The Present Day
Today (2006) the house, grounds and demesne of cloonee House are intact after 250 years. Moorehall, unfortunately, has not survived, having been burned down by the anti-treaty forces in 1923 during the civil war, and efforts to find funding to restore it to its former glory have so far come to nothing.
Most of the old Cloonee House Demesne is now in the hands of Coillte and is utilized for forestry. Sheep and cattle farming continues on the remaining lands just as in 1757, and the pastoral simplicity and character of the Georgian designed landscape has been preserved. Coming through the long driveway through the woods on the approach to Cloonee House is like returning to a bye-gone era.
There is an immediate feeling of being in two centuries at once. The modern world does not intrude in any way. From the current gateway of the house the driveway sweeps around dramatically with unimpeded views of the lake directly ahead and to the right, all framed by magnificent beech trees which stretch from the gardens of the house to the lake as Cassells designed it. Walkers and sight-seers are frequently to be found rambling in the old Demesne and enjoying the wonderful shoreline vistas of Lough Carra.
About Lough Carra
Lough Carra, which extends for over 9km along its long axis, lies to the north-east of Lough Measc, in the Corrib catchment. It is one of the best examples in Ireland of a hard water marl lake. It is a shallow (mean depth 1.5m, max depth 18m), predominantly spring-fed lake with only a few streams flowing into it. It is connected to Lough Measc via the Keel River. Lough Carra is classified as a mesotrophic system.
Its well-known pellucid green colour is due to calcareous encrustations. The lake has a high indented shoreline (over 69km in length) and is fringed by a diverse complex of limestone and wetland habitats. There are extensive areas of limestone paving near the shoreline comparable only the Burren.
The wetland habitats include both Great Fen-sedge (Cladium mariscus) fen and alkaline fen. A rich diversity of flowering plant occurs in the fen communities. In addition to the fen habitats, there are widespread reed swamps, wet grassland and some freshwater march communities around the lakeshores. There is a good scattering of small islands within the lake.
The lake and shoreline is a highly significant ornithological site, both in winter and summer. It supports nationally important wintering populations of Shoveler and Gadwall, along with a range of other species including Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Pochard, Lapwing, Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebe. Lough Carra supports a population of Mallard of national importance.
The lake provides excellent habitat for Otter, a species that is listed on Annex II of the E.U. Habitats Directive. White-clawed Crayfish (Austropotamobius pallipes), a species that is also listed on Annex II of this directive, has been recorded from Lough Carra.
The lake and lakeshore area has been designated a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitat Directive.