Emo Court is a country villa designed, but not built by the famous architect James Gandon. Gandon designed Emo Court in 1790 for John Dawson, the First Earl of Portarlington however Dawson died in 1798 and it took another 200 years and many different architects before Emo Court became the grand house that it is today. Gandon is best known for his great public buildings in Dublin which include the Custom House and the Four Courts. After the last of the Portarlington Earls died in 1930 the house was purchased by the Jesuits who used it as a seminary. In 1969, the order sold Emo Court to a Mr. Cholmeley-Harrison who began the laborious process of realizing Gandon’s grand vision for the building and its grounds. Today, this incredible house and gardens are owned and managed by the Office of Public Works.