I have four hats: my pharmacist/vaccinator “hat,” my blogger hat, my farmer hat (see the photo of my harvest from yesterday) and my landlady hat! I am so busy at the moment, as my tenants left the apartment so I have been doing that up before renting out again (see my first ever tiling work). I only manage a terraced house and a two bedroom flat, but it keeps me so busy, I can only imagine what it is like to have to maintain a Big House! So my blogger hat has taken a back seat for awhile, despite having managed to visit a few Section 482 properties since lockdown lifted. Here is a taster of what is to come, when I finally get the time to write my blogs…the beautiful gardens of Killineer House in County Louth, and the astounding upper gallery of Stradbally Hall in County Laois.
Caitriona Mc Weeney
Open: all year 10am-6pm
Address: Ashford, Co. Wicklow, A67 VW22
Tel:+353 (0)404 49672
GPS: N53-00497 W006-06.403 el 18m
Ashford village, Exit 15/16 off main Dublin – Rosslare M11. 30km south of Dublin.
Mount Usher Gardens open daily all year: 10am – 5pm (Last admission 4pm) Please check for Winter closing time.
Adults €8, Senior Citizens €7, Students €7,
Children 4 – 16 €4, under 4yrs FREE.
Groups (15 or more): Adults €7, Senior Citizens €6, Mixed Group €6.50
Guided Tours: €60.00 (Advance booking required). A Guided Tour takes approximately 90 minutes.
Avoca Cafe, Food Hall, Shopping Courtyard, Toilets, Parking, Wheelchair access (limited). No dogs and no picnics.
€60.00 (Advance booking required).
Best time to Visit:
Before we were allowed to visit Section 482 houses, due to Covid 19 restrictions, we were allowed to visit gardens. Accompanied by our friends Owenroe, Deirdre, Dario and Niamh, Stephen and I headed to Wicklow one sunny Sunday in May. We had wonderful weather for the day, as you can see from my photographs. Before entering the gardens, there are some shops and a cafe.
Mount Usher is open all year to visitors. There is a house, but that is not part of the Section 482 listing, unfortunately! It looks idyllic, set in its lush gardens. Mark Bence-Jones calls it a “simple double bow-fronted house,”  and the National Inventory tells us it was built in 1922, and that there is a long two-storey house built in the 1990s to the rear of the house.  The gardens cover 23 acres, along the Vartry River.
One enters through the gift shop, a branch of Avoca. Inside, there is a small museum which tells the story of the gardens and its creators. Everything looked so beautiful that we could not resist picking up a hand cream for Stephen’s mother.
The area was named after the Ussher family. John Ussher (1646-1745) is mentioned in The Peerage website as living in Mount Ussher, County Wicklow. His father William Ussher is listed as living in Portrane, Dublin and “Castle of Grange, County Wicklow.” John’s son Christopher, born around 1690, was Secretary of the Linen Board – the later occupants of Mount Ussher, or Mount Usher, as it is now spelled, the Walpoles, were also in the Linen trade. Christopher Ussher inherited land in Galway which he passed to his heirs, and in Ussher Memoirs, compiled by Reverend William Ball Wright in 1889, there is no further mention of Mount Ussher. 
The museum tells us that Edward Walpole (1798-1878), a successful Dublin businessman, enjoyed walking in Wicklow, and he stayed in a hotel on weekends to indulge his passion. The Walpole family was involved in linen manufacturing. Thomas Simmons started a linen business in Bride Street in Dublin in 1766, and through mergers and a marriage it grew into Walpole Brothers Limited by 1866. Coincidentally, in 1816 the business moved to Suffolk Street in Dublin and occupied what is now Avoca Shop and Cafe on that street. Mount Usher had originally been a “tuck mill” where local people brought their home spun and woven cloth to be finished. This may be how Edward Walpole came across this location. He took over the lease of Mount Usher in 1868 and began to develop his garden, with the help of his sons. Seven years later he transferred the land to his sons: Thomas, George, William White and Edward. William White and George also continued in the Linen business, and developed their shop into a Gentlemen’s Outfitters. Their younger brother Edward joined the business and expanded to London.
The Walpoles were Quakers. They came originally from the settlement in Mountrath, County Laois – the National Library of Ireland contains documents relating to the Walpoles and their business . The Quakers in Ireland website tells us why Quakers were successful in business:
Why were Friends successful in this way? Modern business has become so competitive, and the profit motive so pervasive, that it is hard to imagine the strong influence their religious convictions exerted on them. They simply believed it was right to offer a good product for a fixed, and reasonable, price. They believed in honesty and integrity in all their dealings. A simple life-style, and not over-extending themselves financially, allowed them to build up their resources. Strict rules governing business methods for members meant that they were increasingly trusted with money, and some became bankers. Various laws, including those related to swearing oaths, prevented Friends from attending university and joining the professions for a couple of centuries, so they put their energies into business instead. Friends were good employers, and this led to a loyal workforce.
Also, and importantly, the structure of The Society of Friends from its earliest days, with a system of representatives from Meetings regularly visiting other Meetings, often in other parts of the country, created a network of relationships between like minded individuals and families. It was natural, therefore, that they would hear about, support, participate in and emulate each other’s ventures. 
The brothers acquired more land to add to their garden, adding weirs and bridges. Edward and George were influenced by William Robinson, who has been called “the father of English gardening.”
William Robinson (1838-1935) was born in Ireland. His first job was in Curraghmore, County Waterford. He progressed to become the foreman gardener in Ballykilcavan, County Laois, employed by Sir Hunt Johnson-Walsh. In 1862 Robinson found employment at the Royal Botanic Society’s garden at Regent’s Park in England. He resigned four years later in order to further his knowledge of gardening, and to write. He travelled in France and later more widely in Europe and the United States, and published books on horticulture. His most important work is The English Flower Garden (1883).  The Robinsonian style of gardening is to work with nature, as opposed to imposing order.
Walks and woods were added to the property as more land was acquired. The family also owned a house called Windsor Lodge in Monkstown in Dublin. Mount Usher passed to Edward Horace Walpole, the son of Edward Walpole (1837-1917) and Elizabeth Harvey Pim [perhaps his parents were fans of the writer, Horace, or Horatio, Walpole (1717-1797), who most famously wrote the Gothic novel The Castle of Otranto and who also embraced the Gothic style in his home, Strawberry Hill in southwest London – or perhaps they were related]. For over fifty years, Edward Horace enlarged and improved the garden, with the help of his head gardener, Charles Fox. Rare varieties of plants from China, Japan, the Himalayas, Chile, New Zealand and North America were added.
Edward Horace Walpole married Alice Dorothy Scanlan from Nottingham in 1912 in the Friends Meeting House (Quaker) in Nottingham.  His son Robert Basil Walpole sold Mount Usher.
In 1980 Madelaine Jay purchased the property, and she continued the garden following organic methods. The garden now covers twenty acres and has over 5000 plant species. It is now leased to Avoca.
What a great discovery it is to find this amazing garden! I can’t wait to return.
 Mark Bence-Jones. A Guide to Irish Country Houses (originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988, Constable and Company Ltd, London.
 Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
The list of properties for 2021 has finally been published! Here it is – not too different from last year, though there are a few new places, and a few have been removed since last year.
List of approved buildings/gardens open to the public in 2021
Section 482 Taxes Consolidation Act 1997
Due to COVID restrictions properties may not be open as advertised, please check with the property owner before arranging a visit to any of the properties listed.
Borris, Co. Carlow
Open: Feb 2-7, 9-14, 16-21, 27-28, June 1-3, 8-10, 15-16, 22-24, 29-30, July 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-21, 27-29, Aug 3-5, 10-12, 14-22, 24-26, 31, Sept 1-2, 12 noon -5pm Fee: adult €10, child €5, OAP/student €8,
Clonegal, Co. Carlow
Postal address: Huntington Castle, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford
Alexander Durdin Robertson
Open: Feb 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, Mar 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, Apr 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, May 1-31, June 1-30, July 1-31, Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, Oct 2-3, 9-10, 16- 17, 23-24, Nov 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, Dec 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 11am-5pm
Fee: house/garden, adult/student €9, garden only €6, OAP house/garden €8, garden only €5, child house /garden €6, garden only €3, group and family discounts available
The Old Rectory
Killedmond, Borris, Co. Carlow.
Open: July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 9am-1pm Fee: adult €10, OAP/student €6, child free
The Old Rectory Lorum
Kilgreaney, Bagenalstown, Co. Carlow
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: Feb 14-November 30
Cabra Castle (Hotel)
Kingscourt, Co. Cavan
Open: all year, except Dec 24, 25, 26, 11am-12 midnight Fee: Free
Corravahan House & Gardens
Corravahan, Drung, Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan Ian Elliott
Open: Jan 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, Feb 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, Mar 1-2, 8-9, May 4- 5, 9-12, 16-19, 23-26, 30-31, June 1-4, Aug 14-31, Sept 1-2, 9am-1pm, Sundays 2pm- 6pm
Fee: adult €10, OAP/student/child €5
Clarecastle Co. Clare
Open: May 1-31, Aug 1-31, 5pm-9pm
Fee: adult/student €5, child/OAP free, group discount available
Main Street, Feakle, Co. Clare
Open: June 2-July 31, Wed-Sun, Aug 1, 4-8, 11-22, 25-29, 2pm-6pm Fee: Free
Newtown, Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare Mary Hawkes- Greene
Open: Jan 4-May 31, Mon-Fri, June 1-30 Mon-Sat, July 1-Aug 31 daily, Sept 1-Dec 17 Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm
Ballingohig, Knockraha, Co. Cork
Open: Mar 1-12, May 4-31, June 1-3, 14-25, July 17-18, 31, Aug 14-22, Wednesdays 2pm-6pm, Tues, weekends & National Heritage Week, 8am-12 noon
Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €3
Bantry House & Garden
Bantry, Co. Cork
Open: Apr 1-Oct 31, 10am-5pm
Fee: adult €11, OAP/student €8.50, child €6, groups over 8-20, €8 per person, groups 21+ €7 per person
Blarney Castle & Rock Close
Blarney, Co. Cork
Tel: 021- 4385252
Open: all year except Christmas Eve & Christmas Day, Jan-Mar, Mon-Sat, 9am- sundown, Sun, 9am-6pm, Apr-May, 9am-6pm, June-Aug, Mon-Sat, 9am-7pm, Sun, 9am-6pm, Sept, Mon-Sat, 9am-6.30pm, Sun, 9am-6pm,
Oct, Nov, Dec daily 9am-6pm,
Fee: adult €18, OAP/student €15, child €10, family and season passes
Blarney House & Gardens
Blarney, Co. Cork
Tel 021- 4385252
Open: June 1- Aug 31, Mon-Sat, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 10am-3pm Fee: adult €10, OAP/student €7, concession joint with castle
Churchtown, Mallow, Co. Cork Paul Doherty
Open: May 8-July 7, Mon-Sat closed Bank Holidays, Aug 14-22, 11am-3pm Fee: adult/child/OAP/student €9
Conna, Co. Cork
Open: Jan 1-Dec 24, 11am-4pm
Fee: adult €10, child/student €5, OAP free
Main Street, Doneraile, Co. Cork Michael O’Sullivan
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Public tours of house all year
Drishane Castle & Gardens
Drishanemore, Millstreet Town, Co. Cork Thomas Duggan
Tel: 087-2464878, 029-71008
Open: June 1-Sept 30, Mon-Sat, (Jan-May, Oct-Dec Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm by appointment only) National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9am-5pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/student free, child free when accompanied by adult
Castleownshend, Co. Cork
Tel: 028-36126, 083-574589
Open: May 1-20, Aug 14-22, Sept 13-23, Oct 1-20, 11am-3pm Fee: adult €10, OAP €8, student/child €6
Dún Na Séad Castle
Baltimore, Co. Cork
Open: March 1-Oct 31, 11am-6pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student €5, child under 12 free
Garrettstown, Kinsale, Co. Cork
Open: May 15-Sept 10, 12 noon-5pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student/other concessions €5, child €3
Ballineen, Co. Cork
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 9.30am-1.30pm Fee: Free
Rathcormac, Co. Cork
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, July 1-31, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 8.30am- 2.30pm,
Fee: adult €10, child/student €8.50, group discount by arrangements
4 Mulgrave Place,
No 4 Mulgrave Road, Cork City
Open: May 1-Sept 30, closed Sundays, National Heritage Week, August 14-22, weekdays and National Heritage Week, 11am-4pm, Saturdays 11am-3pm
Fee: adult €4, OAP/student/child €2, family €7 (2+2)
Riverstown, Glanmire, Co. Cork
Tel: 021- 4821205
Open: May 5-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29, June 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26, July 1-3, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-31, Aug 5-7, 12-22, 26-28, Sept 2-4, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP/student €5
Woodford Bourne Warehouse
Sheares Street, Cork
Open: all year except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, 1pm-11pm Fee: Free
Ballindrait, Lifford, Co. Donegal Joanna O’Kane
Tel: 074-9141143, 085-8165428
Open: Feb 1-20, May 1-31, Aug 14-22, 1pm-5pm Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €6
Oakfield Demesne, Raphoe, Co. Donegal
David Fisher- Estate Manager
Open: Apr 1-4, 7-11, 14-18, 21-25, 28-30, May 1-2, 5-9, 12-16, 19-23, 26-30, 12 noon-6pm, June 1-30, July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 11am-6pm, Sept 1-5, 8-12, 15-19, 22-26, 29-30, 12 noon-6pm, Dec 1-5, 8-12, 15-23, Dec 1-17, weekdays, 4pm-10pm, weekends, 12noon-10pm, Dec 18-23, 12 noon-10pm
Fee: adult €9, child €6, family and annual passes available
Portnason, Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal
Open: Jan 18-22, 25-29, Feb 1-5, 8-12, Aug 14-30, Sept 1-17, 20-23, 27-28, Nov 15- 19, 22-26, Dec 1-3 6-10, 13-14, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €5
Salthill House, Mountcharles, Co. Donegal
Tel: 087-7088078, 074-9735014
Open: May 1, 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29, June 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26, July 1-3, 5-9, 12-24, 26-31, Aug 2-7, 9-22, 26-28, 30-31, Sept 1-3, 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-30, 2pm- 6pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student €5, child under 10 years €2, over 10 years €3
78-79 Grafton Street/234 Johnson’s Court, Dublin 2 Peter O’ Callaghan
Open: all year except Christmas Day, 11am-7pm Fee: Free
Hibernian/National Irish Bank
23-27 College Green, Dublin 2
Open: all year, except Dec 25, Wed-Fri 9.30am-8pm, Sun 11am-7pm, Sat, Mon, Tue, 9.30-7pm
11 North Great George’s Street
Open: March 8-13, May 10-15, June 7-12, July 5-10, Aug 2-7, 14-22, Sept 6-12, Oct 4-9, Nov 8-11,15-18, 1pm-5 pm
Fee: adult €7, students/OAP €3, child free under 12years
81 North King Street
Smithfield, Dublin 7
Open: Apr 1-3, 5-10, 12-17, 19-24, 26-30, May 1, June 1-5, 7-12, 14-19, 21-26, 28- 30, July 1-3, 5-10, 12-17, 19-24, 26-31, Aug 2-7, 9-28, 30-31, Mon-Fri, 9am- 4.30pm, Sat, 12.30pm-4.30pm
The Odeon (formerly the Old Harcourt Street Railway Station)
57 Harcourt Street, Dublin 2
Open: May- Dec, 12 noon to midnight, closed Sundays Fee: Free
Powerscourt Townhouse Centre
59 South William Street, Dublin 2
Open: all year except New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day, & Bank Holidays, Mon-Sat, 10am-6pm, Thurs, 10am-8pm, Sundays, 12 noon-6pm
10 South Frederick Street
Open: Jan 1-24, May 1, 3-8, 10-15, 17-22, 24-27, Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm Fee: Free
Junction of Mary’s Street/Jervis Street, Dublin 1 Ann French
Open: Feb 1- Dec 24, 27-31, 11am-11 pm Fee: Free
80 Whitebean Road, Clonskeagh, Dublin 14
Tel: 089-4091645, 086-2428540
Open: Feb 6-9, Mar 6-9, Apr 6-9, May 1-8, June 1-8, July 1-8, August 14-22, Sept 1- 8, Nov 6-9, Dec 6-9, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €6, child/OAP/student €3
Hazelhatch Road, Newcastle, Co. Dublin
Lynne Savage Jones
Open: Apr 12-18, May 6-28, June 10-12, Aug 14-27, Nov 1-13, weekdays 2pm-6pm, weekends 9am-1pm
Fee: adult/OAP €10, student/child free
2 Knocksina, Foxrock, Dublin 18
Tel: Philip, 087-2463865, Paul, 086-3694379
Open: March 15-28, Apr 5-10, May 6-14, June 14-20, July 5-10, Aug 14-22, Sept 11- 19, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €5, student €2, OAP/child free
Toberburr Road, Killeek, St Margaret’s, Co. Dublin
Open: Feb 13-22, March 20-29, May 1-3, 10-16, June 18-27, Aug 14-23, Sept 18-27, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €6, student/OAP/child €5
Sandycove Point, Sandycove, Co. Dublin
Open: Jan 28-29, Feb 1-5, 8-12, 15-22, May 4-31, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-3, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €7, OAP €4, student €2, child free
Delvin Bridge, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin Richard Berney
Open: July 1-31, Aug 1-29, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult/OAP/child/student €5
The Old Glebe
Upper Main Street, Newcastle, Co. Dublin
Hugh F. Kerins, Martin Connelly
Tel: Frank 087-2588356, Martin 087-6686996
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, Mon- Sat, Aug 14-22, 10am-2pm, 4 tours daily during National Heritage Week, 10am, 11am, 12 noon, 1pm, tour approx. 45 minutes
Fee: Free, voluntary contributions only in 2021 due to Covid-19. Proceeds to charity
Portrane, Co. Dublin
Open: March 6-Sept 26, Sat & Sun, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €5, student €4, OAP €1
Westminister Road, Foxrock, Dublin 18,
Open: Jan 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, May 1, 4-8, 10-11, 17-22, June 8-12, 14-19, 21- 26, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/child/student €2
Very Top of Primrose Lane, Lucan, Co. Dublin
Open: Feb 1-28, June 1-30, July 1-23, Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult/OAP €6, child free
St. George’s Avenue, Killiney, Co. Dublin
Open: July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €5 OAP/student/child €3.50
Mutton Lane, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16
Open: Jan 14-17, 23-24, 28-29, Feb 4-7, 11-12, 19-21, 26-28, May 3-13,16, 18-20, 23-27, June 2-4, 8-10, 14-16, 19-20, Aug 14-22, weekdays 2.30pm-6.30pm, weekends 10.30am-2.30pm
Fee: adult/OAP €8 student €5, child free, Members of An Taisce the The Irish Georgian Society (with membership card) €5
Castle Ellen House
Open: April 4-7,11-15,18-22, 25-29, May 2-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23-27, 30-31, June 1-3, 6- 10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-30, July 1, 4-8, 11-16, 18-22, 25-29, Aug 1-5, 8-12, 14-26, 29- 31, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 12 noon-4pm
Claregalway, Co. Galway
Eamonn O’ Donoghue
Open: June-Sept, Thursday-Sunday, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 12 noon- 4pm
Fee: adult €6, student/OAP/child €4
Caherlistrane, Co. Galway
John & Finola Cooke
(Tourist Accommodation Facility) Open: May 1-Oct 31
The Grammer School
College Road, Galway
Open: May 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, June 12-13, July 1-31, Aug 1-23, 9am-5pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student €5, child under 12 free
Oranmore, Co. Galway
Open: April 1-20, May 13-22, June 8-18, Aug 14-23, Sept 8-17, 12 noon-4pm
Fee: adult €10, child €5
Signal Tower & Lighthouse
Eochaill, Inis Mór, Aran Islands, Co. Galway Michael Mullen
Open: April 1- October 31, 9am-5pm.
