The Coollattin Shoot is situated in one of the most scenic areas of rural Wicklow, the County known as the ‘Garden of Ireland’.
With a tradition of game shooting dating back hundreds of years and documented to the 1800’s, discerning sportsmen consider Coollattin to be one of the foremost Shooting Estates in Ireland. We shoot over 3,000 acres that includes 35 acres of crops and in excess of 1,600 acres of mature woodland, containing some of Ireland’s oldest oak and beech trees. The terrain allows us to have a wide range of drives from which to chose, depending on species, weather and client requirements. Driven game includes duck, pheasant and partridge, and is not unusual to see a woodcock or two in the bag after a spell of cold weather. The topography of the Estate enables us to show challenging birds and our strategically placed pegs provide exceptional shooting. That, along with the traditional Irish welcoming hospitality guarantees a most enjoyable day.
Coollattin Shoot with its resident gamekeeper is highly maintained all year round. We are fully insured and guarantee a professional, high quality service.
The Anglo-Norman knights and their retainers arrived in Ireland at the end of the 12th Century. During the 13th Century they began to assimilate with the ruling Gaelic Irish families but the 14th Century relations between them began to change. The Earls of Kildare, descended from one of the original Norman settlers, with their superior military strength began to expand their landholdings and in doing so pushed the Irish O’Byrne clan into the Wicklow Hills & Glens from their lands on the plains of Kildare. The O’Byrne’s were largely left alone to rule the lands around Coollattin (Cúl Aiteann – the Corner of Gorse) until they attacked an English force that had camped near Avondale, forcing them to flee back to Wicklow Castle. As a result, the O’Byrnes were targeted, vanquished and their stronghold town of Rathdrum confiscated. Several rebellions during the late 1500’s led to the confiscations of land held by those considered disloyal to Queen Elizabeth I. In 1578 the lands of Coollattin were confiscated from the O’Byrnes and given to Henry Harrington, a royal favourite.
In 1632 Thomas Wentworth, the 1st Earl of Stratford, became Lord Deputy of Ireland and within a period of 7 years acquired 60,000 acres in Co. Wicklow, including Coollattin. Wentworth was a complex individual and his autocratic rule created many enemies both in Ireland and England, as a result of which he was executed in 1641, King Charles I signing the death warrant with considerable reluctance. Although Wentworth’s property passed on to his son, in 1643 the family’s estates were confiscated by the Cromwellian Parliament. At the Restoration, Charles II decreed that the lands be restored to the Wentworth’s.
The Fitzwilliams were an English family that claims descent from William the Conqueror. In 1410, Sir John Fitzwilliam acquired substantial landholdings in South Yorkshire when he married Margaret Clarell, a member of a major landed family of Norman descent. Later, William Fitzwilliam (c.1460-1534), a merchant, alderman and onetime Sheriff of London grew the family’s landholding interests. The Fitzwilliams continued to acquire extensive holdings in South Yorkshire, largely through strategic marriage alliances. Sir William Fitzwilliam, grandson of the alderman, began to acquire land in Ireland (he was Lord Lieutenant on two occasions in the late 1500’s). His grandson, also William was raised to the Peerage of Ireland as Lord Fitzwilliam in 1620. In April 1742 the then Lord Fitzwilliam (third Earl) entered Peerage of Great Britain with the same title, later (1746) being elevated to Earl Fitzwilliam of Norborough.
The third Earl Fitzwilliam married Lady Anne Watson-Wentworth (d.1769), daughter of Thomas Watson-Wentworth, 1st Marquess of Rockingham, whose family’s principal seat was Wentworth Woodhouse. Through marriage and sucession laws the Fitzwilliams inherited various properties including Wentworth Woodhouse (by the fourth Earl in 1782). In 1856 Lord Fitzwilliam (fifth Earl) assumed by Royal license the additional surname of Wentworth. The Irish home remained at Coollattin. The present house, Coollattin Place, was built to the design of John Carr (1723-1807) a prolific English architect who was considered to be the leading architect in the north of England in his time. In it’s heyday the Coollattin Estate extended over 88,000 acres, occupied almost a quarter of County Wicklow, had its own railway line and was tenanted by 20,000 farmers until the Great Famine in the 1840’s prompted their emigration.
Development of Coollattin’s Shoot
The passion of the 19th Century Fitzwilliams for sports ensured that the farming practices at Coollattin were directed by the requirements of hunting and shooting rather than the revenue. A private pack of hounds was kept, kennelled at Carnew, Co. Wicklow. Normally unthinkable on a shoot, foxes were encouraged, some even being reared and released into prepared dens in specially landscaped areas. To reduce predation on the released pheasant one part (‘Brow Wood’, containing about 150 acres) of the demesne was enclosed with suitable wire fencing and used as a ‘pen’ from which pheasant were pushed on shoot days and to which they returned for feeding. When the family’s driven shooting commenced at Coollattin in the latter half of the 1800’s the main quarry was pheasant, with snipe and grouse being shot everywhere on the estate. The shoot had it’s heyday in the early 1900’s and game books which survive from that time show annual bags of about 2,000, with woodcock numbers averaging about 10% of the bag. Only a couple of days were shot each year, the Guns usually being invited from the extended Fitzwilliam family and neighbouring estates. That was the era of the 7th Earl, who visited Ireland only to hunt and shoot at Coollattin. He was one of the richest men in Britain; on his death in 1943 he held land, industrial and mineral-right holdings worth more than £3 billion in today’s values. The marriage of his son, the eight Earl was not very successful and he was romantically linked with the widowed Marchioness of Hartington, Kathleen Cavendish, nee Kennedy, the younger sister of the man who went on to become the 35th President of the USA. She died with the eight Earl in 1948 when their plane crashed during a severe storm over France. Their pilot cautioned against the flight as there were warnings of severe weather on the flightpath and others had chosen not to fly that night. However, it is said she told him not to be a ‘wimp’ and insisted on departing. The Fitzwilliam titles passed to the late Earl’s first cousin once removed, who became the ninth Earl and on his death in 1952 this line died out and the titles passed to a second cousin, the tenth Earl, William Thomas George Wentworth-Fitzwilliam. On his death in 1979 all male lines died out and the titles became extinct. Much of the Fitzwilliam Estates property was disposed about this time, including property in Coollattin.