Hermitages were popular structures which were built during the 18th and early 19th centuries to enhance the landscape around stately homes and act as places to admire the view whilst taking refreshments.
Drumilly hermitage was constructed on the side of a hill and built of rough uneven stones which give a craggy-like effect. Ideally such structures had a ‘hermit’ in residence wearing rustic clothes and looking wild, to alarm visitors.
Loughgall Hermitage is a particularly fine example of the type of romantic demesne feature and is most likely to have been built c.1800 to 1820.
The lime kilns at Loughgall are large cone shaped constructions or ‘wells’ which were built into an embankment. Blocks of lime stone and fuel were carried up the ramp and thrown into the kilns. This mixture then burnt down the face of the bank and gravity ensured that it dropped to the bottom of the building where the lime was drawn out. The main consideration in the design of such kilns was to burn as much lime as quickly as possible using the least amount of fuel and labor.
The kilns here at loughgall provided lime which was used for agricultural purposes within the demesne and may also have been sold to tenants.
Under the terms of their Irish settlement in the early 17th century the Cope family were required to build a fortified enclosure called a Bawn which contained housing and stabling facilities. Drumilly ‘Bawn’ was described in a survey of 1619 as being made of lime and stone. It measured a hundred and eighty feet square and was protected by walls which were fourteen feet tall.
It had been traditionally supposed that this walled garden at Drumilly was the original bawn – probably because of its tall walls, gothic entrance and surrounding ditch. An archeological dig carried out when the Loughgall Country Park was being developed, however showed that this was in fact an eighteenth century walled garden with a walkway running around the outside.
The garden is now home to rare breeds of apples grown by The Orchard Trust