Fee: adult €2.50, child €1.50, family €5, group rates depending on numbers
Woodville House Dovecote & Walls of Walled Garden
Craughwell, Co. Galway
Margarita and Michael Donoghue
Open: Jan 29-31, Feb 1-28, Apr 1-13, 11am- 4.30pm, June 1, 6-8, 13-15, 21-22, 27- 29, July 10-11, 17-18, 24-25, 31, Aug 1-2, 6-8, 13-22, 27-29, Sept 4-5, 11am-5pm Fee: adult/OAP €6, child €3, student, €5, family €20, guided tours €10
Ballyseede, Tralee, Co. Kerry
Open: Mar 1-Dec 21, 28-31 Fee: Free
Lauragh, Tuosist, Kenmare, Co. Kerry
Open: all year, 10am-6pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student €8, child €3, family ticket €20 (adults and all children & 2 maps)
Kells Bay House & Garden
Kells, Caherciveen, Co Kerry
Open: Feb-Dec 9.30am-dusk
Fee: adult €8.50, child €6, family €26 (2 adults + 3 children under 17 years)
Tarbert, Co. Kerry
Tel: 068-36198, 087-2917301
Open: May, June, July, Aug, 2pm-4pm Fee: adult/OAP €5, student €2, child free
Calverstown, Kilcullen, Co. Kildare
Jeffrey & Naomi White
Tel: 045-485244, 087-6532297
Open: May 1-31, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-15, Dec 1-20, 2pm-6pm Fee: Free
Burtown House and Garden
Athy, Co. Kildare
Open: May 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-29, June 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 23-26, 30, July 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-24, 28-31, August 4-7, 11-31, Sept 1-2, 9am-12 noon
Fee: adult €10, OAP/child€6, student €5
Coolcarrigan House & Gardens
Coolcarrigan, Coill Dubh, Naas, Co. Kildare
Open: Feb 1-5, 8-12, Mar 8-12, April 19-23, May 10-14, 17-21, Aug 4-10, 14-29, Sept 4-10, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP/student €5, child free
Badgerhill, Kill, Co. Kildare
Open: Jan 18-31, Feb 1-6, July 23-31, Aug 1-31, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: adult €5, student/child/OAP €3, (Irish Georgian Society members free)
Open: April 19-23, 26-30, May 10-21, 17-21, 24-28, June 16-20, 23-30, July 5-9, 12- 16, 19-23, Aug 14-22, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult €6, OAP/student €5, child €3
Brannockstown, Co. Kildare
Open: Jan 11-15, 18-22, Feb 8-12, 15-19, May 4-28, June 7-11, Aug 14-22, Sept 6-10, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student €10, child €5
Celbridge Village, Co. Kildare
Tel: 01-6271206, 087-6168651
Open: Jan 1-20, May 18-26, Aug 11-31,10am-2pm
Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €3, child under 5 years free, school groups €2 per head
Kilcock, Co. Kildare
Michael De Las Casas Tel: 087-2213038
Open: May 1-14, 17-21, 24-31, June 1-11, 15-18, 22-25, 29-30, Aug 14-29, 10am- 2pm
Fee: adult/ OAP/student €8, child €5, under 4 years free
Leixlip, Co. Kildare
Open: Feb 1-5, 8-12, Mar 1-5, 8-12, May 11-14, 17-23, June 14-18, 21-27, Aug 14- 22, Sept 6-12, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €4, concessions no charge for school groups
Moone Abbey House & Tower
Moone Abbey, Moone, Co. Kildare
Open: May 1-30, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-30, 12 noon- 4pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €4
Moyglare, Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Open: Jan 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, May 1-31, Aug 14-22, Sept 4-7, 8.30am-12.30pm
Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €3
Steam Museum Lodge Park Heritage Centre July 10
Lodge Park, Straffan, Co. Kildare Robert C Guinness
Open: May 1-3, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, June 4-7, 11-13, 18-20, 25-27, July 2-4, 9- 11,16-18, 23-25, 30-31, Aug 1-2, 6-8, 13-22, 27-29, Sept 4-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, 2pm-6pm,
Fee: adult €7.50, OAP/child €5, student engineering free with card,
family €20, (2 adults + 2 children)
Glenmore, Co. Kilkenny
Tel: 051-880464, 087-2567866
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 9am-5pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €3, child free
Ballybur Upper, Cuffesgrange, Co. Kilkenny
Open: May 1-10, June 10-30, Aug 14-24, Sept 1-20, 2pm-6pm Fee: Free
Johnswell, Co. Kilkenny
Geralyn & Kieran White
Tel: 087-2906621, 086-2322105
Open: Feb 1-20, May 1-31, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm Fee: adult €5, OAP/student/child €2.50
Castlecomer Co. Kilkenny
Open: May 21- Sept 26 Friday, Saturday, and Sundays, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 12 noon-5pm
Fee: adult/OAP €5, child/student €3
Kilfane Glen & Waterfall
Kilfane, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny
Open: July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 11am -6pm
Fee: adult €7, OAP/student €6.50, child €6, family €20
Kilkenny Design Centre
Castle Yard, Kilkenny
Joseph O’ Keeffe
Open: all year,10am-7pm Fee: Free
Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny
Open: Apr 2-Oct 31, Thurs-Sunday, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22
Fee: house & gardens, adult €10, OAP/student/child
gardens, adult €5 OAP/student /child €4
Piltown, Co. Kilkenny
Open: June 1-30, July 1-31, Mon- Fri, Aug 1-31, 9am-5pm
Fee: adult €2, student/ OAP/child free
Borris in Ossory, Co. Laois
Open: all year, 9.30am-6pm
Fee: adult €5, child/OAP €3, student free, family of 4, €10
Stradbally, Co. Laois
Open: May 1-31, June 1-9, Aug 14-22, Oct 1-14, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €10, OAP/ student €5, child free
Manorhamilton Castle (Ruin)
Castle St, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim
Open: Jan 7-Dec 21, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, closed Sat & Sun, 10am- 5pm
Fee: adult €5, child free
The Station House
Brocagh Lower, Glenfarne, Co. Leitrim
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, Mon- Fri, 6pm-10pm, Sat & Sun, and Bank Holidays 9am-1pm
Kilmallock, Co. Limerick
Simon and Nicole Johnson
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: Jan 15-Oct 31, Nov 1-29, Dec 1-15, 9am-4pm
Fee: adult/student €5, child/OAP free
Holycross, Bruff, Co. Limerick
Kate Hayes and Colum McCarthy
Open: Jan 4-29, May 10-28, Aug 13-22, Sept 13-24, Mon-Fri, 5.30pm-9.30pm, Sat- Sun, 8am-12 noon
Glenville, Ardagh, Co. Limerick
Open: Apr 3, 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-30, May 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-26, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-4, 7-11, 14-17, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €3, child free
Crecora, Co. Limerick
Donie & Mary Costello
Open: May 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, June 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27, July 3-4, 10- 11, 17-18, 24-25, Aug 1, 7-8, 14-22, 28-29, Sept 1-20, 10am-2pm
Ballingarry, Co. Limerick
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, July 1-30, Aug 1-31, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult €8, student/OAP/child €4
Mount Trenchard House and Garden
Foynes, Co. Limerick
Frieda Keane Carmody
Open: May, June, July, Sept, weekdays, Aug 1-31, daily, 10am-5pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP €6, child/student €4, groups between 10-20, €6 per person
Ryanes, Ballyingarry, Co. Limerick
Donal Mc Goey
Open: May, June, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 12 noon-5pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/child/student/ concession €2
The Old Rectory
Rathkeale, Co. Limerick
Open: May 1-Nov 28, Saturday and Sundays, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult €8, child/OAP/student €3
Castlenugent, Lisryan, Co. Longford
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-29, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student/child €8
Dunleer, Drogheda, Co. Louth
Open: May 1-31, June 1-9, Aug 14-22, Oct 1-20, 9am-1pm Fee: adult /OAP/student €5, child free
Killineer House & Garden
Drogheda, Co. Louth
Charles & Eithne Carroll
Tel: 086-2323783, 041-9838563,
Open: Feb 1-20, May 1-15, June 1-10, Aug 14-28, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult/OAP/child/student, house: €4, garden €6
Grangebellew, Co. Louth
Open: May 1-31, Mon-Sat, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-30, Mon-Sat, 10am-2pm Fee: adult/OAP €7, child/student €5
Brookhill, Claremorris, Co. Mayo
Patricia and John Noone
Tel: 094-9371348, 087-3690499, 086-2459832
Open: Jan 13-20, Apr 13-20, May 18-24, June 8-14, July 13-19, Aug 1-23, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €6, student €3, OAP/child/ wheelchair free
Enniscoe House & Gardens
Castlehill, Ballina, Co. Mayo
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: April 1-Oct 31
Open: garden, April 1-Oct 31, 10am-5pm,
Fee: garden & heritage centre adult €8, OAP €6, child/student €3, family 2 adults and 2 children €15, tour of house €5 per adult, free two days National Heritage Week
Old Coastguard Station
Rosmoney, Westport, Co. Mayo
Open: July 1-Sept 9 closed Sundays, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 11am-4pm Fee: €1
Prizon North, Balla, Co. Mayo.
Open: May 1-31, Aug 1-31, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €10, student/OAP/child free
Beau Parc House
Beau Parc, Navan, Co. Meath
Open: Mar 1-20, May 1-31, Aug 14-22, 10am-2 pm
Fee: adult €10, OAP/student/child €8
Cillghrian Glebe now known as Boyne House Slane
Chapel Street, Slane, Co. Meath
Open: all year, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm Fee: Free
Dardistown, Julianstown, Co. Meath
Tel: 086 -2774271
Open: Jan 9-31, Feb 11-21, May 15-21, Aug 14-31, Sept 1-30, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult €6, student/OAP €5, child free
Dunsany, Co. Meath
Open: July 3-31, Aug 1-31, Sept 1-4,10am-4pm
Fee: adult 18years + €15, weekends €20, OAP/student €5, child free
Castletown, Kilpatrick, Navan, Co. Meath
Open: Jan 1-13, May 10-30, June 1-20, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €3
Dunboyne, Co. Meath
Open: Apr 2-Sept 26, Fri-Sun, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 10am-7pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student €10, including 2km trail and café, child under 12 free
Clavinstown, Drumree, Co. Meath Dermot Kealy
(Tourists Accommodation Facility)
Open: April- Sept
Loughcrew, Old Castle, Co. Meath
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: April- Sept
Garden: Mar 18-Sept 30 daily, 10am-5pm, Aug & Sept, 11am-4pm Fee: adult €7, OAP/student €5, child €3.50, group concessions
Moyglare, Co. Meath
Postal address Maynooth Co. Kildare
Open: Jan 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, May 1-21, 24-28, 31, June 1-3, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €7.50, OAP/student/child €5
Slane, Co. Meath
Open: April 19-29, May 2-20, 23-27, 31, June 1-3, 7-10, Aug 14-22, Sept 29-30, Oct 1-2, 4-7, Sundays 12 noon-5pm, Monday – Saturday 11am-3pm
Fee: adult €14, OAP/student €12.50, child €8.40
St. Mary’s Abbey
High Street, Trim, Co. Meath
Open: Jan 25-29, Feb 22-26, Mar 8-12, Apr 12-16, May 24-30, June 21-27, July 19- 25, Aug 14-22, Sept 13-17, 20-24, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/student/child €2
The Former Parochial House
Slane, Co. Meath
Open: May 1-Dec 22, Mon-Sat, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult 5, child/ OAP/student €3
Kilmessan, Co. Meath
Open: Mar 1-2, 4-5, April 5-6, 8-9, May 3-9, June 7-13, July 5-11, Aug 14-22, Sept 13-17, 20-24, Oct 4-5, 7-8, Nov 1-2, 4-5, Dec 6-7, 9-10, 11am-3pm
Fee: adult €8, child €1, OAP/student €3
Rathkenny, Slane, Co. Meath
Open: all year including National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm Fee: Free
Glaslough, Co. Monaghan
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: all year, National Heritage Week, events August 14-22 Fee: Free
Hilton Park House
Clones, Co. Monaghan
(Tourist Accommodation Facility) Open: April- Sept
House and garden tours available for groups, May, July, Aug, Sept, Monday-Friday, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, June 1-4, 10-14, 17-21, 24-29, 12 noon-4pm Fee: adult €10, OAP/student €6, child free
Mullan Village and Mill
Mullan, Emyvale, Co. Monaghan
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 2pm-6.30pm Fee: €6
Birr, Co. Offaly
Alicia Clements Tel: 057-9120056
Open: May 1-Aug 31, Mon-Sat, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, closed Aug 1, 8, 29,10am-2pm
Fee: adult €20, castle €10, garden €10, groups €15 per head, garden €7.50, castle €7.50
Ballybrittan, Edenderry, Co. Offaly
Open: Jan 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 23-24, 30-31, Feb 6-7, 13-14, 20-21, 27-28, Mar 6-7,13- 14, 20-21, 27-28, May 1-2, 8-9, 15-16, 22-23, June 12-13,19-20, 26-27, July 3-4,10- 11,17-18, 24-25, 31, Aug 14-22, Sept 4-14, 2pm-6pm.
