 aged 95. Bellevue remained in the Le Touche family until it fell on hard times.

In 1906, a sale of family treasures took place and land was sold to the Holy Faith Sisters to build a school. The family took in paying guests. Bellevue fell into decay and was pulled down in the 1950’s.

For more information on the La Touche Legacy click here.