History of Villerstown

During the famine (1845-49) the linen industry in Villierstown died out. Some local people turned to fishing on the Blackwater as a source of employment. The majority of villagers were given work by the Villiers-Stuarts on the estate at Dromana which itself encompassed Villierstown and beyond. The Villiers-Stuart family were known to be one of the most civically minded estate holders in Ireland, earlier Lord Stuart de Decies, himself a Protestant, spent much of his political life furthering the cause of Catholic Emancipation.

During the 1820s the Dromana estate was in ownership of 40,000 acres (160 km2). Part of this land today makes up Dromana Wood which is currently being managed by Coillte on a long term lease. In 1965 much of Dromana House was demolished thus signaling the end of an era, with the estate itself having been liquidated and seized by the Land Commission.

Much of the estate was divided up, while the architecturally significant stables block, just south of the main avenue, were also demolished by the Commission. The avenue, which stretches up to 4 kilometres, is now publicly owned while the well known Hindu Gothic styled gate lodge over the River Finisk is under the responsibility of the local County Council. All that remains today of the house is the smaller 17th century wing, but not without its historical significance. The family had to sell Dromana House in the 1960’s but they were able to buy it back in the early 1990’s. The Villiers-Stuarts still reside in Dromana House today. In August 2004 James Villiers-Stuart died and was buried at Villierstown Church.

Today Villierstown (Irish: An Baile Nua, meaning “the new town”) remains the same picturesque village that it has ever been. Villierstown has a growing population. Existing services comprise of a pub, a shop, a primary school and a Montessori school. In all a beautiful place to live. The latest census of 2006 recorded the population of the village at 260