Follies – The Fox’s Earth

Situated in parkland to the front of Larchill house, this is one of the most famous follies at Larchill.

Externally it is reminiscent of an ice house. The structure comprises an artificial grassed mound within which is a vaulted inner chamber with gothic windows and entrance.  A circular rustic temple surmounts the mound.

Leading away, on either side from the vaulted interior, are tunnels disappearing  into the mound.  These ‘escape’ tunnels seem to corroborate the story of this being a Fox’s Earth, a refuge and escape route for a fox pursued by the hunt.

According to folklore the Fox’s Earth was created by Mr Robert Watson, a famous Master of Hounds in the 18th Century who feared punishment through re-incarnation as a fox, having killed one too many foxes during his hunting career. Ideas of reincarnation were, indeed, being explored at this time through the Romantic movement as established Christian doctrine came into question.  It is feasible that there was every intention to create a Fox’s refuge with the design of this folly.

Irish Garden Follies : The Foxes Earth a Grassed Mound with inner chamber reminiscent of an ice house : it is reputed to have been built as a refuge for foxes being pursued by the hunt : Larchill Arcadian Gardens, Kilcock - close to Dublin