Fee: free – except in case of large groups a fee of €5 p.p.
Edenderry, Co. Offaly
Open: April 6-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-29, May 1-6, 8-13, 15-20, 24-27, 31, June 1-3, 7- 10, 14-17, 21-24, 28-30, Aug 14-22, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult €10, student /OAP/child €5
Cappincur, Tullamore, Co. Offaly
Open: July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 12 noon-4pm
Fee: adult €2, OAP/student /family €5
Shinrone, Birr, Co. Offaly
Open: Jan, Feb, July, Aug, Sept, daily 2pm-6pm Fee: Free
Castle Street, Birr, Co. Offaly Brendan Garry
Open: all year, 9am-5pm
Brosna, Birr, Co. Offaly
Tom & Mary Alexander
Open: Feb 1-26, Mon-Fri, May 1-31, Aug 14-22, 9am-1.30pm
Fee: adult/student/child/OAP €7
High Street House
High Street, Tullamore, Co. Offaly
Open: Jan 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, May 1-18, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-24, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: adult/student €5, OAP €4, child under 12 free
Moneygall, Birr, Co. Offaly
Open: May 11-16, 18-23, 25-30, June 1-6, 8-13, 15-20, 22-27, 29-30, Aug 1, 3-8, 10- 22, 11am-3.30pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €4, child €3 (under 12 free), family (2 adults & 2 children over 12) € 15
Mount Lucas, Daingean, Tullamore, Co. Offaly Muireann Noonan
Open: Jan 1-14, 1pm-5pm, May 14-16, 24-28, July 2-4, 9-11, 16-18, Aug 7-29, 2pm- 6pm, Dec 26-31, 1pm-5pm
Castle Street, Birr, Co. Offaly
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: April 1-Dec 31
Castlecoote, Co. Roscommon
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Garden-guided tours, 2pm-6pm Fee: €5, €2 per car
Castlerea, Co. Roscommon
Pyers O’Conor Nash
Tel: 094-9620014, 087-3371667
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
April 1-October 1
Open: Jun 1-Aug 31, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 11am-5pm, last tour 3.45pm, tours by appointment
Fee: adult €10, OAP/student €8, child €5, under 7 years free, group rates can be arranged
Main Street, Boyle, Co. Roscommon Eimear Dowd
Open: April 16-Sept 24, Tue-Sun, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 11am-5pm
Fee: adult €7, OAP/student /child €5, 10% group discounts
Shannonbridge, Athlone, Co. Roscommon
Open: May 1-Sept 30, 11am-5pm
Strokestown Park House
Strokestown Park House, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon
Open: Jan 2-Dec 20, Jan, Feb, Mar 1-16, Nov, Dec,10.30am-4pm, March 17-Oct 31, 10.30am-5.30pm,
Fee: adult €14, €12.50, €9.25, OAP/student €12.50, child €6, family €29, groups €11.50
Riverstown, Co. Sligo
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Tues- Sat, 11am-5pm
Fee: adult/child/OAP/student €5
Lissadell House & Gardens
Lissadell, Ballinfull, Co. Sligo
Open: June-Sept 10.30am-6pm
Fee: adult €14, child €7, OAP €12, concessions family
Open: June, July, Aug, 12 noon-4pm Fee: Free
Newpark House and Demesne
Newpark, Ballymote, Co. Sligo
Christopher & Dorothy-Ellen Kitchin
Tel: 087-3706869, 087-2894550
Open: March 1-5, 8-12, 15-19, 22-26, May 10-16, 24-27, 31, June 1-17, Aug 14-22, Sept 7-8, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €7, OAP/student/group €5
Rathcarrick, Strandhill Road, Co. Sligo
Open: June, July, Aug, Tue-Sat, National Heritage Week Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/student/child free
Ballymote, Co. Sligo
Roderick and Helena Perceval
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: April 1-October 31
Ballbrunoge, Cullen, Co. Tipperary
Maura & Patrick McCormack
Open: Jan 4-8, 18-22, Feb 1-5, 8-12, May 1-3, 14-17, 21-24, June 11-14, 18-21, Aug 14-22, Sept 3-6, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27, 10.15am-2.15pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €2, child free, fees donated to charity
Clogheen, Co. Tipperary
Open: April 1-May 27, Tues & Thurs, June 1-29, Tue, Thurs, Sat & Sun, Aug 14-22, Sept 2-Oct 28, Tues & Thurs, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP/student/child €4
Cloughjordan, Co. Tipperary
Open: May 4-29, Sept 6-30, Oct 4-30 excluding Sundays, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €5
Fancroft, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
Marcus & Irene Sweeney
Tel: 0505-31484, 087-9263300
Open: May 6-27, June 9-30, Aug 14-22, Sept 15-22, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult €8, OAP/student €6, child free under 5 years, adult supervision essential, group rates available
Tipperary, Co. Tipperary
Open: May & Sept, Mon-Sat, Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm, closed Saturday, Sept 18
Fee: adult €8, student/OAP €6, group rates available
Open: May 11-31, June 1-30, Aug 14-22, 10.30am-2.30pm
Fee: adult €8, child /OAP/student €6, group concessions
Bansha, Co. Tipperary
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: Mar 17-Oct 31
Redwood, Lorrha, Nenagh, North Tipperary
Redwood is off the Birr/Portumna Rd
Open: June 8-23, 29-30, July 1-16, 19-29, Aug 1-27, 29-31, Sept 1-2, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €10, OAP/student/child €5
Cashel Road, Cahir, Co. Tipperary
Richard & Josephine Fahey
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: May 1-Oct 31
Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, Aug 14-22, 12 noon-4pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €3, child free
Postal address: Glendine, Youghal, Co. Cork
Open: April 1-Sept 30, 12 noon- 4pm
Fee: adult €6, child OAP/student €3
Cappagh House (Old and New)
Charles and Claire Chavasse
Tel: 087-8290860, 086-8387420
Open: April, June, & August, Wednesday & Thursday, May & September Wednesday Thursday & Saturday, National Heritage Week, August 14-22, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student/€5, child under 12 free
Cappoquin House & Gardens
Cappoquin, Co. Waterford
Sir Charles Keane
Tel: 058-54290, July 087-6704180
Open: July 20-24, 26-31, Aug 2-7, 9-28, 30, Sept 1-4, 6-11, 13-18, 20-25, 27-30, 9am-1pm
Gardens open all year, 9am-6pm, closed Sundays
Fee: house/garden €15, garden only €6
Portlaw, Co. Waterford
Open: May, June, July, Aug, Sept, Thurs-Sun and Bank Holidays, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22,10am-4pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student, house/garden/shell house tour €20, house €15, garden & shell house €12, garden €7, child under12 years free
Cappoquin, Co. Waterford
Open: May 1-8, 22-31, June 1-30, July 1-10, Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student, house €10, garden: adult/OAP/student €6, child under 12 free, groups of 10 or more house/garden €12, garden €5, house €9,
Salterbridge House & Garden
Salterbridge, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford
Open: Mar 22-26, Apr 6-9, 12-16, 19-23, 26-30, May 3-7, 10-31, Aug 14-22, 9am- 1pm
Fee: adult house/garden €10, house or garden only €5, child/student half price, OAP free
The Presentation Convent
Waterford Healthpark, Slievekeel Road,Waterford
Michelle O’ Brien
Open: Jan 1-Dec 31, excluding Bank Holidays and Sundays, Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm, Sat, 10am-2pm, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22
Tourin House & Gardens
Tourin, Cappoquin, Co. Waterford
Open: April 1-Sept 30, Tue-Sat, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 1pm-5pm
Fee: adult €6, OAP/student €3, child free.
Lough Park House
Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath
Open: Mar 16-22, Apr 1-7, May 1-7, June 1-7, July 16-26, Aug 1-6, 14-22, Sept 1-6, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €6, child free
St. John’s Church
Loughstown, Drumcree, Collinstown, Co. Westmeath
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €4, child/OAP/student €2
Rockfield Ecological Estate
Rathaspic, Rathowen, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
Open: May 25-30, June 15-25, July 15-30, Aug 14-29, Sept 10-20, 2pm-6pm
Tullynally Castle & Gardens
Castlepollard, Co. Westmeath
Open: Castle, Apr 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-30, May 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-29, June 3-5, 11-12, 17-19, 24-26, July 1-3, 8-10, 15-17 Aug 14-22, Sept 2-4, 9-11, 10.30am- 2.30pm
Garden: Apr 1-4, 8-11, 15-18, 22-25, 29-30, May 1-2, 6-9, 13-16, 20-23, 27-30, June 3-6, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27, July 1-4, 8-11,15-18, 22-25, 29-31, Aug 1, 5-8, 12-22, 26- 29, Sept 2-5, 9-12, 16-19, 23-26 10.30am-2.30pm
Fee: adult, castle & access to garden €16, garden only €8, child, castle & access to garden €8, garden only €4, families, castle & access to garden €40, garden only €20
Coole, Co. Westmeath
Open: July 22-30, Aug 1-31, Dec 1-20, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult/student €8, child/OAP €4
Carne, Co. Wexford
Open: Jan 11-31, May 1-31, August 14-22, 9am-1pm Fee: €5
Kilmokea Country Manor & Gardens
Kilmokea, Great Island, Campile, New Ross, Co. Wexford Mark Hewlett
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: Mar- Nov
Open Mar17-Nov 5, 10am-5pm
Fee: adult €7, OAP €6, student €5, child €4, free under 3 years, family group of 4, €20
Bree, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open: all year
Killanne, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford
(Tourist Accommodation Facility)
Open April 1-October 31
New Ross, Co. Wexford
Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult/OAP/ €5, child/student free
Kilpeddar, Greystones, Co. Wicklow
Open: Mar 10-30, May 1-31 June 1-3, 1pm-5pm, Aug 14-22, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult /OAP/ student €5, child over 10 years €5
Kilbride, Wicklow, Co. Wicklow
Open: Mar 1-6, 8-13, 15-20, 22-23, May 1, 3-8, 10-15, 17-22, 24-29, 31, Aug 9-22, 2pm-6pm, 2 tours provided daily at 2pm and 4 pm
Fee: adult/OAP €8, student €4, child free under 12 supervision required
Avoca, Co. Wicklow
Open: Jan 11-13, Feb 1-5, Mar 1-3, 22-24, June 10-12, 14-15, 19, 21-26, 28, July 5-9, 19-22, Aug 13-22, Sept 6-11, 18, 25, Oct 4-6, 11-13, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €8.50, OAP/student €6.50, child €5
Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow
Open: Feb 1-5, 8-12, 15-19, 22-26, May 4-28, 31 June 1-4, 8, Aug 14-22, Mon-Fri, 1pm-5pm, Sat & Sun, 9am-1pm
Fee: house/garden €6
Killruddery House & Gardens
Southern Cross Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow Anthony Meath
Open: Apr 1-Oct 31, 9am-6pm,
Fee: adult €8.50, garden and house tour €15.50, OAP/student €7.50, garden and house tour €13, OAP/student €7.50, garden and house tour €13, child €3 under 4 years free, garden and house tour €5.50
Newcastle, Co. Wicklow
Open: May 1-31, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-20, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €10, OAP/student/child €5
Kingston, Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow Liam Lynam
Open: Aug 1-31, Sept 1-30, 10am-2pm
Fee: adult €3, OAP/student/child €2
Avoca, Co Wicklow
Open: May 20-July 3, Mon- Sat, August 14-22, Oct 1-14, Mon-Sat, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: adult €3, OAP/student €2
1 Martello Terrace
Strand Road, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Open: May, June, Sept, Oct, Mon & Thurs, July & Aug, Mon, Thurs, & Sat, National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 1pm-5pm, Sat 9am-1pm, closed Oct 25
Mount Usher Gardens
Ashford, Co. Wicklow
Caitriona Mc Weeney
Open: all year 10am-6pm, closed Dec 25-26
Fee: adult €8, student/OAP €7, child €4, no charge for wheelchair users
Powerscourt House & Gardens
Powerscourt Estate, Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow
Open: All year, closed Christmas day and St Stephens day, 9.30am-5.30pm, ballroom and garden rooms Sun, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: Mar-Oct, adult €11.50, OAP €9, student €8.50, child €5, family ticket €26, Nov- Dec, adult €8.50, OAP €7.50, student €7, child €4, family ticket 2 adults + 3 children €18, children under 5 free
The Albert Beit Foundation, Blessington, Co. Wicklow
Open: Mar 1- Dec 25, 10am-5pm,
Fee: adult €12, OAP/student €9, child €6
Cabra Castle (Hotel)
Kingscourt, Co. Cavan
Listed Open dates, but check due to Covid-19 restrictions : all year, except Dec 24, 25, 26, 11am-12 midnight
Stephen and I visited Cabra Castle in December 2020. I contacted the owner, Howard Corscadden, in advance, to request a tour of the castle. The Corscadden family own several beautiful Irish properties which provide unique castle accommodation. As well as Cabra Castle, they own Markree Castle in County Sligo and Ballyseede Castle in County Kerry, both of which are on the Section 482 list, as well as Bellingham Castle in County Louth. They are all hotels except the latter which is available as a four star venue for weddings and events, with accommodation. Howard’s parents and grandparents were also in the hotel business in Ireland, as are his siblings – Ballyseede is run by his sister Marnie, Castle Bellingham by his brother Patrick and Markree Castle by his sister Patricia. Howard worked in the Waldorf hotel in Switzerland and in Dromoland Castle in Ireland before purchasing Cabra Castle in 1991.  It had been converted to a hotel in 1964 by the local Brennan family. In 1986 it was sold to become a private house once more, but with a change in fortune the family sold to Howard Corscadden.
The early history of the castle is the history of two land-owning families, the Fosters and the Pratts. The building now known as Cabra Castle was originally known as Cormy Castle. At that time, an adjacent property was called “Cabra.” Cormy Castle was named after the townland of Cormy.
In 1795 the land, which contained an old round tower castle called Cormy Castle, belonged to John Thomas Foster (1747-1796), who had been MP for Dunleer, County Louth, and for Ennis, County Clare. The main building of Cormy Castle was in ruins, destroyed during the Cromwellian War, but its adjacent courtyard remained in good repair.
The Foster family owned large amounts of land in County Louth and their family seat was in Dunleer. The family produced many members of the Irish Parliament. John Thomas’s grandfather John Foster (1665-1747) had been MP for Dunleer. His father, Reverend Thomas Foster (1709-1784) was Rector at Dunleer. His uncle Anthony Foster (1705-1778) had also been MP for Dunleer and for County Louth, and was Chief Baron of the Exchequer, and lived at Collon, County Louth.  Anthony’s son John Foster (1740-1828) was Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, created 1st Baron Oriel of Ferrard, and also owned property which is now part of University College Dublin and the adjacent road Foster Avenue is named after him.
Turtle Bunbury tells us that John Thomas Foster’s father Reverend Thomas, the rector of Dunleer, acquired land in County Louth in the 1750s and 1760. He then acquired the 700 acre manor of Killany, County Louth, from 1763 on a series of long leases from the Provost and Fellows of Trinity College Dublin. He purchased Stonehouse, Dunleer, around 1787. 
