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Ballynestragh House, Gorey, County Wexford
The Irish Times, 12th March 1923, reported: “Ballynastragh, the beautiful residence of Senator Sir Thomas Henry Grattan Esmonde, Bart., about three miles from Gorey, County Wexford, was set on fire on Friday night, and burned to the ground… The only occupants of the house at the time of the outrage were Colonel Laurence Esmonde, his brother, together with five servants. The raiders, of whom there were about 50 in all, forced an entrance through one of the lower windows at about 9.30 pm, and gave the occupants ten minutes to get ready. They were kept under armed guard in an out-building till the house was well alight, the rooms and furniture having been sprayed with petrol. With the permission of the man in charge, Colonel Esmonde removed the golden chalice and sets of vestments from the beautiful little chapel in the upper portion of the building before the raiders had commenced their work of destruction. These articles are all that was saved. With the aid of a fairly strong wind, gas bombs being also used, the flames made great headway, huge tongues of fire rising towards the sky. They were seen at least ten miles away. The garrison of National troops at Gorey, attracted by the fire, arrived shortly after 11 o’clock, about half an hour after the raiders had left, but they were too late to save the building. Only the bare walls of it remain”.