Intrinsically linked with the history of Ballinakill is Heywood. Heywood House lies in Heywood Demesne which is passed every day by people leaving the town by the two trees and heading towards Heywood Community School. Remnants of the old demesne wall are still visible on the right hand side of the road.
The old entrance to Heywood House was through the Tower Lodge and the walker should closely examine the crest above the gate and see the Stanhope crest and motto. The motto reads “Mihi gravato Deus ” which means “ Let God lay greatness on me”. Philip, Earl of Stanhope, took ownership of the land around Ballinakill in 1765 when the last Ridgeway died.
As the gates are locked the walker must proceed to the Heywood CS entrance and turn right immediately, The route takes you behind the entrance gate and up the old entrance to the house and garden passing a grotto and a spire.
The Spire: The spire was what greeted the visitor to Heywood. It is shown in a painting by G. Holmes in 1821. It is six-sided, made from pale sandstone and a milestone. It commemorates the visit of Andrew Caldwell, a friend of Trench. The letters TRENCH are at the top.
The Grotto: This was built on a site known locally as Judy’s Wood. It was blessed on February 11th 1958. This marked the centenary anniversary of the apparition of our Blessed Lady to St. Bernadette at the Grotto in Lourdes. Locals Joe Ryan, Jack O Connor, Charlie O’Loughlin, Pierce Phelan and Jimmy Fitzpatrick worked on the project under the guidance of Fr. Treanor.
Gothic Orangery: Moving up the old road we come to a Gothic Orangery, the Gothic Orangery is at the new entrance to Heywood C.S. It is also marked on the 1818 sketch of the estate by F.W. Trench. It was marked on the 1st edition OS maps of the estate. Built mainly of brick it has five pointed arches to the front. It essentially was a conservatory or greenhouse.
The Gardens: Built between 1906 and 1912 next year is the centenary of the construction of the Lutyen’s designed gardens. The numerous guide signs explain the history of the gardens and they are well worth a visit.
GPS: 52.88470, -7.30047.