In 1776 John Thomas Foster married Elizabeth Christina Hervey, daughter of the 4th Earl of Bristol. After the marriage they lived with her father in Suffolk. They had two sons: Frederick Thomas (1777-1853) and Augustus John (1780-1848). 
The marriage of John Thomas and Elizabeth Christina was not a success, and they separated after five years. Foster took the sons, and she did not see them for fourteen years. 
In 1783 John Thomas Foster inherited a property named Rosy Park in Louth from his uncle, John William Foster. In 1820 it was renamed Glyde Park by his son, Augustus.  It is unfortunately now a ruin.
John Thomas died in 1796, when his sons were still minors. They moved back to England to live with their mother, who by this time was living with William Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire, along with his wife, Georgiana, and had born him two children. A film starring Keira Knightly, “The Duchess,” is based on their story.  She married him in 1809 when his wife died.
Meanwhile, a cousin of John Thomas Foster, Henry Foster (c. 1747-1838), was appointed Trustee and Executor of the property of Cormy. He lived at Cormy Castle while acting as Trustee for his wards. According to Turtle Bunbury, he was a magistrate for Meath, Cavan and Louth. There is a record in the National Library of Ireland of a Grant of Arms to Henry Foster of Cormy Castle from March 13th 1806, when he was about to be created a baronet, but “the creation did not eventuate” (i.e. he was not made baronet). The National Library also has a map of the demesne of Cormy Castle from 1810, named as the seat of Henry Foster. In 1808 he began to rebuild and enlarge the castle. However, he exhausted the personal estate of his wards in doing so, and incurred debts, and the castle and land had to be sold. In about 1813 his wards sold the estate to Colonel Joseph Pratt, who lived on the adjacent property. 
John Thomas Foster’s son Frederick Thomas Foster may have remained in England, as he served as MP for Bury St. Edwards between 1812 and 1818. His brother Augustus John Foster became a politician and diplomat. Between roughly 1802 and 1804 he was Secretary to the British Legion in Naples. He held the office of Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to the U.S.A. in 1812. He wrote about his American experiences in Notes on the United States of America.
From 1814-1824 he held the office of Minister Plenipotentiary to Denmark. He was created 1st Baronet Foster of Glyde Court in 1831, and was appointed Privy Counsellor. His final posting was to Turin, in the Kingdom of Sardinia.
Colonel Joseph Pratt, who owned the adjacent Cabra estate, continued the enlargement of Cormy Castle, and the work was completed in 1837. In 1820 he renamed it Cabra Castle. 
Before we examine the development of Cabra Castle, let’s look at the history of the property of Cabra across the road from the current Cabra Castle.
According to the Cabra Castle website, this area belonged to the O’Reilly family. In 1607 Gerald Fleming, who had been granted territory by King James I, built a castle on the property. He lost his lands, however, when he supported James II against William III, and Colonel Thomas Cooch (1632-1699) acquired the property. 
Colonel Thomas Cooch married Elizabeth Mervyn, (sister of Audley Mervyn, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons), and they had an only daughter and heiress, Elizabeth.
Elizabeth’s first husband (Nathaniel Pole, who lived in County Meath) died in 1685, before they had any children, and Elizabeth then married Joseph Pratt, who lived not far off at Garadice, Co. Meath, a property which his father received for his support of Oliver Cromwell.  This marriage (which was also Joseph Pratt’s second) took place in 1686 and a son, Mervyn Pratt, was born in 1687. Joseph Pratt held the office of High Sheriff of County Meath in 1698. He and Elizabeth had several other children.
Colonel Thomas Cooch left his Cabra property to his grandson Mervyn.
Mervyn Pratt was only 12 years old when his grandfather died. He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin and married Elizabeth Coote, daughter of Sir Thomas Coote, Judge, of Bellamont, Coote Hill, County Cavan. Mervyn and Elizabeth lived at Cabra near the Wishing Well. He followed in his father’s footsteps and held the office of High Sheriff, but of County Cavan rather than Meath. He was also an MP for County Cavan.
The Fleming castle was modernised by Mervyn Pratt. The new villa may have been designed by Edward Lovett Pearce, who was a cousin of Elizabeth Coote. The Irish Aesthete quotes a visitor to Mervyn Pratt in Cabra:
“On August 25th 1732, the future Mrs Delany (then the merrily widowed Mrs Pendarves) embarked on a journey from Navan, County Meath to Cootehill, County Cavan. She wrote in her journal, ‘travelled through bad roads and a dull, uninhabited country, till we came to Cabaragh, Mr Prat’s house, an old castle modernized, and made very pretty: the master of it is a virtuoso, and discovers whim in all his improvements. The house stands on the side of a high hill; has some tall old trees about it; the gardens are small but neat; there are two little terrace walks, and down in a hollow is a little commodious lodge where Mr Prat lived whilst his house was repairing. But the thing that most pleased me, was a rivulet that tumbles down from rocks in a little glen, full of shrub-wood and trees; here a fine spring joins the river, of the sweetest water in the world.’” 
Mervyn and Elizabeth Pratt had three daughters and one son. Their son Joseph joined the clergy. Reverend Joseph married Elizabeth Chetwood and had five children.
Of the five children of Reverend Joseph Pratt, a daughter Anne married her neighbour Henry Foster the trustee for Cormy Castle.  A son, James Butler Pratt, married a sibling of Henry Foster, Margaret. Another son entered the clergy, Reverend Joseph Pratt (1738-1831).
This second Reverend Joseph Pratt married Sarah Morres, daughter of the 1st Viscount Mountmorres, of Castle Morres, County Kilkenny (which has been demolished). Their son, Colonel Joseph Pratt (1775-1863), purchased Cormy Castle from Henry Foster. Their other son, Hervey Randall Saville Pratt inherited the property of Castle Morres through his mother.
The house at Cabra was destroyed by fire in the 1950s, and is now part of Dun na Ri Forest Park, a lovely place to explore, owned by Coillte. After Joseph Pratt moved to Cormy Castle and created a new seat for his family, his former property became known as Old Cabra. 
Now let us travel back across the road to the former Cormy Castle, now Cabra Castle. Cabra Castle is a mixture of Norman and Gothic styles.
The entrance is in a Norman-style “donjon” or square tower house, with corner turret. The door is in a deeply recessed pointed arch.
The building has two, three and four story sections over a basement. The building, including outbuildings, is castellated, and has several round and square towers.
The windows are of various shape, some with hood mouldings.
A recent creation to one side of the tower is “Mitzi’s garden,” a formal garden with fountain, tribute to the mother of the current generation of Corscaddens, who is nicknamed Mitzi. This area used to be used for parking.
There are statue-filled niches, and a side entrance, up a flight of steps, leads to the recently refurbished ballroom.
The other side of the building has a terrace which contains a seating area outside the bar, which also serves food.
This courtyard looks out to a lawn area that has a giant chess set and places to sit.
The oldest part of the castle can be pinpointed in the aerial view. According to the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage the “earlier house of c.1750 [is] embedded within northern section of south-east side concealed behind extension of c.1990, junction marked by square-plan rendered turret corresponding to north-west side in simplified form.” This square plan turret actually contains our bathroom!
Beyond Mitzi’s Garden a path leads to the car park and further self-catering accommodation, beyond the tennis court. A branch of this path and driveway curves around to the courtyard at the back of the castle. One can also enter this courtyard through the castle. The courtyard originally contained the stables, but these have been converted into more hotel accommodation. There are about sixty rooms in the courtyard.
Some of the buildings in the courtyard have been newly constructed. My amateur eye cannot distinguish the new from the old.
In the middle of the courtyard is Karl’s Garden, named after a former groundsman.
The Cabra Castle website tells us:
“Colonel Joseph Pratt had married Jamima, daughter of Sir James Tynte [of Tynte Park, County Wicklow – the beautiful house that stands there today wasn’t built until around 1820; Jamima married in 1806], and had ten children. The eldest – Mervyn, born in 1807 – married Madeline Jackson, only daughter and heiress of Colonel Jackson of Enniscoe, Co. Mayo. They inherited this property when Colonel Pratt died.
He succeeded his father, Col. Joseph Pratt, as owner of Cabra in 1863, but from this time onwards, the interests of the Pratt Family were divided between Cabra in Co. Cavan and Enniscoe in Co. Mayo. Mervyn Pratt died in 1890 and was succeeded on his death by his eldest son – Major Mervyn Pratt, in 1927.”
Enniscoe, by the way, is another Section 482 property which I look forward to visiting, which also provides accommodation. The house was completed in 1798. 
Mervyn Pratt (1807-1890) who married into Enniscoe had several brothers. Joseph Pratt took the name of Tynte in 1836 from his mother and lived in Tynte Park. Mervyn held the offices of High Sheriff of County Cavan in 1841 and High Sheriff of County Mayo in 1843. He was also Justice of the Peace for County Cavan and High Sheriff for County Meath in 1875. His son Joseph Pratt (1843-1929) inherited Enniscoe and Cabra Castle, and then Joseph’s son Mervyn (1873-1950) lived at Enniscoe and left Cabra Castle unoccupied. He served in the military, and was a Justice of the Peace, and never married. He bequeathed Cabra to his nearest male relative, Mervyn Sheppard (1905-1994), a Malayan Civil Servant.  According to the Cabra Castle website, death duties and taxes, rates, the cost of repairs, and farm losses, meant he could not afford to live there, and he had to sell it. It was sold in 1964 to the Brennans and turned into a 22 bedroom hotel.
The manager of the hotel, Johnny, took us on a tour. While we waited for him we sat by an open fire in a small sitting room off the reception hall.
Beyond the reception area is the staircase hall with a bifurcating staircase with metalwork balustrade ascending to the first floor. Two statues very similar to the ones that were recently removed from outside the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin while the owners determined whether they represented slave girls or not (they do not) adorn the staircase. 
On the second floor the staircase hall is surrounded by a gallery, and has ceiling work of thin fretting.
At the top of the stairs on the first floor is a Victorian drawing room with an original gilt wallpaper.
The ceiling has matching gilt decoration. Next to this room, facing the staircase, is the dining area – a suite of several rooms. The arches between the rooms reflect the entrance arch to the castle and the arched windows.
The historic elegance of the rooms is maintained with original fireplace, antique mirrors, portraits and chandeliers.
On the second floor is more cosy sitting room, decorated in dark green William Morris style wallpaper, making it more like a den or library.
This den overlooks an outdoor seating area. This is the seating area overlooking Mitzi’s Garden.
The manager then took us through to the most recent piece de resistance, the Ballroom. It has been sensitively built and decorated to reflect the style of the older parts of the castle, and I loved the ceiling, which is quite amazing and looks like heavy medieval carved wood but is actually manufactured using a modern technique. In the hallway leading to the ballroom, our guide pointed out that the original round stone tower of the castle has been incorporated.
The ballroom includes a large “minstrels’ gallery.”
Off the ballroom is a small kitchen, called Josephine’s Kitchen after one of the staff who worked here for thirty years.
In Josephine’s kitchen, guests can help themselves to tea and coffee. A painting of Cormy Bridge, near where Old Cabra was located, is by Josephine herself!
Our guide told us that Howard Corscadden likes to pick up antiques to add to the décor. I love these additions, making me feel like I was a visitor in the days of the Pratts when the castle must have boasted its full glory. After our tour, I explored the nooks and crannies, enjoying the irregularity of the stairways and corridors.
There was a great photograph of Michael Collins and Kitty Kiernan on the way up to our bedroom.
Even the back corridors have wonderful artworks. I love this series of portraits. I wonder who they are?
I also really like these Arabic scenes:
Our guide showed us to one of his favourite bedrooms, which has a ceiling recently adorned with plasterwork. He particularly loves the use of the round tower, renovated into a gorgeous bathroom.
He then took us outside to the courtyard, and showed us the Bridal Suite in the courtyard area.
The room has its own jacuzzi.
There is another Bridal Suite, inside the castle. I have saved the best until last, because this was our room! It used to be three bedrooms, a hallway and an office, all now incorporated into a luxurious suite. It has a canopied four poster bed, a comfortable seating area with fireplace, and a beautiful clawfoot bath.
The ensuite bathroom has the largest walk-in shower that I’ve ever seen, and the muted lighting feels particularly luxurious.
The bathroom has a door to a large private patio, with stunning views over Mitzi’s Garden and the landscape beyond. And best of all, we had our own private outdoor jacuzzi!
There are self-catering cottages where one can also stay. It is a beautiful part of the country. Before heading home, we availed of the opportunity to visit the impressive remnants nearby of Castle Saunderson.
See also Ballyseede Castle: https://www.ballyseedecastle.com
Markree Castle: https://www.markreecastle.ie
Castle Bellingham: https://www.bellinghamcastle.ie
 Collon House now runs a B&B and you can also request a tour. www.collonhouse.com
It is interesting to note that his neighbour, Dr. Benjamin Pratt, son of Joseph Pratt and Elizabeth Cooch, was a Provost of Trinity College Dublin in 1710.
 Chapman, Caroline & Jane Dormer, Elizabeth and Georgiana: The Duke of Devonshire and his Two Duchesses, John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2002
 Hicks, David. Irish Country Houses, Portraits and Painters. The Collins Press, Cork, 2014.
 Mark Bence-Jones. A Guide to Irish Country Houses. Originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978; Revised edition 1988 Constable and Company Ltd, London.
 Imagine inheriting a castle from a distant relative! Mervyn Pratt died in 1950 and his siblings had predeceased him and had no children. Louisa Catherine Hannah Pratt was his aunt. It was through her line that Mervyn Sheppard inherited.
Louisa Pratt was the sister of Joseph Pratt (1843-1929), who lived at Enniscoe, the father of Mervyn Pratt. Louisa Pratt married Thomas Rothwell. Thomas Rothwell served in County Meath militia, and was High Sheriff of County Meath in 1867, and also served as Justice of the Peace for County Meath. He lived at Rockfield, County Meath.
Louisa and Thomas had four daughters. Louisa Frances Rothwell must have been the oldest of the daughters, as it was through her son that Mervyn Sheppard inherited. Mervyn Sheppard was the son of Canon James William ffrank Sheppard and Louisa Frances Rothwell. Mervyn probably grew up in England where father was rector. He had a twin, Frank Baden ffrank Sheppard, who served in the military, and a younger brother.
 An Irish Times article by Ronan McGreevy from Thursday Sept 24th 2020 explains the origin of the Shelbourne hotel statues. They were designed and sculpted by Mathurin Moreau (1822-1912) and were cast in a foundry in Paris. The statues represent Egyptian and Nubian women.
Contact: Cara Konig-Brock tel.: +353 41 983 8557
Beaulieu House, near Drogheda in County Louth, is not on the Section 482 list in 2019 or 2020, for the first time in many years. I visited, however, during Heritage Week in 2019, and it’s definitely worth a write-up. The front hall is magnificent, and the history of the house is a lesson in the history of Ireland. The history of Beaulieu encompasses the history of Ireland from the 1640s and its owners played an active role.
It is pronounced “Bewley” and sometimes written on earlier maps as “Bewly.” Nobody is sure where the name came from, but the website suggests that it may come from “booley,” the practice of the Irish in which cattle are moved from place to place to graze.
The house overlooks the River Boyne – you can see it beyond the garden at the side of the house:
Beaulieu is a very important house architecturally as it is one of the few Dutch influenced houses still surviving, in a style deriving from works of Inigo Jones. It was built around 1715 and incorporates an older building. The Irish Aesthete tells us that the architect was probably John Curle.  The Dictionary of Irish Architects tells us that John Curle may have come originally from Scotland, and was active in Counties Fermanagh, Louth, Meath and Monaghan in the late 1690s and first quarter of the 1700s. As well as working on Beaulieu, he designed the original house at Castle Coole, Co. Fermanagh, built in 1709, and in about 1709 he designed Conyngham Hall (later Slane Castle), Co. Meath (another Section 482 property). It has also been suggested that Curle also designed Stackallan House, Co. Meath, in 1712.
