Cloonee House, which was finally completed in 1757, was built as a hunting lodge on the shores of Lough Carra for the Browne family of Westport House (Lord Altamont). The Browne family was an old Irish Jacobite family which lost much of its lands elsewhere in Ireland after the Williamite Conquest.

The house, originally called 'Lakeview House', and attendant grounds were designed, in classic country-house style, by Richard Cassells architect of Westport House, Powerscourt and Leinster House (among others), Cassells who was one of the leading architects of the Georgian period, was a keen fisherman and was captivated by Lough Carra and Lough Measc, two of the finest fishing lakes in Ireland.

The Cloonee House demesne consisted of about 500 acres and was fully walled with a gate-lodge, boat house, walled garden and orchard etc. Along with the fishing, deer, pheasant and duck would have been hunted on the grounds in those days.

The symmetry of the landscaping with its fine balance of undulating and mature beech woodland was also designed to be appreciated from the perspective of the lake itself, ‘the lake fisherman’s point of view’.