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  Built in 1799, Townley Hall is regarded as a masterpiece in the classical style of Francis Johnston, the foremost Irish architect of his day. It sits in quiet seclusion of private grounds, approached by a long wooded avenue. Commissioned as a private home for the Townley Balfour family, it was designed to impress on the visitor not only the wealth and sophistication of a substantial landlord, but the craftsmanship available in the local area. Having undergone only minor alterations in over two centuries, this house is one of Ireland’s hidden architectural gems. The poet laureate Sir John Betjeman, in a survey of the work of Francis Johnson wrote: