Literary Trail based on the novels – The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty, The Secret Scripture and The Temporary Gentleman.
Welcome back, the next point of interest on the Sebastian Barry Literary trail, is located only a short walk from the main street in Sligo Town. (You can click here to view the 1st point on the Literary trail.)
2. The Lungey House
The second location is only a 2 minute walk from our first point of interest on John Street, it is a street with an usual name called The Lungy. There was an old 17th century house on this street, on the site now occupied by a 3 storey apartment block called Cathedral View. According to The Lungy House website and The Streets of Sligo book by Fiona Gallagher, Lungy House did exist and lay in ruins for many years on The Lungy Street, which is at the top of Charles Street, the street next to where Sebastian Barry’s family had there first ancestral home. The original Lungy House was demolished completely in the 1980’s, this is most likely the house that the McNulty family refer to, although in the books, it is spelt as the Lungey House.
Tom McNulty senior, tells Eneas about how there are descended from a noble family, who once lived in The Lungey House and were butter exporters. The Lungey House is described as been in ruins at end of the yard, as Tom talks to a young five year old Eneas about it “an old jumble of walls and gaps, with brickwork about the empty windows..”
In the opening pages of the book, The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty, there is a reference to the Lungey House which is now home to black rooks that inhabit the ruins and fly over the nearby Presbyterian graves. The Sligo Presbyterian Church is located on the corner of Church Street, right on the intersection of Charles Street and The Lungy Street and St John’s Cathedral, graveyard is behind Charles Street.
Later on in the book, The Secret Scripture, Roseanne recalls Tom Junior telling her, how his family were originally butter importers or exporters, she can’t quite recall. Also, in The Temporary Gentleman, Jack McNulty recounts the same family history, his father told him, “…we had once been butter exporters in Sligo and had lived in a mansion called the Lungey House, just around the corner from our quarters on John Street. This old place was by then a charmless and festering ruin.”
There is another old large 19th century period house still standing on The Lungy Street, located on the corner of Church Lane and The Lungy, behind a large stone boundary wall, which dates back to 1840’s, it is a detached four-bay by two-bay, two-storey stone house, which was a former Glebe house for the clergy, this is not the original Lungey House, that is referred to in the book, but it is similar in stature, to the one, which Tom is referring to as he talks to young Eneas.
This former Glebe house is now the home of the Sligo Social Services, it is a beautiful old 19th century building and if you have a interest in architectural heritage, it is worth viewing, you can walk through the stone wall archway on The Lungy Street and into the Peace Park, to view the building from the outside. The Peace park itself, may also have possibly inspired Sebastian Barry, as there is reference to a People’s park in the books, which was said to have been named after a priest called Father Moran. The Peace park, was built in the last 40 years, after the land was donated to the Sligo people by the then Bishop of Elphin.