Our History

Discover our deep history, dating back to the 18th century.

Originally built as a hunting lodge for the first Earl of Bective, Lord Headfort, one of Ireland’s richest men.

Located 20 miles away from his principal residence, Headfort House in Kells, the Lodge was intended as a cottage-style home from home and hunting lodge, informal in layout but still lavishly decorated with the finest silver, china, and furniture.


The Second Earl added to the property and imported exotic shrubs and trees from China, Japan and elsewhere to create the parkland that today surrounds the Lodge.


Then coming under the ownership of Geoffrey Thomas Taylour, the 4th Marquess of Headfort, who scandalised Edwardian society with his marriage to Rosie Boote, with Rosie being a Catholic from a humble background, and the Marquess a Protestant aristocrat.

The couple married, not without the resistance of high society and family members, and even the King attempted to discourage the match. Friends and family later came around, charmed by the marchioness’ beauty and personality. 


The Taylour's continued to spend summer and autumn at the Lodge, passing it down through the family from 1750 to 1939. In 1940, the Lodge - now called The Park Hotel - was purchased by Ernest and Helen MacDonnell. Over the next few years, the Lodge transformed into a hotel, becoming a regular venue for late night music sessions in the 60s, and being famed for its homely and welcoming atmosphere. 
Ernie was also a former footballer, and so the grounds served as the training camp to the local Cavan team.


The Park Hotel passed down to Ernest and Helen's son and wife - Barry and Helen. Described as one of Ireland's most prominent hoteliers, McDonnell also served as the president of the Irish Hotels Federation. 


Richard Corrigan marries his wife Maria at Virginia Park Lodge.


Richard purchases the Lodge and vows to restore the estate to its former glory, setting out a 15 year restoration project.


Botanist Daphne Shackleton brought in as consultant for the restoration of the Gardens.


Main House and Gate Lodge refurbishment starts, with Shepherd and Woodland Huts added.


First garden crops are brought over to Richard's London restaurants, including Jerusalem Artichokes and Sea Kale.


Arrival of Oxford Sandy and Black piglets, a rare traditional breed of pig, with help from expert Michael Maguire.


Our latest project, the Deerpark Inn opens on Main Street, reforming the historic Chestnut Tree site.