Killarney (Stollmeyer's Castle) | Photograph: Courtesy MacLean Publishing Limited/Noel Norton © 1999
Written by Geoffrey MacLean
Built by Charles Fourier Stollmeyer, Killarney was the first house to be constructed in the St. Clair sub-division established on lands which had previously been used as the Government Stock Farm located on the western side of the Queen’s Park Savannah. Construction started in 1902 and was completed in 1904. The Architect of this elaborate structure was a Scotsman, Robert Gillies. Described to be Scottish Baronial in architectural style, it is said that the structure of the house was patterned after a wing of Balmoral Castle in Scotland. Killarney is included as one of the Magnificent Seven buildings on Queen’s Park West.
When construction was completed, Mrs. Stollmeyer found it too ostentatious for her simple tastes and her husband gave it to their son, Conrad, who was about to marry. The new Mrs. Stollmeyer gave the structure the name Killarney, after the place in Ireland she had hoped to spend her honeymoon.
During the Second World War, Killarney, like it’s neighbour, White Hall, was occupied by US Forces and was popularly referred to as The Castle. It is from this period that Killarney became better known as Stollmeyer’s Castle. It was subsequently occupied by members of the Stollmeyer family until 1972 when it was purchased by Jessy Henry A Mahabir, an insurance executive. The intention was that the building be used for residential purposes only.
Killarney was acquired in 1979 by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago. It is at present unoccupied. Although still owned by Government, Killarney had been placed under the care of Citizens for Conservation which undertook restoration work. Now officially part of the Prime Minister’s Office, Killarney is suffering from structural problems. Its robust stone and brick facade make the building appear to be invincible, but the timber floor and roof structure are in need of immediate rehabilitation.