Cement-rendered with redbrick trim, Beaulieu has two show facades, the west front and the south garden front. The entrance is of seven bays, with the two end bays brought forward. The windows are framed with flat brick surrounds, and the doorcase, of brick, consists of two Corinthian pilasters supporting a large pediment with carved swags.
There are three dormer windows over the centre three bays, and one above each two-bay projection, and this type of dormer window is a classical mid-seventeenth century practice of construction.  The high eaved roof is carried on a massive wooden modillion cornice. Modillions are small consoles at regular intervals along the underside of some types of classical cornice.
The two tall moulded chimneystacks are also of brick.  There is a single-storey projecting billiard room in the back and a canted bay which I did not see, on the east side. 
The garden front is a six-bay elevation with two doorcases, one in the centre of each principal room, both with Ionic pilasters and crowned with large triangular pediments. It looks as though the doors open by lifting upwards on a sash, like the door/window we saw at Corravahan in County Cavan.
This side of the building has three dormer windows.
Beaulieu is now owned by Cara Konig-Brock, who inherited it in from her mother Gabriel de Freitas, who was the tenth generation of descendants since King Charles II granted the lands to Henry Tichbourne in 1666. Gabriel inherited the house from mother, Sidney nee Montgomery, who was married to Nesbit Waddington.  The house is unusual in that it has often passed through the female rather than male line.
We arrived early for the tour, so wandered the gardens first. We were excited to see the ramshackle remnants of a festival in the wooded part of the back garden – Vantastival takes place at Beaulieu. I love the magic, creativity and craftsmanship of the pop-up structures in the woods.
There was even a boat in the garden, I assume left over from the festival:
But before I discuss the garden, I’ll tell you about the tour and the house, to give a bit of perspective.
We were greeted by a guide when it was time to enter the house. The front hall which we entered is impressive and rather worn with age. It is double height, and I found it difficult to take in everything at once; when overwhelmed, I focus on one thing – in this case it was the couch. I was delighted to be invited sit in front of the huge fireplace to start the tour, to be able to take in my surroundings. Our guide told us we could take photographs as long as we don’t take pictures of the paintings. It was hard to take photographs, however, without including the paintings, as they covered the walls! So I didn’t take many photos, unfortunately. The large two storey hall is a late seventeenth century copy of a medieval hall.
Before Henry Tichbourne, who acquired it around 1666, the land was owned by the Plunketts. According to the Beaulieu website, the Plunkett family may have first inhabited a tower house at the location. I came across the Plunketts when we visited Dunsany Castle, another Section 482 property. Sir Hugh de Plunkett, an Anglo-Norman, came to Ireland during the reign of Henry II. From then on the family owned lands in Louth and Meath. In 1418 Walter Plunkett obtained royal confirmation of his rights in Bewley and other land.  Christopher and Oliver Plunkett, the 6th Baron of Louth (1607-1679) took part in the 1641 Rebellion, and were outlawed.  The wide walls of the original tower house can be found in the fabric of the building today.  Our guide described these walls: rather contrary to expectations, the walls get thicker higher up. This makes sense if you consider that cannonballs would hit the upper part of a structure.
According to Mark Bence-Jones, it is one of the first country houses built in Ireland without fortification, although until the 19th century it was surrounded by a tall protective hedge, or palisade.  Also, the front door is hung with massive carved oak and iron studded shutters, which Bence-Jones explains are probably a vestige of military protection. We did not see these shutters as the door was open for visitors. In the 17th century, troops were garrisoned in the house for a time. We learned more about these troops during the tour.
A History of Beaulieu is a History of Ireland in the 1600’s
To begin chronologically, it’s best to start in 1641 during Phelim O’Neill’s uprising against the British. Phelim O’Neill (1604-1653) rose up to try to prevent a second wave of Plantation in Ireland. During the plantations, first in Laois and Offaly and then in Ulster, lands were taken from the native Irish and given to Protestant settlers to farm, in order to firm up the English King’s control in Ireland. Richard Plunkett, who owned the land at Beaulieu at the time and was a colonel in Phelim O’Neill’s army, allowed Phelim to station his troops in his fortified dwelling at Beaulieu. In his fight, Phelim attacked the walled city of Drogheda.
Henry Tichbourne (or Tichborne – different reference sources spell the name differently) at this time was governor of Lifford, County Donegal.  He had come to Ireland from England where as a younger son of Benjamin the 1st Baronet Tichborne of Titchborne, Co. Southampton, he had joined the military. He became commissioner for the Plantation of County Londonderry. Tichborne was sent to Drogheda to protect the city from Phelim O’Neill and his followers. Henry saved the city of Drogheda. His victory is celebrated in the incredible intricately carved wooden “trophy” over the front door in Beaulieu, which includes the “Barbican gate” of Drogheda, underneath the armoured soldier:
According to our guide, after the battle with Phelim O’Neill, the house at Beaulieu was left empty, and Henry Tichbourne moved in. Later, he purchased the land from the Plunketts. The Plunketts had mortgaged their land in order to raise funds for the rebellion of 1641. Tichbourne was able to take over the mortgages and pay them, and thus acquire the estate, thus buying the land and tower that had been formerly occupied by his enemies. 
In 1642 King Charles I appointed Tichbourne Lord Justice of Ireland, and he held office until January 1644. In 1644 he went to England with the aim of negotiating peace between the King and the Irish Confederacy. James Butler, 1st Duke of Ormonde, came to the aid of Tichbourne in Drogheda in 1642. This could explain why Tichbourne was involved with trying to negotiate an agreement between King Charles and the Confederates, as Ormonde was a leading negotiator.  Complications arose because at the same time, the Puritans were gaining support in the Parliament in England. They judged Charles I to be betraying his religion and his people. Tichbourne sided with Charles I. He was captured by Parliamentary forces and spent some months as a prisoner in the Tower of London.
Upon his release, he returned to Drogheda. When Oliver Cromwell and his troops came to Ireland in 1649 they laid siege to Drogheda. Tichborne decided that the Royalists could not retain control of Ireland, and decided to join Cromwell’s side, the “Parliamentarians.” When Charles II was restored to the throne in 1661, he forgave Tichborne for his submission to the Parliament loyal to Oliver Cromwell. Charles II was very forgiving. (see Antonia Fraser’s excellent biography of Charles II. Fraser, incidentally, grew up in another house on the Section 482 list, Tullynally.) Charles II confirmed Henry Tichbourne’s ownership of Beaulieu in 1666, and made Tichbourne Marshall of the Irish Army. 
The painting in the chimneypiece in the Hall is of Drogheda after Cromwell’s siege. Henry Tichbourne, the grandson of the Tichbourne who fought at Drogheda, commissioned Willem Van Der Hagen to paint a port-scape of Drogheda in the early 1720s. Van Der Hagen began a painting career in Ireland around 1718. He began by painting sets at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin – a theatre which has been re-established today after years of alternative use – and went on to become a founding father of Irish landscape painting. The panel painting is built into the overmantel, a picture that refers to Henry’s grandfather the military commander. It is a landscape of Drogheda, with, as the website describes: “its Cromwell-bombarded, medieval walls, gabled houses, (Dutch billies), numerous towers, gates, church spires, monastery gardens and a famous double barbican.”
Henry’s son William Tichborne was knighted in 1661 and sat in the Irish Parliament for the borough of Swords, 1661-1666. He was attainted by the Irish Parliament of King James II but was not dispossessed of his estates. He was M.P. for County Louth from 1692 until he died in 1693. He was married to Judith, daughter and co-heiress of John Bysse, Chief Baron of the Exchequer in Ireland. 
William’s son Henry also sat in the Irish House of Parliament, representing Ardee and later, County Louth. He also served as Mayor of Drogheda. He was High Sheriff of County Louth and of County Armagh in 1708. He was raised to the Irish peerage as Baron Ferrard of Beaulieu soon after the accession of George I, for promoting the cause of William III in Ireland. He was also Governor of Drogheda. It was probably Henry Baron Ferrard who started work creating the house as we see it today. It was originally thought that the house was begun in William Tichbourne’s time, but due to a letter found by Dr. Edward McPartland in the Molesworth papers in the National Library of Ireland between the then Lord Molesworth and the 1st Lord Ferrard of Beaulieu, it suggests that the building work was carried out between 1710-1720. 
The front hall is described in Sean O’Reilly’s Irish Houses and Gardens. From the Archives of Country Life:
“In the entrance hall the magnificence impresses itself on the visitor through architectural effect – the grandeur of the way it rises through two storeys, with the upper levels glazed, most unusually, on inner and outer walls. The internal windows, like those outside with sashes postdating the original construction, allow light to pass between the corridor and hall… the hall is interesting especially for its suggestion of the mixture of traditional or medieval and new Renaissance lifestyles. It is backward looking in the conception of a hall as public living room, a function it continues to serve today as it takes up such a huge proportion of the building… Yet the hall also looks ahead to the Renaissance in its classical articulation and enforced symmetry, all symbolising the power of intellectual discipline.” 
The guide told us that the front hall was actually the courtyard originally, and the front door of the house was the middle door at the back of the hall. There are even windows on the upper level of the hall, which were originally the front windows of the house, and they are part of the corridors upstairs and overlook the hall – see pictures on the website. None of my reference sources however state that this is the case, and the front hall was certainly built in the time of Henry Tichborne, Lord Ferrard.
There are more wooden carvings over two other doors in the Hall. One shows the coat of arms of Ferrard of Beaulieu, who commissioned the three carvings, and the other features musical instruments. The hall was probably used as a place for musical recitals and performances. The lovely plasterwork and panelling is original.
The coats of arms include that of William Tichbourne impaling those of his wife, Judith Bysse. More coats of arms embellish the fireplace.
Henry Tichbourne Lord Ferrard wrote in a letter about his relief at finishing the current work on his house. He is proud of the staircase, which was probably delivered by boat, and assembled in Beaulieu, in 1723. The staircase has three flights, with carved balusters and the newels in the form of fluted Corinthian columns. As well as the staircase, it is said that the bricks were brought up the Boyne as ballast in boats, perhaps from Holland.
The wainscoted drawing room contains another work by Willem Van der Hagen, a magnificent trompe-l’oeil painting on the ceiling in a large plaster compartmental panel frame, with garlands of foliage and flowers. It pictures goddess Aurora descending in a chariot to her garden bower from the heavens .
Most of the other reception rooms also have wood panelling. A fine Italian marble fireplace adorns one of the reception rooms, with a classical carving of Neptune being drawn in a conch shell.
Van der Haagen also designed the gardens, including the terracing and the walled garden.  William Aston employed men to create two lakes on the property, in order to provide work in times of scarcity. There is a painting of him in the front hall, pointing toward the lakes.
Lord Ferrard’s sons predeceased him – the eldest was drowned when crossing to England in 1709. The estate therefore passed to Henry Tichbourne’s daughter, Salisbury Tichbourne, and her husband William Aston. 
I was fascinated to see the crest with the arm carrying a broken sword, on the chairs in the front hall. I thought it was the crest for the family in Clonalis. On further questioning, the guide told us that it refers to a joust undertaken by King Henry II of France. In 1559 King Henry II wanted to joust against the best jouster of his court. The courtier, Gabriel Montgomery, did not want to joust against King Henry for fear of winning, but Henry promised that no retribution would be taken. The jouster however killed Henry, breaking his jousting stick – which can be seen in the crest. The jouster fled, as despite the king’s assurances for his safety, the jouster could not trust that the king’s widow, Catherine de Medici, would not seek revenge! The broken lance forms part of the Montgomery crest.
Salisbury and William had a son, Tichborne Aston, who was an M.P. for Ardee. In 1746, he married Jane Rowan, daughter of William Rowan. They had a son and a daughter and the property passed down through the generations to its current owners. 
I loved that from upstairs you can look over the railing onto the front hall. We saw a bedroom which can be hired out for b&b, which sounds like a treat!
The Beaulieu website describes the gardens:
“Four acres of walled garden and grassy terraces surrounding Beaulieu have remained largely original to their early design. Lime trees form an avenue along the short, straight drive and picturesque lakes complete the vista at the front of the house. Family letters [those of Sir Henry, Baron Ferrard] describing the walled garden from this period, tell us that fruits such as figs and nectarines were being grown and also describe crops of flax, hops and bear.”
At the entrance to the walled garden is a lovely building with classic pillared portico that has been recently renovated:
Inside the attached garden shed is a fern-decked well:
The walled garden is absolutely splendid:
A chapel on the grounds is St. Brigid’s of Beaulieu. According to our guide, it was originally built in 1413 by William Plunkett, a pre-Reformation bishop, and his crypt is inside. Sadlier and Dickinson’s Georgian Mansions of Ireland in fact tells us that John Plunkett of “Bewly” and his wife Alicia founded a church within their manor as far back as the close of the thirteenth century, in the reign of Edward II! The latest version was built in 1807. It contains also a “cadaver stone” the guide told us, which was found in the mud flats of the river, which has a carved skeleton on it. According to Casey and Rowan, it is one of the earliest representations of cadaver figures in Irish medieval sculpture. It displays a female in an advanced state of decomposition, with a lurid range of reptilian life. Worms, toads, newts and lizards slide in and around the shroud. 
But instead of with death I leave you with life, of growth in the wonderful polytunnel.
 p. 154-155. Casey, Christine and Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North Leinster. The Counties of Longford, Louth, Meath and Westmeath. Penguin Books, London, 1993.
 Mark Bence-Jones. A Guide to Irish Country Houses.(originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988 Constable and Company Ltd, London.
 p. 17-20. Sadlier, Thomas U. and Page L. Dickinson, Georgian Mansions in Ireland. Printed for the authors at the Dublin University Press, by Ponsonby and Gibbs, 1915.
“Though the Plunketts were deeply involved in the upheavals of the 1640s and 1689- 91, they survived with their lands intact. During the rebellion of 1641, the 6th Baron Louth, Oliver Plunkett, together with several other Catholic Old English lords of the Pale, formed an alliance with Irish rebel leaders from Ulster. The Catholic gentry of Louth appointed Lord Louth as colonel-general of the royalist forces to be raised in the county, though he declined the position. He was taken prisoner in 1642 and outlawed for high treason. Under the Cromwellian land settlement, his lands were forfeited. When Charles II returned to the throne in 1660, most of these lands were restored to Lord Louth and to his son Matthew.”
Also this site tells us of the earlier Plunketts at Beaulieu:
“The Plunkett family of Tallanstown, county Louth was descended from Sir Hugh de Plunkett, an Anglo-Norman who came to Ireland during the reign of Henry II. From then on the family owned lands in Louth. From the fourteenth century they lived at Bewley (Beaulieu) near Drogheda, and a branch of the family was associated with Tallanstown by the late fifteenth century. Early in the fourteenth century, John Plunkett of Bewley, a direct descendent of Sir Hugh, had two sons. One of these, Richard Plunkett, was the ancestor of two titled landowning families; the Earls of Fingall and the Barons of Dunsany, of Dunsany Castle, county Meath – Christopher Plunkett was created Lord Dunsany in 1461. The other son, John Plunkett of Bewley, was the ancestor of the Lords Louth. Of John Plunkett’s direct descendants, his grandson, Walter Plunkett of Bewley, was Sheriff of county Louth in 1401, a position later held by Sir John Plunkett of Bewley, Kilsaran and Tallanstown, who died in 1508. “
 https://beaulieuhouse.ie/a-short-history-of-beaulieu/ and also see the article in Country Life, October 28, 2015. https://beaulieuhouse.ie/cms/wp-content/uploads/Country-Life-OCT-28-BEAULIEU.pdf
 Mark Bence-Jones. A Guide to Irish Country Houses.(originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988 Constable and Company Ltd, London.
 see Sadlier, Thomas U. and Page L. Dickinson, Georgian Mansions in Ireland. Printed for the authors at the Dublin University Press, by Ponsonby and Gibbs, 1915. See also Great Irish Houses, edited by Amanda Cochrane, published by Image Publications, London, 2008. The text of this book is by many authors, and individual entries are not credited. Text is by Desmond Fitzgerald, Desmond Guinness, Kevin Kelly, Amanda Cochrane, Ben Webb, William Laffan, Deirdre Conroy, Kate O’Dowd, Elizabeth Mayes and Richard Power.
