History of Silverstream House

Origins: The Prestons of Gormanston

Silverstream House, near Stamullen, in County Meath, situated on 170 acres, is a large stone structure in a beautiful setting in from the road, surrounded by trees, on a hill overlooking the Irish Sea, about three miles from Gormanston.

The name “Silverstream” comes from a little stream which runs to the southeast of the house. It rises in the townland of Mullaghteeling and passes through the townland of Balloy, before entering the river Delvin in the townland of Stamullen.

There is an area to the west of the house known as “Rasteen”, which may be a corruption of “Roseen”, meaning “small wood” and having its origins dating back to early Christian Ireland.

Since the early 15th century, the property belonged to the Prestons, a Catholic family of the Lords of Gormanston, the premier Viscounts of Ireland, who lived at Germantown Castle (this Castle is now the Franciscan College).

It was not until 1843 that Silverstream House (known as “The Dowry House”) was built by Thomas Preston (1817-1903), son of Jenico Preston, the 12th Viscount (1775-1860), and brother to Edward Anthony Preston, the 13th Viscount (1796-1876).  The last of the Prestons to inhabit Silverstream House was Francis Edmund (1861-1942).

The Hospitallers of St John of God (1942-1955)

The Silverstream property first came to the attention of the Hospitaller Brothers of St John of God in 1942. The house and land (170 acres) were purchased by the Order for £2,500, and placed under the heavenly protection of the Little Flower, St Theresa (Thérèse) of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.

Thus Silverstream House became a home for young men with learning disabilities, where they could be engaged in dignified work according to their personal skills and abilities, either in farming or in crafts.

The church, dedicated St Theresa’s (Thérèse), was built by forty local volunteers (masons, woodworkers, glaziers, and electricians) from Dublin, with the assistance of the young men of the home.

The church was opened and blessed by Dr Kyne, Lord Bishop of Meath, on 18th May 1952. In 1955, after 13 years at St Theresa’s, the Order of Hospitallers of St John of God reluctantly withdrew from Stamullen due to low water supply (an abundance of water was later found in 1968).

The Order of the Visitation (1955-2011)

In September 1955, the Silverstream property was purchased by the contemplative Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary, from Roseland, Walmer Deal, Kent, England.  This Irish foundation was an answer to the prayers of Mother Mary Teresa O’Dwyer, superior in Roseland.

Sisters were sent from England and the United States to help staff the new community, including one from St Paul, Minnesota, another from Brooklyn, New York, and another from Atlanta, Georgia. They joined five Irish sisters and one French sister in the first Stamullen Visitation community.

The Visitation Order occupied St Theresa’s from September 1955 all the way up to December 2011. The remaining Visitation nuns have taken up residence in a convent at St Mary’s in Drogheda.

The Benedictines of Our Lady of the Cenacle (2012)

In February-March 2012, Benedictine monks from Tulsa, Oklahoma came to occupy the property. Thus, this small community, dedicated to adoration, reparation and intercession for priests before the Blessed Sacrament, becomes the third religious family to fill Silverstream House with the sound of God’s praises, under the protection of the Little Flower, St Thérèse.