George Coppinger Ashlin of Rossmore - Architect
This previously unpublished article, originally drafted 6th February 2011, bears a striking resemblance
in both content, and style, to a similar piece published by Ireland’s Own, dated 23rd September 2011.
It must be stressed that there is no connection or relationship between these two documents.
When the celebrated architect, Agustus Welby Northmore Pugin (b 1812) died September 1852, his Irish practice was
continued by his son, Edward Welby, and his apprentice, George Coppinger Ashlin. The elder Pugin had designed buildings
as diverse as the English Houses of Parliament and the Midleton Arms Hotel.
George Coppinger Ashlin received his early education at the Collège de St Servais, Liège. While at St Mary’s College,
Oscott (1851–55), with which Pugin senior was strongly associated, he studied drawing and perspective.
It was then, that he developed his interest for architecture. Between 1856 and 1860 he was allied to E.W.Pugin. By
1858, George entered the Royal Academy Schools, London.
He was born; the third son of an English Corn Agent, John Musson Ashlin, and Dorinda Coppinger of Rossmore, whose
family home was “Carrigrenane House”, Little Island. Dorinda was the sister of William Coppinger who died 1885
unmarried, and was the last of the Coppinger clan to occupy Barryscourt, Carrigtwohill. For a time Barryscourt
became the property of John O’Connell and his wife Marie Anne Bianconi in accordance with the will of …... This
relationship shall be discussed elsewhere. There after it subsequently became the property of the Barry Family.
Nothing thus far has been found relating to the birth of the eldest son John Coppinger Ashlin, or indeed the marriage
of John Musson Ashlin to Dorinda Coppinger. John died a year latter after the birth of his eldestson, 25th
August 1838. However, within the Baptismal Registers of Glounthaune may be found the following entries;
|Coppinger Ashlin Children baptised Glounthaune by Rev Stephen Coppinger
||6 Jan 1836
||Rev Stephen Coppinger & Margaret Coppinger
||2 April 1837
||William Coppinger & Penelope Power
John Coppinger Ashlin, was years later to reside at Castleredmond House, and followed in his father’s profession. Amongst
others; many of his activities are reported within the “Midleton Chronicles”. Ashlin Street, Midleton may well be named in
his honour, or at least his family.
Reverend Stephen Coppinger above, and brother of Dorinda, brought the Presentation Sisters to Midleton after he
had built their convent and school. Bishop William, their uncle, died, 11th August 1830. Another brother
of Dorinda and Rev Stephen, Thomas Stephen Coppinger (Midleton Clan) married, 1840, Annette Power. Stephen Coppinger
Ashlin above became a priest, and is known to have served as Curate, Queenstown, now Cobh, 1861. He would later serve
as administrator for Bishop Keane at the Cathedral.
When Pugin received the commission for SS Peter and Paul, Cork City, in 1859, he made Ashlin a partner with responsibility
for their Irish work until late 1868. In 1861 they opened their office’s of Pugin & Ashlin, 90 St. Stephen’s Green,
Dublin. Their practice was primarily ecclesiastical; designing some 25 religious buildings; including the Augustinian
church of SS Augustine and John, Thomas Street, Dublin; commissioned in 1860 and opened in 1874. Their churches and
Cathedrals were mainly in counties; Wexford, Cork and Kerry, and are all of similar design. By far the most important
commission undertaken by this partnership was the building of Cobh’s, St Coleman’s Cathedral (1869-1919) for Bishop
William Keane. Others include churches of; Listowel (1865), Brosna (1866), Tralee (1866), Tralee Cathedral (1868), Ardfert
(1868), Clonakilty (1866), Fermoy (1867), Monkstown (1867), Ballyhooley (1867), Skibbereen (1867), Crosshaven (1868),
Ballynoe (1869). Additionally,the Cathedrals of Skibbereen and Killarney which were began in 1867 during their partnership
and completed 1883.
By 1872, George Coppinger Ashlin designed his own Parish Church at Carrigtwohill, which was consecrated 1875 by, Bishop
The partnership was dissolved in 1870. Thereafter George Coppinger Ashlin practised in his own right, which became
nationwide. Amongst his latter works were; Ballycotten (1901), Ballybunion (1892), Holy Rosary Church (1893) and the
Munster & Leinster Bank, both of Midleton, and finally Kildare (1898).
George, married Pugin’s sister, Mary in 1867. Their only daughter, Miriam was born ten years later. She married Stephen
Musson Ashlin, who joined the family Architect’s business until his death 1942. George Coppinger Ashlin died 10th
December 1921, and laid to rest, Glasnavin, Dublin