 The best piece I have read about the Catholic Confederacy of the 1640s is by Micheál Siochrú, Confederate Ireland 1642–1649 A constitutional and political analysis. Four Courts Press, 1998.
 p. 81. Montgomery Massingberd, Hugh and Christopher Simon Sykes. Great Houses of Ireland. Laurence King Publishing, London, 1999.
 p. 17-20. Sadlier, Thomas U. and Page L. Dickinson, Georgian Mansions in Ireland. Printed for the authors at the Dublin University Press, by Ponsonby and Gibbs, 1915.
 p. 85. Montgomery Massingberd, Hugh and Christopher Simon Sykes. Great Houses of Ireland. Laurence King Publishing, London, 1999.
 p. 130. O’Reilly, Sean. Irish Houses and Gardens. From the Archives of Country Life. Aurum Press Ltd, London, 1998.
 p. 86. Great Irish Houses. Forewards by Desmond FitgGerald, Desmond Guinness. IMAGE Publications, 2008.
 p. 17-20. Sadlier, Thomas U. and Page L. Dickinson, Georgian Mansions in Ireland. Printed for the authors at the Dublin University Press, by Ponsonby and Gibbs, 1915. According to The Peerage website, Salisbury was the granddaughter of Henry Tichbourne: her father Robert Charles Tichbourne was the son of Lord Ferrard but he predeceased his father so the property passed to his son-in-law William Aston who had married Salisbury Tichbourne. This genealogy makes sense as it accounts for Salisbury’s unusual name, as Robert Charles Tichbourne married Hester Salisbury.
 Henry Tichborne, married Jane, daughter of Sir Robert Newcomen of Kenagh, County Longford. They had five sons and three daughters: Sir William Tichborne, the second but eldest surviving son, married Judith Bysse, daughter of John Bysse, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, by whom he was the father of Henry, first and last Baron Ferrard. Henry Baron Ferrard married Arabella Cotton. She was the daughter of Sir Robert Cotton, 1st Baronet of Combermere, in Cheshire. They had four sons (William, Cotton, Robert & Henry), all of whom died before their father leaving no male issue, so that at his death in 1731 his titles became extinct.
The son Robert Charles married Hester Salisbury and their only surviving daughter, Salisbury Tichborne, married William Aston, MP for Dunleer. They had a son, Tichborne Aston (1716-1748), who was an M.P. for Ardee. In 1746, he married Jane Rowan, daughter of William Rowan. Tichborne and Jane Aston had a son, William (1747-1769), and a daughter, Sophia.
According to Great Mansions of Ireland, while William Aston owned Beaulieu, the house had Lord Chief Justice Singleton as a tenant. This Chief Justice was a friend of the Lord Lieutenant, the four Earl of Chesterfield, which may explain why it is sometimes said that Lord Chesterfield himself occupied Beaulieu. In D’Alton’s History of Drogheda, a poet and bricklayer, Henry Jones, is said to have been born in Beaulieu. He was also a friend of the Earl of Chesterfield, and of Aston.
Sophia Aston married Thomas Tipping of Bellurgan, County Louth, who was M.P. for the borough of Kilbeggan. Her brother William died and Beaulieu passed to her. Their daughter Sophia-Mabella Tipping, married Rev Robert Montgomery, Rector of Monaghan, and the house passed to them.
Rev Robert Montgomery and Sophia-Mabella had sons Rev. Alexander and (Captain)Thomas Montgomery.
Reverend Alexander Montgomery married Margaret Johnson, and they had a son Richard Thomas Montgomery (1813-1890). According to his grave, Alexander Montgomery took on his wife’s name and became Alexander Johnson. The son, Richard Thomas, married Frances Barbara Smith.
Their son Richard Johnson Montgomery (1855-1939) Maud Helenda Collingwood Robinson of Rokeby Hall.
Richard Johnston Montgomery’s daughter Sidney married Nesbit Waddington. They were parents of Gabriel and Penderell.
Gabriel Waddington married, and was mother of Cara, the current owner.
 p. 156. Casey, Christine and Alistair Rowan, The Buildings of Ireland: North Leinster. The Counties of Longford, Louth, Meath and Westmeath. Penguin Books, London, 1993. You can see a picture of the stone at http://irishheraldry.blogspot.com/2014/09/heraldry-and-inscriptions-at-st-brigids.html
contact: Thomas Somerville. t: +353 28 36126, 083-8574589
Listed open dates in 2021: May 1-20, Aug 14-22, Sept 13-23, Oct 1-20, 11am -3pm
Fee: adult €10, OAP /student/child €6, children under €6 free
Edith Somerville, of Somerville and Ross Some Experiences of an Irish RM fame (which has been made into a television series), said “If I am ever allowed to return to earth it will be to Drishane that I shall come,” and I can see why. The estate is situated with a magnificent view over the Atlantic ocean.
Edith’s ancestor Reverend William Somerville fled persecution in Scotland in the 1690s and moved to Ireland.  He was an Episcopalian Minister who feared for his life following the disestablishment of the Church of Scotland in 1690. The Drishane House website tells us that Reverend William rowed his family twenty miles across rough water to Ulster, where they found refuge with family connections.
The Reverend’s younger son, Thomas, attended Trinity College Dublin and was ordained in the Church of Ireland. He married Anne Neville, of Furnace, County Kildare, a prosperous and well-connected family. Thomas obtained the position of Rector of Castlehaven and the family moved to Cork. He set up house in the old O’Driscoll castle next to the church at Castlehaven Strand. Both are now ruins. His portrait, his stick and his 1685 edition of Bedel’s Irish Bible remain in the possession of his descendants.
Three of Reverend Thomas’s sons moved to America and prospered. The eldest son hoped to follow in his father’s footsteps as a clergyman but lost an eye in university, so instead became a successful shipping merchant. He’d send butter and salted provisions to the West Indies and bring back rum, sugar and timber.  He built his house at Drishane, on the edge of the village of Castletownshend, where he had a view of his ships in Castlehaven Bay. Among items he imported from the West Indies was the mahogany which was used to make the doors of the reception rooms in Drishane.
He married Mary Townsend, daughter of Captain Philip Townsend who lived in Derry, County Cork, great-granddaughter of Richard Townsend who was an officer in Cromwell’s army and who built the castle at nearby Castletownshend (it was only in 1860 that the family changed the spelling of their name from Townsend to Townshend ).
Drishane house is two storeys, six bays across, with a fanlighted doorway. This tripartite limestone doorcase, with Tuscan demi-columns, now serves as a garden entrance doorway. The newer entrance doorway, built in 1820, is on the more sheltered two bay end of the house, which is prolonged by a lower two storey wing. The house is covered with purple Benduff weather-slating.
Stephen and I visited the house during Heritage Week in 2020. The current owner, another Thomas Somerville, welcomed us, and introduced us to his two sons, who gave us the tour of the house and the museum in the outbuilding which used to be Edith Somerville’s painting and writing studio. As there was already someone on a house tour, we visited the museum first.
Edith Oenone Somerville (1858-1949) was given her unusual middle name because she was born in Corfu where her father was serving in the British military. She met her cousin Violet Martin (1862-1915) when they were both in their twenties, when Violet paid a visit to Drishane. They were both great-granddaughters of Lord Chief Justice Charles Kendal Bushe. Edith painted a portrait of Violet in 1886 during this visit, and the painting is now in the National Portrait Gallery in London. She painted the portrait in her studio, which at the time was inside the house – it was only later that she moved to the outbuilding. The chair in the painting is still in the studio. Violet’s first holiday at Drishane was a long one, as it was only after a month that Edith began her portrait. Violet brought the portrait with her back to Dublin when she left Drishane ten months later.
Violet’s family lived in County Galway in a three storey house called Ross House (now called Ross Castle). She was the youngest of eleven daughters. Her family had fallen into debt in the time of the Great Famine, due to the help they had given their tenants, and when her father died when she was just ten years old, her brother inherited the house and decided to let it out.
She moved with her mother to Dublin and was educated at Alexandra College, where Edith also studied but as she was four years older than Violet, where they never met. Violet would have felt like a poor relation when she visited her cousins in Cork, but she was warmed by the generous welcome. Edith was surrounded by cousins: the Townshends and the Coghills lived nearby, and at first the quiet Violet must have been overwhelmed with the sociability of the house.
Violet had begun writing when she was in school and hoped to make a living by journalism. Edith studied art in London, Dusseldorf and Paris, and sold some paintings and drawings in order to finance her own art training and hoped to make a living in graphic art. When they first collaborated, Violet wrote the text which Edith illustrated, but soon they were writing the novels together. They did not want to publish under their own names, so chose “Somerville and Ross,” Violet taking the name of her home.
Violet, a sister and her mother moved back to Ross House in 1888, and Violet set about trying to restore the house and gardens to their former glory. At the end of 1888, Violet and Edith received news that their first book, An Irish Cousin, was to be published. At first they had to correct proofs separately, until Edith visited Violet at Ross House. It is believed by the current owners of Ross Castle that the ladies worked on the book under the Venetian window on the first-floor landing, which now has a table and chair set up with some of their books. One can stay in the house: either whole house rental, or self-catering in cottages which are converted stables, carriage house and servants’ quarters. Drishane House is also available for whole house rental and also has holiday cottages). 
The Museum contains copies of some of Edith’s paintings, as well as letters, drawings and photographs relating to her life. I was excited to see correspondence and music by the composer Ethel Smyth, who was a good friend of Edith and also of Virginia Woolf. Like Ethel and Virginia, Edith was also a feminist. Edith wrote: “It will be acknowledged that sport, Lawn Tennis, Bicycling, and Hunting played quite as large a part as education in the emancipation that has culminated in the Representation of the People Bill. The playing fields of Eton did not as surely win Waterloo as the hunting-fields and tennis grounds of the kingdom won the vote for women.” [quoted in the introduction by Gifford Lewis, 1999, of Somerville and Ross’s The Real Charlotte]. Edith was an enthusiast for hunting and became Master of her local hunt. She also became President of the Munster Women’s Franchise League. 
After Violet died, Edith wrote a further fourteen books, all published under their joint names. Edith felt that Violet continued to help to write the books after her death. Edith took to a sort of “automatic writing” to include Violet’s input. Examples of this are in the museum. Edith claimed that stormy weather made it more difficult for her to tune into Violet’s messages. 
There was another museum in Drishane before Edith’s studio, a collection of Indian items which Edith and her brother Jack called “Aunt Fanny’s Museum.” There is also another item which I forgot to ask about when visiting. Mark Bence-Jones tells the story of its origins:
Drishane’s most famous possession, the Fairy Shoe, was sent away to the bank for safe keeping and bad luck followed, it was wisely decided to bring the Shoe back and it has remained in the house ever since. The Shoe, which came to the Somervilles from the Coghills, was picked up on an Irish mountain early in the nineteenth century; it is exactly like the shoes worn by adults at that time and shows signs of wear, but it is only about two inches long. 
Thomas the merchant’s son, also named Thomas (born about 1765), inherited Drishane from his father. Unfortunately he “was foolish enough to back a bill,” according to Mark Bence-Jones in Life in an Irish Country House, meaning he must have acted as guarantor for someone who was not able to pay their debt, and subsequently when Thomas died in 1811, the bailiffs came and stripped the house of its contents.  Thomas’s wife, Elizabeth Henrietta Becher Townsend, was in bed giving birth to their tenth child. According to the story, the children brought everything they could carry to their mother’s bedroom to hide it, as there was a law forbidding bailiffs from entering the room of the lady of the house.
When we entered the house with young Hal, Tom Somerville’s son who was giving us the tour, he pointed out that there is no chandelier in the dining room, as it was taken by the bailiff, way back in 1811!
We entered through the garden door with the fanlight directly into what is now the library but was originally the entrance hall. It interlinks the staircase hall with its grand sweeping staircase and lovely striped wallpaper, dining room and drawing room. In the dining room we saw a portrait of Edith’s brother Cameron, along with other portraits. Hal also pointed out to us where Edith had scratched her initials into the glass of the dining room, “EOES.” Swags above the tall curtained windows date to the 1820s.
David Hicks tells us more about Drishane from Edith’s time in his book Irish Country Houses, Portraits and Painters:
Drishane in the 19th century could not be described as homely: it was said to be cold, damp and infested with rats, which is in total contrast to the condition of the house today. When poison was put down to fend off unwanted visitors, they usually died under the floorboards. The resulting decomposition meant sometimes the drawing room could not be used for an extended period, such as in 1878, due to the smell. The drawing room also contained a large white marble fireplace that was brought from Italy by Edith’s great-grandfather. However, over the years it became the final resting place for a number of rodents and was christened the “Mouse-oleum.” This fireplace often had to be taken out for the dead mice to be removed and it became damaged. Edith’s brother Cameron was stationed in China from 1885 to 1889 and when he returned to Drishane he brought back a black marble fireplace complete with carved dragons and Chinese symbols, together with the Somerville crest and motto. This exotic-looking fireplace was installed in the drawing room to replace its damaged predecessor. 
Having read Hicks’s description I was excited to see the Chinese fireplace. It is indeed very unusual.
The oldest of the children who had hidden things in their mother’s bedroom was another Thomas (1798-1882). Mark Bence-Jones tells a lovely story about him. He was very in love with his wife, Harriet Townsend, who was a cousin who had lived up the road in Castle Townshend.  Bence-Jones writes:
after her death [he] would sit up for hours by his bedroom fire thinking of Harriet and grieving for her and looking for consolation in his Bible by the light of a candle in her own special candlestick. He would burn two candles every night which Mrs Kerr, the housekeeper, would leave out for him. Then he started to complain, night after night, that he could not find the second candle. Mrs Kerr told his granddaughter Edith what she believed had happened. “My dear child, the candle was there! For I always put it on the table myself! It was Herself that took it, the way your Grandpapa should go to his bed and not be sitting there all night, breaking his heart.” 
This Thomas inherited Drishane and died in 1882, when the estate passed to his son, another Thomas. This Thomas (1824-1898) married Adelaide Eliza Coghill, and was the father of Edith, along with six other children who survived to adulthood.
Mark Bence-Jones tells us another good story, this one taken from Somerville and Ross’s book Wheel Tracks, which was published in London in 1923:
Tom Somerville [Edith’s father] was a magistrate and when the police brought cases to be summarily dealt with by him, he would swear the deponents on the Bradshaw’s Railway Guide as though it were a bible, partly through laziness [it lay on a nearby table] and partly from ‘a certain impishness of character and a love of playing on ignorance.’ 
Edith had suitors, but her mother sent them packing. In any case, Edith seems to have cherished her freedom, taking full advantage of her time to paint, hunt, travel and socialise. When her mother died, she took over the management of the household for her father. When her father died, her brother Cameron inherited the estate, but he, like his brothers, served in the military, and he was mostly stationed abroad, so Edith continued to run the household.
Another brother, Aylmer, and his wife, lived with Edith for a time, and helped to manage the farm which was part of the estate, and her only sister Hildegarde married their cousin Egerton Coghill, 5th Baronet Coghill, and settled nearby at Glen Barrahane house in Castletownshend [this no longer exists]. Egerton was also an artist and when he died Edith and Hildegarde commissioned Harry Clarke to create a stained glass window in their local Church of Ireland, St. Barrahane’s. The window depicts St. Luke, the Patron Saint of Painters. To the left of St. Luke’s shoulder is a depiction of St. Cecelia playing the organ, which is a tribute to Edith, as she played the organ in the church for seventy years. 
Among her many cousins was Charlotte Townsend, the wife of George Bernard Shaw, which visited Drishane.
Violet moved to Drishane to live with Edith permanently in 1906. In the 1901 and 1911 censuses Edith signed herself as Head of Household, and in 1911 listed her occupation as “artist, author and dairy farmer” and Violet as “author.”
Edith struggled to have enough money for the upkeep of the house. She and Violet hoped to earn money from their publications but they sold the work before they became bestsellers. Desmond’s wife describes the shabbiness of the house, and yet traditions were upheld and up until the second world war, everyone “dressed for dinner.”  In the summer Edith would locate to a smaller house in the town and let out Drishane to earn some extra money.
