Lutyens’s other big commission in Ireland — the Irish National War Memorial Gardens, which commemorate the 49,400 Irish servicemen who died in the First World War — was much more successful. The great architect first visited this 20-hectare site in 1930. Building work was completed in 1938 and the gardens opened in 1940. But, in the decades after the Second World War, they became derelict. Ireland’s Office of Public Works later carried out extensive restoration, and the gardens reopened and were formally dedicated in 1988.
A further commission was to restore Lambay Castle on Lambay Island off the north County Dublin coast. The island was bought in 1904 by Cecil Baring, who hailed from the famous banking family and later became the 3rd Baron Revelstoke. But when he married an American divorcée, Maude Lorillard, he met with such opprobrium in banking circles that the couple retreated to Lambay.
In 1909 and 1910, Lutyens restored the 16th-century castle, converting it into one of Ireland’s few Edwardian country houses, which remains in the Baring family. Lutyens worked closely with Gertrude Jekyll to create the gardens around it, including the kitchen garden and surrounding plantation.
In 1930, Lutyens also designed the mausoleum on the island for the Revelstoke family, and, six years later, the White House on the western side of the island as a holiday home for Lord Revelstoke’s two daughters, Daphne and Calypso.
Soon after completing his initial work at Lambay, Lutyens was commissioned by the Gaisford-St Lawrence family to renovate Howth Castle on the northeastern side of Dublin. The 13th-century castle had been renovated in 1738. His work on it, carried out in 1911, included a new library and chapel and these complemented the early Georgian restoration, which he much admired. Lutyens and Jekyll also worked together on the gardens around the castle.
Not far from the town of Abbeyleix in County Laois, in Ireland’s southern Midlands Region, was the 18th-century Heywood House. It was destroyed in a fire in 1950 and a school was built nearby. But its amazing garden, co-created by Lutyens and Jekyll, which the Office of Public Works has extensively restored, still exists.