Lost Buildings: Boom Hall, Co. Derry

Boom Hall, Co. Derry - Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland
Boom Hall, Co. Derry – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

This large house, now a ruined state located on the Culmore Road overlooking the River Foyle, built Robert Alexander and designed by Michael Priestly in 1779. This is a cut stone house, two storeys over a basement. The porch was added later. The garden front has a three-sided bow and side elevation of five bays. The window surrounds have blocking and blocked quoins.

Boom Hall, Co. Derry - Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland
Boom Hall, Co. Derry – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

Robert Alexander lived at Boom Hall, County Derry (so named because of its proximity to where the boom of Londonderry was placed during the siege). The house then passed to Robert’s second son, Henry, in 1807 and eventually passed to James, 3rd Earl of Caledon.

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Boom Hall, Co. Derry – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

The hall was home to the Rev Thomas Bunbury during the early 1830’s. Daniel Baird lived there from 1849 until his death in 1862; and his widow Barbara continued to live there until her death in 1879. When barbara died Boom Hall passed into Daniel Maturin-Baird’s full control. He was aged 30 by this time and had established a life for himself in London and chose not to live at Boom Hall, instead leased the house, grounds and contents to the Cooke family who lived there until 1920. Meanwhile Mr Maturin-Baird built himself a new house on the Newtownstewart estate.

Boom Hall, Co. Derry - Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland
Boom Hall, Co. Derry – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

Charles Edgar Maturin-Baird inherited the estate in 1924. It was then leased to Michael Henry McDevitt, whose family ran a hosiery business, until the war when it was requisitioned by the Royal Navy. The WRNS left the house in a deplorable state and Mr Maturin-Baird received compensation for damages.

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Boom Hall, Co. Derry – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

Prior to the war, Michael Henry McDevitt had expressed an interest in buying the house, and after repairs had been carried out in 1946-47, the estate was sold. Mr Maturin-Baird had, by this time, acquired an estate in East Anglia.

Interestingly, McDevitt chose only to buy the house, contents and immediate surroundings of around 26 acres along with the stable block, but not the stack yard or majority of parkland, which originally totalled 135 acres.

Boom Hall, Co. Derry - Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland
Boom Hall, Co. Derry – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

The remaining land was sold to various purchasers in the 1950s ~ although it is believed that the Maturin-Bairds still own the foreshore, as it would appear that this was never sold.

Boom Hall, Co. Derry - Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland
Boom Hall, Co. Derry – Photo: Colin Colleran, Lost Buildings Of Ireland

Under McDevitt’s daughter the house fell into a state of serious dilapidation and the contents were routinely and systematically ransacked. A fire in the early 1970s destroyed the roof, since when Boom Hall has gradually decayed.