Hot House: 120 Woodbrook Lane, Baltimore County, MD 21212


Grand English-style Georgian country house, in stone with slate roof and copper trim. Original structure, 1826, rebuilt in 1924. Ten bedrooms, 9 full bathrooms, 11 fireplaces, with extraordinary millwork, 13’ ceilings, Lake Roland views, wine cellar, state-of-the art systems. Architect-designed formal gardens, manicured lawns, plantings, tenant house, barn, extensive bluestone hardscaping, emergency whole-house generator, sophisticated security systems, elevator, central air. 22.5 acre property, with private frontage on Lake Roland, stream, pond: $4,950,000


What: Tyrconnell means Land of Connal, the last kingdom of Ireland, ruled for over a thousand years by the O’Donnell family, and now referred to as County Donegal. (Tyrconnell was also an Irish horse that won a famous race at 100-1 odds.) It is a once-in-a-lifetime house, an iconic East Coast estate property that ranks with great American houses from Newport to Palm Beach. Owned and loved by generations of Baltimore’s most prominent and civic minded families, the original Georgian stone house was built in 1826 by John O’Donnell, captain in the East India Company and Baltimore merchant, whose statue stands in Canton. That house was incorporated into the new house that Baltimore businessman John Sears Gibbs (Gibbs Canning Company) built in 1924 with Baltimore architect Walter White. The magnificent gardens, designed by noted landscape architect Arthur Folson Paul, were installed in the late 1920’s, inspired by the gardens at Villa d’Este on Lake Como. They have been beautifully maintained, and virtually every window in the house overlooks tall specimen trees, wide lawns,  stone walls and terraces with mature plantings. Ground floor rooms are largely designed for entertaining,  richly appointed with 13’ ceilings, moldings, carvings, parquet floors and crystal chandeliers. The kitchen has Sub-Zero fridge and Thermador ovens. A library and sitting room offer smaller, more intimate spaces on the ground floor. Upstairs, the master suite is as luxurious as expected – walk in closets, fireplace, dressing rooms, large bathrooms with separate shower and tub. There are several big sunny bedrooms on the second floor, all with views, and a laundry room with  fireplace.(!) A cozy sitting room offers a place to go and pat yourself on the back in private…

 Where: Set high above Lake Roland, with access onto Brightside Road as well as Woodbrook Lane, Tyrconnell is just north of the Baltimore city line –close to city conveniences but with an exceptionally private setting. Woodbrook Lane is a left off of Charles Street as you drive north past Eddie’s of Charles Street. A number of schools are within a mile or two of here. You can walk to Eddie’s and Charles Street shops, yet back at the house, all is quiet –eagles soar over the lake, wind rustles through centuries-old trees.


Would Suit: History-loving connoisseur, preferably with Irish blood…

Why: Because you love the house. There’s  no real practical reason. Houses like this rarely come on the market, and it’s a chance to make it yours.

Why Not: Garden maintenance here will take more than your spade and rose clippers.

NB: The gardens, perhaps even more than the house, are truly remarkable. A steep, 200 foot stone staircase at the end of a long allee will elicit gasps.


3 replies on “On The Market: Tyrconnell, Iconic Baltimore Estate With Magnificent Vistas and Formal Gardens”

  1. The exterior of Tyrconnell served as “Rawley Academy for Boys,” in the teen drama, “Young Americans,” air on The WB nextwork in the summer of 2000. It was the main filming location for that drama, in which the narrating character called it “the perfect building [with] the perfect lawns,” home to “the perfect people, the perfect life … a place where dreams really do come true.” — Best wishes to its next owner!

  2. The information as to the original builder of this real estate is incorrect. John O’Donnell, the merchant who’s statue can be found in Baltimore on O’Donnell square, could not have built the original house in 1826, because he died in 1805. There seems to have been another John O’Donnell in the same time period, also a merchant. Maybe he was the original builder, but definitely NOT the John O’Donnell who is referred to in this article.

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