Edith’s brother Boyle lived in a house nearby, called Point House. Boyle had been an admiral in the Navy, and if someone was interested in joining the Navy, they’d go to speak to Boyle. Unfortunately, the IRA saw this as recruitment for the British Army. Tom Somerville who now lives in Drishane tells the story in Jane O’Hea O’Keeffe’s book:
“Below the village at Point House, overlooking the water, lived my great-great-uncle Boyle Somerville. He was a retired admiral, and local boys who were interested in joining the Royal Navy used to go to him to ask for a chit to say he knew them and that they were fit persons to join the navy. If that was what they wanted to do, he cheerfully signed the chit for them. This was interpreted by the IRA as recruiting, so on the night of 24 March 1936 they came to the front door of Point House. The admiral picked up the oil lamp from the table and went to answer their knock. They enquired, through the glass porch, if he was Mr Somerville. He answered, “I am Admiral Somerville,” whereupon they shot him through the glass, and killed him.”
Tom continues: “of all the Somervilles, Boyle was the most nationalist. He took a great interest in the Irish language and had always been very pro-Home Rule. He made a study of all the local archaeological sites and is written up by Jack Roberts in his book Exploring West Cork. He was a remarkable man and perhaps the most talented and interesting of all the Somervilles of that generation, besides his sister Edith.” 
Cameron never married and when he died in 1942 the property passed to his nephew Desmond, the son of his brother Aylmer who had predeceased him. Desmond also served in the British Army.
Desmond and his wife Moira Burke Roche invited Edith to remain at Drishane. A memoir by Moira [Moira Somerville’s Edith OE Somerville. An Intimate Recollection. Typescript in Edith Oenone Somerville Archive] describes her first visit to Drishane, as Desmond’s fiancée, and her memory of Edith: “presiding over the tea things in the hall, her little dogs on her lap, the light of the oil lamp on her thistledown hair, her china-blue eyes, so like a child’s, fixed on my face. From that moment I loved her.” 
Violet had died just two years before this visit, in 1915. She and Edith had gone on a holiday to Kerry. David Hicks describes Violet’s last days:
Violet began to feel unwell and when her condition worsened she was transferred to the Glen Vera Hospital in Cork. Each day Edith sat by her bedside and wrote to her brother, Cameron. In one letter she wrote, “No one but she and I know what we were to each other.” She sketched her friend as she lay in her hospital bed for the final time before Violet died in Dec 1915. Edith wrote only one sentence in her diary that day: “Only goodnight, Beloved, not farewell.” 
Edith lived in the house until she was finally unable to climb the stairs. She then moved to a small house nearby in the town, Tally-Ho, to live with her sister. She died three years later, in 1949. When Desmond died in 1976, Drishane passed to his son Christopher (Dan) Somerville. In Jane O’Hea O’Keeffe’s book, Dan explains how he obtained the display cases for the museum:
We managed to get display cases which had become obsolete from the Bodleian Library in Oxford. We bought a trailer in England and loaded the cases on and brought them to Drishane. They are lovely cases, late Victorian or Edwardian. We couldn’t get them in the front door when we arrived, so we had to remove a window to install them. 
It is Dan’s son Thomas, and his wife and two sons, who now live in Drishane and who welcomed our visit. The house retains many of the original features and contents and paintings that date from Edith’s time. It also contains memorabilia from overseas and military engagements.
The house is set in eighteen acres of gardens and woodland.
 p. 105. O’Hea O’Keeffe, Jane. Voices from the Great Houses: Cork and Kerry. Mercier Press, Cork, 2013.
 p. 121. Hicks, David. Irish Country Houses, Portraits and Painters. The Collins Press, Cork, 2014.
 p. 84, O’Hea O’Keeffe.
 Keohane, Frank. The Buildings of Ireland: Cork, City and County. Yale University Press, New Haven and London, 2020.
 p. 105. Bence-Jones, Mark. Life in an Irish Country House. Constable, London. 1996.
 from Moira Somerville’s Edith OE Somerville. An Intimate Recollection. Typescript in Edith Oenone Somerville Archive, referred to by Mark Bence-Jones, Life in an Irish Country House. Constable, London. 1996.
 p. 107. Bence-Jones, Mark. Life in an Irish Country House. Constable, London. 1996.
 p. 100. Bence-Jones, Mark. Life in an Irish Country House. Constable, London. 1996.
 p. 122-3, Hicks, David. Irish Country Houses, Portraits and Painters. The Collins Press, Cork, 2014.
 Yes indeed, another Somerville-Townshend marriage. The genealogy goes as follows:
Rev William Somerville (1641-1694) m. Agnes Agnew
Drishane passed to his son, Rev Thomas Somerville (1689-1752), who married Anne Neville
Drishane passed to their son Thomas Somerville (1725-1793), who married Mary Townsend, daughter of Philip Townsend and Elizabeth Hungerford; grand-daughter of Commander Bryan Townsend (1648-1726).
Drishane passed to their son, Thomas Townsend Somerville (1725-1811). He married Elizabeth Henrietta Becher Townsend (1776-1832), daughter of John Townsend (1737-1810) [granddaughter of Richard Townsend and Elizabeth Becher, great-granddaughter of Commander Bryan Townsend (1648-1726)] and Mary Morris.
Drishane passed to the son, Col Thomas Somerville (1798-1882). He married Henrietta Augusta Townshend, daughter of Richard Boyle Townsend (1756-1826), who is great-grandson of Commander Bryan Towsend (1648-1726).
[ie. Richard Boyle Townsend (1756-1826) is son of Richard Townsend (1725-1783) and Elizabeth Fitzgerald, who is son of Richard Townsend (1684-1742) and Elizabeth Becher, who is son of Commander Bryan Townsend (1648-1726).]
Drishane passed to son Lieut Col. Thomas Somerville (1824-1898), who married Adelaide Eliza Coghill.
Drishane passed to their son, (Thomas) Cameron Somerville, the brother of Edith. He died, and Drishane passed via his younger brother Captain Aylmer Coghill Somerville to his son Desmond Somerville.
 p. 100-01. Bence-Jones, Mark. Life in an Irish Country House. Constable, London. 1996.
 p. 102. Bence-Jones, Mark. Life in an Irish Country House. Constable, London. 1996. Stephen and I are fans of Michael Portillo’s travel shows, where he takes trains and follows his Bradshaw’s guide, so I like this detail!
 p. 108. Bence-Jones, Mark. Life in an Irish Country House. Constable, London. 1996.
 p. 113. O’Hea O’Keeffe.
 p. 106. Bence-Jones, Mark. Life in an Irish Country House. Constable, London. 1996.
 p. 130. Hicks, David. Irish Country Houses, Portraits and Painters. The Collins Press, Cork, 2014.
 p. 109. O’Hea O’Keeffe.
Ideally I would like to continue publishing a blog entry every week but I am still catching up on places I have visited, writing and researching and seeking approval from home-owners, and am unable to keep up the pace!
We visited some big houses that are not on the Section 482 revenue list when we were in County Cork last year during Heritage Week, including Doneraile Court and Fota, both open to the public and well worth a visit.  If I run out of places to write about on the section 482 list, I will write about them! But I still have to write about our visit to Cabra Castle, County Cavan, before Christmas last year!  We had a wonderful treat of being upgraded to a bedroom suite in the Castle, the Bridal Suite, no less, with our own rooftop jacuzzi.
The 2021 Revenue list of 482 Properties has not yet been published, and I am not sure when we will be able to visit places again, due to Covid transmissibility. I have already mapped out a year’s worth of visits, all around Ireland, and have even booked to stay in some exciting looking houses, but I don’t know what is going to be open – I have been planning around the 2020 list, assuming opening dates, once places do open, will be similar to last year.
In the meantime I can look at photographs and dream, and work on my own home (I painted the bedroom sage green) and garden (my potatoes are chitting) and research upcoming visits. I’m currently reading Turtle Bunbury’s book about the landowning families in County Kildare, and Mark Bence-Jones’s Life in an Irish Country House, and Somerville and Ross’s The Real Charlotte.
We were privileged to be able to stay in Mark Bence-Jones’s house last year for a wonderful week. 
I will be writing soon about more big houses and in the meantime, I hope you are able to stay safe and healthy and happy in these Covid times.
Contact: Angela Alexander, Tel: 086-0537291
Listed open dates in 2021 but check due to Covid: Jan 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29, May 1-21, 24-28, 31, June 1-3, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm.
Fee: adult €7.50, OAP/ student/child €5
Moyglare House is listed as being in County Meath under section 482 but the postal address is County Kildare – it lies on the border, just outside the town of Maynooth. The house has a long avenue approach, between trees and fields.
Having been a hotel called Moyglare Manor in the 1970s-90s which boasted high profile guests such as Hilary Clinton and Robert Redford, the house is once again a home, restored by Dr. Angela Alexander, the foremost academic on Dublin cabinet makers from the Irish Regency period, and her husband Malcolm.  The construction of the house may have begun as early as the 1750s but was not completed until twenty years or so later.
It is three storeys over a basement and two rooms deep. The entrance front has five bays, with two flanking curtain walls, and the garden front has six bays. It has wings which were added at a later date. The front central three bays form a bow rising the full height of the house. The one-story balustraded portico containing the front door was added in 1990. The doorcase has Ionic columns, which Christine Casey and Alastair Rowan tell us in their book on North Leinster, are “taken exactly from William Pain’s Builder’s Companion (first published in 1758).”  The original doorcase with its fanlight, mirrored in the outer doorcase, is inside the portico. The finishing of the new door and windows matches the original limestone doorframe and protects it from the elements. There is a window on either side of the front door in the porch.
The sloped roof is partly concealed by the parapet. The corners have raised limestone quoins. When it was converted into a hotel it was enlarged on the west side.
Construction began sometime after 1737 when the land was acquired by John Arabin (1703-1757), son of a French Huguenot who fled France when his land was seized after King Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes in 1685.  The Edict of Nantes, of 1598, signed by King Henry IV of France, granted rights to the French Protestants to practise their religion without persecution from the state. When revoked by the Edict of Fontainebleau, Louis XIV’s dragoons destroyed Protestant schools and churches and the Huguenots were forced to convert or flee. John’s father, Bartelemy, or Bartholomew, joined the army of William III and fought in Ireland in the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, as did another Huguenot, Jean Trapaud, whose property in France was also seized. Bartholomew and Jean both settled in Ireland, and Bartholomew was closely connected to the Huguenot community in Portarlington. He died in 1713. 
The area in Dublin where I live was also a Huguenot area. In Dublin they brought their skills in weaving and cloth-making, which brought prosperity and recognition to the Liberties of Dublin. They brought their business acumen also.
Bartholomew’s son John Arabin also served in the military. He married Jeanne Marie Bertin, also of French background: her father was a wealthy merchant from Aquitaine who settled in County Meath. John was made Captain-Lieutenant of the 1st Carabiniers in Ireland in 1733, and became a Freemason, serving as Treasurer. Soon after becoming Treasurer of the Irish Grand Lodge he purchased land at Moyglare.
John’s sister Elizabeth married a cousin, John Adlercron Trapaud, son of Jean Trapaud. John Adlercron purchased some of the Moyglare land from John Arabin in 1737. 
In 1745 John Arabin was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of the 8th Dragoons. They were deployed to Scotland as part of the response to the Jacobite rising in 1745 when James II’s grandson tried to regain the British throne.
The Historic Houses of Ireland website tells us that:
“The colonel also had a successful army career with the 8th Dragoons. He took part in the capture of Carlisle and the relief of Blair Castle during the Jacobite rebellion, and subsequently commanded his regiment in Gibraltar, after England declared war on France in 1756. He died there the following year when his fellow officers erected a monument in the King’s Chapel.” [see 3]
The King’s Chapel is in Gibraltar.
Colonel Arabin’s son John (1727-1757) followed him into the army. He died before his father, so it was the Colonel’s grandson Henry (1752-1841) who was Colonel Arabin’s heir.
Both the Arabins and the Adlercron Trapauds owned land at Moyglare.
Turtle Bunbury writes that “Henry [Arabin] was living at Moyglare, the Adlercron home, at the time of his marriage.” [my italics] In 1781 he married Anne Faviere Grant, who was from a Scottish based Huguenot family, but was brought up in Dublin.
In 1756 Colonel John Arabin’s daughter Elizabeth, Henry’s aunt, married Lt-Col Daniel Chenevix (1731-1776), of the family who owned the Corkagh Gunpowder Mills near Clondalkin in Dublin. The Chenevix family was also of French Huguenot extraction, and Daniel’s grandfather Colonel Philip Chenevix also fought in the Battle of the Boyne on William III’s side. Colonel Philip Chenevix married the French Susannah Grueber whose brother Nicholas Grueber (also the son of a French Huguenot) constructed the Corkagh Gunpowder Mills in 1719.
Henry Arabin became a lawyer, studying in Trinity College Dublin and Lincoln’s Inn. However, instead of pursuing law, he assumed responsibility for the running of the Corkagh Gunpower Mills. Turtle Bunbury writes that after their marriage in 1781, Henry and Ann Arabin moved to Corkagh, taking over management of the business which had passed through the Huguenot families by marriage. Unfortunately the house at Corkagh no longer exists. We can see how the Huguenots who escaped France to Protestant Holland or England served in the military under William III of Holland, fought in the Battle of the Boyne and then settled in Ireland, and established business and intermarried. In Ireland we tend to regard the fighting between William III and James II at the Battle of the Boyne as a battle over who would sit on the throne in England. For William III, however, it was part of a larger struggle for the domination of Europe and of Holland’s wars against France. The Corkagh Mills supplied gunpowder to the military in which the Huguenot Arabins, Trapauds and Chenevixes had fought. By joining the Dutch army fighting against the Catholic French, the Huguenots supported Holland’s William III in his ousting of James II of Britain, who was supported by Louis XIV and the French. Continuing in the military, John Arabin fought to prevent James II’s grandson “Bonnie Prince Charlie” from taking the British throne. By this time, 1745, George I (son of the British King James I’s granddaughter Sophie) had already reigned as monarch of Britain and died, and his son George II was on the throne.
I learned about the Corkagh Gunpower Mills first when Stephen and I went on a walk with the “Friends of the Camac” last year – we were eager to see more of the Camac River as we are familiar with the part of it which runs through Inchicore and Kilmainham. The River Camac provided the energy for the mills. We learned about the accidental gunpowder explosion which occurred in 1733, which would have been before Henry Arabin’s time. There was another explosion in Arabin’s time, in 1787. 
In the meantime, the Adlercron family lived at Moyglare. The Landed Families website tells us that John Adlercron Trapaud and Elizabeth Arabin’s son John (b. 1782) added Ladaveze to his surname after inheriting property in Europe, and dropped the name ‘Trapaud.’ This John Ladaveze Adlercron (1738-1782) married and had a son, John Ladaveze Adlercron (1782-1852). This son married Dorothea Rothe, daughter of Abraham George Rothe of Kilkenny. They had a son George Rothe Ladaveze Adlercron (1834-1884), who was born at Moyglare.  The Rothe House in the city of Kilkenny is well worth a visit, a house built from 1594-1610, open to the public as a museum. It is unique and there is nothing like it open to the public in Dublin.
John Ladaveze Adlercron and his wife Dorothea travelled extensively. Dorothea kept diaries about their travels, and was interested in art and architecture. They lived in Moyglare and also had a house in Fitzwilliam Square in Dublin. 
Moyglare House was sold around 1840.  It passed through a few owners before Colonel William Tuthill bought it in the 1850s. [see 3]
According to the Landed Estates Database:
The Tuthills of Moyglare, county Kildare, descend from the Reverend Christopher Devonsher Tuthill, fourth son of John Tuthill of Kilmore, county Limerick. Captain William Tuthill of Moyglare owned 286 acres in county Limerick in the 1870s and a further 821 acres in the same county in association with William Bredin.” 
