On a Sunday drive my other half and I came across a derelict house in the Moville/Greencastle area, called New Park House.
It transpires that the old house was the family home of the Montgomery family, and historians and lovers of architecture will be sad to learn that the house is in a poor state.
According to locals Bernard Law ‘Monty’ Montgomery, the war hero, used to live here with his mother, and was a familiar figure about the area.
The predecessors of Field Marshal Bernard Law “Monty” Montgomery (1887-1976) were the de Montgomeri family of France, who came to England during the reign of William 1 of England, around the time of the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Further branches of the family settled in Scotland and subsequently, during the Plantation of Ulster many Montgomery families settled here, including the branch in Co Donegal.
According to the local history they first settled in southwest Donegal, in the area of Killaghtee, 30 from Donegal Town. In 1750, Samuel Montgomery came from there to Londonderry, where he was a wholesale wine merchant. He married Ann Porter, from Greencastle, and some years after this, he bought an estate at Moville for the family home - New Park. This was later to become the place where Bishop and Lady Montgomery, Bernard’s parents lived until her death in 1949.
Samuel Law Montgomery, Monty’s great-grandfather, made many improvements at New Park, and in his time also Moville began to develop and grow. It was here that the future WW2 hero came during the Great War of 1914 to spend his periodical leave from the battlefront in France.
The property passed to Samuel Law’s eldest son, also Samuel, who, although landlord of Moville from 1832 to 1874, spent very little time there. He spent thousands of pounds developing the town, which he hoped one day would emerge as a flourishing seaside town or spa. He built houses, roads, a school, the family church in the grounds of New Park, and a wharf for a steamer service on Lough Foyle.
New Park was eventually turned into an hotel before being abandoned and a new development proposal currently with the Co Donegal authorities proposes to knowck part of the building down to make way for new development.