The entrance gate forms the boundary between the public and the private space or property. Landlords used the language of architecture to convey their notion of power and prestige. There are some elaborate examples of this practice to be found in County Carlow.
The Triumphal Arch was a monumental structure with one or more arched passageways. It was frequently built to honour a king or general or to commemorate a military triumph. The Romans constructed many of them.
Source: Ask about Ireland – Gates and Gate Lodges
The Oak Park Arch (built c. 1830–1840) is a fine example of this type of structure.
The Arch, Oak Park, designed by William Vitruvius Morrison which is at the entrance to Oak Park House and demesne. It remains to this day a magnificent example of a Triumphal Arch. The arch is flanked by paired Ionic columns on the front elevation with Doric columns on the back flank of the Arch. The columns are raised on pedestals. Both sides of the Arch carry a full entablature. On the approach from the Carlow side, is a carriage turn surrounded by a high granite wall.
Source: Carlow County – Ireland Genealogical Projects
Oak Park estate is located 3 kilometres north of the town of Carlow.
Oak Park estate includes several structures listed on the Irish National Inventory of Architectural Heritage:
- The Oak Park Arch – a classical triumphal arch (built c. 1830–1840), designed by the Morrisons
- The Oakpark Graveyard (c. 1700–1750), with remains of a church built c. 1725
- The Oak Park House (built c. 1740–1780), a five-bay, two-storey Classical-style country house, designed by Richard Morrison and his son William Vitruvius Morrison. The house was renovated in 1832 and again in 1876, and is now used as a school.
- A two-storey stable complex (built c. 1750–1780)
- A single-arch cast-iron bridge (built c. 1830–1840), designed by George Papworth
- A mausoleum (built c. 1840–1845; now ruined), designed by John B. Keane in the Greek Revival temple style
- A dairy house (built c. 1840–1860)
Location of Oak Park Triumphal Arch: