Abstract Recent debate on the construction and negotiation of social and cultural identities in Ireland has recognized the importance of their defining spatiality. Socially imagined place has been argued to be implicit within the construction of cultural landscapes, which themselves both signify but are also implicated within the reproduction of—frequently externally negotiated—axes of social authority. This paper discusses these ideas in relation to the sites of identity created by the eighteenth and nineteenth century's landowning élite in Ireland. It uses the unusually explicit archives relating to one Ulster estate, Parkanaur, Co. Tyrone, to exemplify the ways in which élite identities in Ireland might be negotiated through place. It explores the landlord's own private narrative of place, and the ways in which this was negotiated with his tenantry during the nineteenth century. The paper concludes that these negotiations created hybrid space which did not conform to conventional colonial readings of this type of élite landscape. Rather, the imagined landscape at Parkanaur supported complex anti-thetical meanings of antiquity and modernity on the one hand, and ethnic inferiority but shared economic class interest on the other.