Headfort House is one of the most significant historic properties in Ireland principally due to a magnificent suite of rooms on the ground floor created in the 1770s to the designs of the internationally renowned Scottish architect Robert Adam. They are the only remaining examples of his work in Ireland.
In 2004, Headfort, Co. Meath was selected by the World Monuments Fund (WMF) for inclusion in its List of 100 Most Endangered Sites due to the significant interest of its Robert Adam interiors and for the threat posed to these by water ingress and the need to rewire. Since that time, the Headfort Trust, through funding from the WMF, the Heritage Council and the Department of the Environment, Heritage & Local Government, Meath County Council, Irish Georgian Society and many other donors has spearheaded a conservation and research programme that has revealed an extraordinary decorative scheme that had remained hidden for over 200 years. This funding helped with refurbishment of the roofing and electrical works and, in particular, the fabulous restoration of the principal Robert Adam Ballroom – ‘The Eating Parlor’. It took almost 8,000 individual hours of specialist work to complete this stage of the restoration.
Shortly after the end of World War II, the fifth Marquess and Marchioness of Headfort gave thought to the future use of Headfort House. Family and economic changes made it impracticable to run the Georgian Mansion as a private home. Headfort School was established in 1949. Headfort School, located on the Headfort Estate, 2 km from Kells, is a co-ed, non-denominational independent day and boarding school for children from age three up to the age of thirteen. It is surrounded by acres of garden, woodland and playing fields and is housed in beautiful 18th century buildings.
Headfort was renowned for its designed parkland that was laid out in the style of Capability Brown with plantations of mature woodland and a serpentine lake with manmade islands that are home to a collection of Asiatic trees. A great parterre lawn with topiary hedges is overlooked by the rear of the house. The Headfort Arboretum is of great importance and contains many specimen trees of great horticultural significance. One of the rarest trees on the Headfort Estate is the Tetracentron sinense which is possibly the best specimen in the British Isles.