Collon House was built in 1740 in the Irish Longhouse style by Anthony Foster, Father of John "Speaker" Foster, who was the last Speaker of the Irish House of Commons until its dissoloution on the Act of Union in 1800. Speaker John extended Collon House in the 1770's, adding on a ballroom, master 4 poster bedroom, and second floor rooms for his children, and their governess. These second floor rooms are accessed by a "handsome half - turn stair with landings".
In "A tour of Ireland" published in 1780 by Arthur Young (a British agriculturalist), sent by the Earl of Shelbourne, later Prime Minister, mentions John Foster and Collon, declaring that his improvements "were of a magnitude that I have never heard of before"
John was born in 1740, and was MP for Dunleer from 1761 to 1768, and MP for Louth from 1768 to 1821 when he was elevated to the Peerage as Baron Oriel of Ferrard in the County of Louth. He was also Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1784-85, becoming Speaker in 1785 until 1800.
Around 1780 John built a lakeside garden folly near Collon, Oriel Temple and left Collon House to move there. He was very influential in the rebuilding of the nearby Collon Church of Ireland in 1813, and many tablet memorials to the Foster family can still be seen there.
Speaker John married his first cousin Margaretta Burgh, (Burgh Quay, Dublin), in 1764. His only surviving son, Col. Thomas Henry (1772-1843), married Harriet Skeffington in 1810, daughter and Heiress presumptive of the fourth Earl Massereene; later to become Viscountess Massereene and acquired Antrim Castle.
The remaining gardens of Collon House have been restored with appropriate period planting. The main house entrance overlooks a sunken box parterre with topiary and an intricate design layout. In the ornamental garden there is a box edged herbaceous border leading to a classical Greek style summer house.
Collon House, in the centre of Collon village is 57 kilometres / 35 miles from Dublin city centre, 50 kilometres/31 miles from Dublin Airport, 120 kilometres/74 miles from Belfast.
Just a 10 minute drive away Collon House you will find the Mellifont Abbey, why not pop along and explore these ancient ruins.