The Marquis of Sligo (Westport House) builds Delphi Lodge as a hunting/fishing lodge and is reputed to have named it “Delphi” based on the valley’s alleged similarity to the home of the Oracle in Greece.
Delphi Lodge is used throughout the next 120 years by the family or leased out to various tenants for the fishing season—mostly British army officers or members of the protestant clergy.
Delphi is mentioned very favourably in several fishing travelogues of the 19th century and particularly noted for its sea trout, not salmon. See “An Elysium Piscatorum” (Walter Peard, A Year of Liberty).
Hundreds of starving people arrive at Louisburgh from far and wide to be counted and assessed for the continuation of their “outdoor relief.” The two officials responsible, a Captain Primrose and a Colonel Hogrove decide not to remain at Louisburgh to carry out the inspection but to go on to Delphi Lodge, resulting in those being assessed having to follow on foot. The inspection takes place without any food or practical assistance being proffered. The “paupers” have no choice but to make the 16 mile return journey once again on foot in the most appalling of weather conditions. Many perish along the way.
Paddy is born in what is now Waterfall Cottage on the 27th June 1922.
The Heneghans were originally woodmen from Cork. They moved to Mayo in the early 19th century to fell the once great oak woods along the Erriff River. In the 1890’s Paddy’s grandfather Michael lived near Ashleigh when he was recruited by Marquis of Sligo as caretaker of the property. At the time, he took up residence in what is now Waterfall Cottage where Paddy’s father John would have also lived until they moved to their house at Doolough, which was originally the residence of Captain Houstoun’s coachman. Captain Houstoun was the owner of Doolough house which is now a ruin.
Delphi Lodge becomes famous when lead by Alec Wallace, a brilliant Trinity College mathematician. He ran the lodge as though it were an informal fishing house-party, attracting many famous guests, including Nobel Prize winners, poets, et. al., who came to stay.
“A Man May Fish” by Judge T C Kingsmill Moore, reputed to be Ireland’s best ever fishing book, devotes a whole chapter to Alec Wallace and Delphi.
Peter Mantle, along with friends and investors, restores the Lodge, Cottages and Fishery back to the wonderful estate we know today.
Peter becomes known for hosting guests—anglers and holiday makers alike—in communal seating at “The Big Table” where he hosts many long and entertaining dinners, a tradition kept by General Manager Michael Wade since Peter’s departure in 2010.
Delphi Lodge invites AFRI to follow the original famine walk route, starting from Lousiburgh and ending at Delphi Lodge, the destination in 1849, and finally some 164 years later, to be received with a long overdue and fitting welcome.
By symbolically opening its gates to the AFRI Famine Walk annually since 2013, Delphi Lodge wishes to acknowledge its part in the Doolough Tragedy, whilst showing, on behalf of all of the Delphi staff, what we are today – a welcoming, traditional Irish Country House.
Following the Covid-19 lockdown of 2020, Delphi Lodge re-opens in 2021 with dining protocols.
In 2022, the tradition of “The Big Table” returns, and life at Delphi Lodge resumes with a renewed energy.