The ruins of Lisheen House stand on the outskirts of Strandhill, overlooking the splendid Ballysadare Bay.
William Phibbs, who had inherited estates totalling a few thousand acres in Coolera and throughout the county, was a man of considerable wealth. Not long after acquiring his inheritance, he decided to build a residence which would reflect the family’s opulence and rival, if not surpass, other manor houses of the county.
The site chosen was the rising ground approximately two hundred yards south of the old house, in the townland of Lisheen. In gaelic, Lisheen means “the little fort.” The full place name Lisheenacooravan means “the little fort on the white level plain.”
The contract price for the 23-roomed mansion was £4,200 and did not include plumbing, decoration or the erection of a windmill, all of which cost an additional £1,400. The house was of classical design, a square of two stories with a roof carried on a cornice. The front entrance had seven bays and the door was recessed behind a tomb doorway with two iconic columns. The long gallery on the first floor, lit by a sky-light, was subsequently converted into a museum filled with objects from Egyptian mummies to Syrian swords and daggers which were collected by Owen Phibbs.
The house belonged to the Phibbs family until 1938 when the family’s association with Lisheen came to an end. Shortly afterwards, the house was sold and stripped of its roof and furnishings. It is said that the house was haunted by a coach and four horses which thundered up the avenue at midnight and halted at the main door, but this was strongly denied by surviving family members.