Reputedly built by John Black, merchant, shipowner and alleged smuggler, Elsinore house was advertised to let for the summer season in 1831 as a “beautiful marine villa with a veranda and an entrance lodge”. Some 36 years later William Middleton, also a Sligo merchant and shipowner, acquired Elsinore along with extensive acres of local land. No doubt enjoying the view of the trading fleet that had generated his wealth, as they passed by en route to far flung destinations. William’s sister was grandmother to W B and Jack B Yeats and so Elsinore became the summer gateway that opened up the inspirational landscape to them during their often lengthy stays with grandparents.
In one of his poems WB harks back to old Ireland via his earlier playmate Henry now living in Elsinore and walking on the Green Lands. In the space of 4 years Henry mourned the death of one brother, bid farewell to one emigrating, celebrated his 30th birthday and mourned the death of another brother. Perhaps that is why he withdrew into the walled grounds of Elsinore.
Early and middle parts of the 20th century saw Elsinore in use as a home. The latter part brought neglect, the division of the demesne as the promenade road was turned up and demolition of dairy buildings and gate lodge. The house is now in a ruinous state having lost most of it’s roof. It is enveloped in ivy and separated from the shore by the lifeboat station. In 2016 as the property returned to the undisputed ownership of the descendants of William Middleton, a Conservation Report was commissioned with the help of An Taisce NW and aid from the Heritage Council. Plans are now being developed with a view to eventually returning Elsinore into a home once again. Given that it is a protected structure progress can only be made at a steady careful pace. The bid for a grant from the historic structures fund this year (2019) was not successful.