Several generations of Tuthills seem to have lived at Moyglare. By the 1960s, Dr. and Mrs. William George Fegan lived in the house. Dr. Fegan, known as George, was a surgeon, academic and art collector. When he sold Moyglare in the 1970s it was separated from the bulk of the estate, which now houses Moyglare Stud.
The west wing was added and it became a boutique country house hotel. The hotel closed in 2009 and the house stood empty for several years before the Alexanders purchased it. It was full of dry rot, and the beautiful original staircase had to be rescued by insertion of a steel beam.
Angela is an expert in antiques and Malcolm in paintings, and they have an obvious passion for their project. Before they purchased the house they had already collected some paintings, furniture and even a chimneypiece that fit perfectly.
The front hall is high ceilinged and corniced, with a fine plaster frieze with a combination of musical instruments and military trophies, which reflect the military background of its originators. There is a decorative niche between two doors.  Leading off the hall are the library, dining room and drawing room, all tastefully and sensitively renovated and furnished. You can see more photographs on the facebook page for the house, which charts the progress of work in the house and garden.
The Alexanders have renovated the west annex and outbuildings for further B&B accommodation.
We had a great chat about an unusually shaped picture of the Great Exhibition in London, and the Alexanders also have pictures from the Great Exhibitions in Ireland. Angela gave us recommendations for an upholsterer, and she brought us into the private part of their house, the kitchen, which we loved – it’s in the newer part of the house which was built on when it was a hotel. The good taste continues into their private area with more fascinating collectable pieces, including a door I admired with lovely stained glass panels. Chatting with them, we participated in their excitement about the house, a work in progress. I envy them – I would love to have such a project! Visiting and staying in such houses is the next best thing!
 Yvonne Hogan, Irish Independent, June 11, 2009.
 p. 408. Casey, Christine and Alistair Rowan. The Buildings of Ireland: North Leinster. Penguin Books, London, 1993.
 Bunbury, Turtle. ‘CORKAGH – The Life & Times of a South Dublin Demesne 1650-1960’ by Turtle Bunbury, published by South Dublin County Council in May 2018.
The Peerage website claims that George Rothe Ladaveze Adlercron was born in 1834 at Moyglare. www.thepeerage.com
 Byrne, Angela. The European Travels of Dorothea Ladeveze Adlercron (nee Rothe) c. 1827-54. Old Kilkenny Review: Journal of Kilkenny Archaeological Society, vol. 65, 2013.
 According to the Historic Houses of Ireland website, Henry’s son, another Henry Arabin, sold Moyglare in 1842.
Turtle Bunbury writes that it was Henry’s youngest son, John Ladaveze Arabin, who consented to the sale of the estate in 1839, and sold it to his cousin, Henry Morgan Tuite. [Elizabeth Arabin who married Daniel Chenevix had a daughter, Sarah Chenevix, who married Hugh Tuite].
The Landed Families website claims that it was John Ladaveze Adlercron (1872-1947) who sold Moyglare. This places the sale quite a bit later than Bunbury’s date. According to Angela Byrne (see ) the Adlercrons were referred to as “of Moyglare” until the 1880s. This discrepancy can be explained by the fact that there were two houses at Moyglare.
 You can see a photograph of the front hall on the Irish Aesthete’s blog, https://theirishaesthete.com/2016/09/17/restoration-drama-2/
Contact: Barbara Grubb Tel: 086-8186305
Open dates in 2021: May 1 – 8 and 22 – 31; June 1 – 30; July 1 – 10 closed Mondays; Aug 14 – 22. 2pm-6pm. Groups and other times by appointment.
Fee: guided tour of house €10, garden €6, house & garden €15, groups of 10 or more guided tour of house €9, garden €5, house and garden €12, children under 12 free for house and garden.
On Sunday 5th May 2019, Stephen and I attended a day of talks in Dromana House on “Pursuit of the Heiress.” This is an apt topic for Dromana since the property passed down to the current generation via an heiress, Katherine FitzGerald (1660-1725). In fact, you could say that even in this generation the property was passed down through an heiress, or through the female line, as Barbara Grubb is the daughter of James Villiers-Stuart, descendent of the FitzGeralds of the Decies who originally built the house. “The Decies” is the county of Waterford west of the River Mahon.
We didn’t have a tour of the house on the day of the conference, so we returned during Heritage Week in 2020.
Parts of the house date back to the 1400s, and fortifications on the grounds date back even further. Its situation perched above the Blackwater River gives it stunning views.
The house was once larger and grander than what we see today. Unfortunately, part of the house was demolished in the 1960s as upkeep and rates were too expensive (it shares the fate of Lisnavagh in County Carlow and Killruddery in County Wicklow). It retains part of the older elements, however, and remains a relatively large, comfortable home. The garden is impressive and the sun brought out its beauty – we were lucky with the weather.
The lectures in 2019 took place in what used to be the old kitchen. On my way in, I admired the cloakroom hallway with its old floor tiles, long mirror and row of hooks for hats and coats. I learned the following year that this mirror used to be in the Ballroom, which has been demolished. The mirror now lies on its side but originally stood vertically, so the room would have been an impressive height.
History of Dromana and the Fitzgeralds
First, a little background about the house. From the website:
“Dromana House is a true gem, perched on a rocky outcrop overlooking the strikingly beautiful, unspoilt river Blackwater. It is surrounded by a 600 acre privately owned estate with numerous woodland and garden walks. Several interesting historic follies are also to be seen throughout the grounds including an ancient outer fortification, boathouse and slipway down to the river. This period property has been lovingly maintained by its owners whose family have lived on this location since 1200, the present owner being the 26th generation.” 
From the 13thcentury onwards the property was the seat of the FitzGeralds, Lords of the Decies, a junior branch of the Earls of Desmond. Information boards in the old kitchen, created with the help of University College Cork, describe the history of the estate. In 1215 King John of England granted a charter to the Norman knight Thomas fitz Anthony, giving him custody of the present-day counties of Waterford and Cork. Through the marriage of his daughter the estates came into the possession of the FitzGeralds – the first instance of the property passing through the female line. The earliest fortifications of Dromana date from this period.
The title of Lord the Decies split from the Earl of Desmond title when James FitzGerald the 6th Earl of Desmond (who died in 1462) granted the land of the Decies to his younger son Sir Gerald Mor FitzGerald, whose descendants have lived in Dromana ever since. The tower-house which forms the core of today’s Dromana was built at this time.
One can see the oldest part of the house from a balcony which overlooks the river, or from the gardens below.
The Earls of Desmonds asserted their claim to the Decies until the Battle of Affane in 1565, in which the Earl of Desmond’s army [that of the 14th Earl of Desmond, I think] was overthrown. In January 1569 Queen Elizabeth granted Sir Maurice FitzGerald of Decies (great-grandson of Gerald Mor FitzGerald) letters patent creating him Baron of Dromana and Viscount Decies. His titles became extinct, however, when he died three years later without a male heir.
Katherine Fitzgerald of the Decies, granddaughter of Gerald Mor FitzGerald, married her cousin Thomas, who in 1529 became the 11th Earl of Desmond (the information panel below says he was the 12th Earl but I think he was the 11th). He died in 1534 but she survived him for 70 years, dying in 1604 at the age of 140 years. She lived as a widow, as the Countess of Desmond, in Inchiquin Castle in East Cork. She died supposedly from falling out of a cherry tree, having allegedly worn out three natural sets of teeth. The current owners have planted a cherry tree in her honour. They have a bookcase supposedly made from the cherry tree from which she fell!
The website states:
“The castle of Dromana was attacked and damaged in the wars of the 1640s and 50s, though its base can still be identified from the river, and indeed is still inhabited. In about 1700, instead of rebuilding the castle, two new ranges were built at right angles to one another along the courtyard walls. Both were simple gable-ended two storey structures, possibly just intended for occasional occupation, their only decoration being a robust, pedimented block-and-start door case in the manner of James Gibbs.” This door was moved when part of the house was demolished and is still the front door.
Julian Walton, one of the speakers at the “Pursuit of the Heiress” conference in 2019, has gained access to the archives at Curraghmore and is eliciting many interesting facts and details. This was great preparation for our visit to Curraghmore House the next day!  He told us of the heiress Katherine FitzGerald.
Descendents of the Fitzgeralds in Dromana
In 1673 the young heiress of Dromana, another Katherine Fitzgerald, was married against her will by her guardian Richard Le Poer, the 6th Baron of Curraghmore, to his son John. She was the only child of Sir John FitzGerald, Lord of Dromana and Decies and heir to Dromana. Her mother was Katherine Le Poer, daughter of John Le Poer 5th Baron of Curraghmore. Her mother’s brother, the 6th Baron of Curraghmore, wanted to unite the Curraghmore and Dromana estates. Both parties were underage – she was 12 and John Le Poer was only eight! Three years later Katherine escaped and married a cavalry officer named Edward Villiers (son of 4th Viscount Grandison). The courts upheld her second marriage and her first husband had to return her estate of Dromana and renounce the title of Viscount Decies. Her second husband’s father was a cousin to Barbara Villiers, mistress to King Charles II, and Barbara intervened on behalf of her cousin. When her second husband’s father, the 4th Viscount Grandison died in 1700, she was granted, in lieu of her now deceased husband, the title of Viscountess Grandison. She lived in Dromana until her death in 1725.
History of the Development of the House, and the Villiers-Stuarts
The son of Edward Villiers and Katherine Fitzgerald, John Villiers, c.1684 – 1766, became the 5th Viscount Grandison, and later, the 1st Earl Grandison. He repaired the house in the 1730s after it was partly destroyed in the political turmoil of the 1600s. Our guide, Barbara, told us that he was an enterprising landlord: in the 1740s he brought weaving from Lurgan, County Armagh, to start the linen industry in the area, and he built the village of Villierstown for the workers. He also planted 52,000 trees.
The 1st Earl of Grandison’s sons predeceased him so the estate passed to his daughter, Elizabeth. She married Alan John Mason, an MP for County Waterford and a merchant, and on her father’s death she was created 1st Countess Grandison and and 1st Viscountess Villiers.  Their son became the 2nd Earl of Grandison and added the surname Villiers to become George Mason-Villiers. In 1780, he added a larger new house in front of the old one, adding an impressive staircase and ballroom. Of his building work, Mark Bence-Jones describes the back of the new block forming a third side of a courtyard with two older ranges, and a low office range forming the fourth side. The Gibbsian doorway was hidden from sight in the courtyard. 
A panel about the architectural evolution of Dromana states: “The second Earl Grandison, George Mason-Villiers, added on a larger new house, commencing in about 1780, directly in front of the longer 1700s range. The principal façade was of two storey and nine bays, quite plain, with a parapet and a rather curious segmental-headed armorial doorcase. The river façade contained a shallow double-height bow and was actually an extension of the smaller 1700s range. Together these three buildings faithfully followed the line of the original bawn or courtyard. There was a spacious hall with a grand staircase, and a large circular ballroom.”
George Mason-Villiers too had only a daughter as an heir: Gertrude Amelia Mason-Villiers (1778-1809). In 1800, she married Lord Henry Stuart (1777-1809), third son of the 1st Marquess of Bute, of the Isle of Bute in Scotland. Henry Stuart’s grandmother was the famous writer Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu, who wrote about her experiences of travelling in Ottoman Istanbul.
Gertrude and Henry were succeeded in 1809 by their son, Henry, when he was just six years old. Henry added “Villiers” to his name in 1822, becoming Villiers-Stuart. The architect Martin Day was hired first in 1822 by trustees of Lady Gertrude – Henry didn’t come of age until 1824. Martin Day came from a family of architects in County Wexford. He designed several Church of Ireland churches for the Board of First Fruits and the Irish Ecclesiastical Commissioners between 1822-1849. In the 1820s, Day worked on the interiors of Dromana. He assisted Daniel Robertson at Johnstown Castle (now open to the public) and Castleboro House in County Wexford in the 1840s, and around the same time did more work for Henry Villiers-Stuart, adding parapets, pediments and mouldings to the windows, and an elaborate surround to the entrance doorway which incorporated the family arms.  He also fitted out a suite of very grand reception rooms and a massive imperial staircase.
Henry served as MP for Waterford 1826-1830 and for Banbury, Oxfordshire, England in 1830-1. He also served as Colonel in the Waterford Militia. He was admitted to the Irish Privy Council in 1837, and was created, in 1839, Baron Stuart de Decies, a title that recalled his long family connection with the region. Henry Villiers-Stuart was Lord-Lieutenant of County Waterford, 1831-74.
The Dromana website tells us that Henry Villiers-Stuart was “a Protestant aristocrat and large landowner with radical views. As a young man he defeated the Waterford establishment in the famous 1826 election to give Daniel O’Connell and the Catholic Emancipation movement their first Member of Parliament.” Daniel O’Connell signed documents in Dromana House, and the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 was drawn up at Dromana.
In 1826 Henry Villiers-Stuart married Theresia Pauline Ott. When they returned from their honeymoon, the tenants of Villierstown constructed an elaborate papier-mache archway gate for them to drive through. Martin Day may have had a hand in the original gateway, and later drew up plans to create a more permanent structure, which Stephen and I visited later in the day.
The Bridge is now on a public road. One used to need a ticket to enter through the gate. When King Edward VII arrived at the gate in a pony and trap, on his way to Lismore, he had no pass, so was turned away! The Gate was restored by the Irish Georgian Society in the 1960s and again by the local city council in 1990.  The “bishop” like structures either side of the top of the central part have been replaced by fibreglass “bishops,” as the original copper ones are too heavy, and one of the originals now sits in the garden of Dromana.
Pauline Ott has been married before, and her husband was thought to have died in the army. However, he later reappeared. Her marriage to Henry Villiers-Stuart was thus rendered invalid, and her children illegitimate. She and Henry had a son, Henry Windsor Villiers-Stuart and a daughter Pauline. Pauline married into the Wheeler-Cuffe family of Lyrath, County Kilkenny (now a hotel). Their son was unable to inherit the title of Baron Stuart of the Decies and the peerage expired with his father’s death in 1874.
Despite becoming illegitimate, the son, Henry Windsor Villiers-Stuart (1827-1895) [the name Windsor came from his father’s maternal family], did very well for himself. He served first in the Austrian then the British Army, then went to university. He was ordained in the Church of England but later resigned Holy Orders in order to pursue a political career. He became MP for County Waterford from 1873-85, Vice Lord-Lieutenant of County Waterford, 1871-73, and High Sheriff of County Waterford in 1889. In 1865 he married Mary, second daughter of the Venerable Ambrose Power, Archdeacon of Lismore. He travelled extensively and wrote books, studied hieroglyphics, and did pioneering work in Egypt. He brought many artefacts back from Egypt, which have since been dispersed.
His eldest son, Henry Charles Windsor Villiers-Stuart (1867-1908), who served as High Sheriff of County Waterford, 1898, espoused, in 1895, Grace Frances, only daughter of John Adam Richard Newman of Dromore, County Cork. Their heir, Ion Henry Fitzgerald Villiers-Stuart (1900-48), wedded, in 1928, Elspeth Richardson, and was succeeded by his only son, James Henry Villiers-Stuart (b. 1928), of Dromana, who married, in 1952, Emily Constance Lanfear and had two daughters, Caroline and Barbara, one of whom was our tour guide and who now lives in the house. 
The website states that: “by the 1960s Dromana had become something of a white elephant. The estate was sold and subdivided, and the house bought by a cousin, Fitzgerald Villiers-Stuart [a grandson of Henry Windsor Villiers-Stuart], who demolished the 1780s block in 1966 and reduced it to more manageable proportions.”
“James Villiers-Stuart was able to repurchase the house in 1995 he and his wife Emily moved into Dromana and began restoring the house and garden. Now a widow, Emily still lives there, along with her daughter and family.”
Back to the Conference
Barbara, heir to the house, and her husband Nicholas, attended the “Pursuit of the Heiress” conference. Nicholas gave us an impromptu lecture of sorts about how forces merged to make the upkeep of the big houses in Ireland almost impossible, with the high rates charged by the government, and the decline of salmon fishing, etc.
We had more lectures after lunch. First up was “The Abduction of Mary Pike,” by Dr. Kieran Groeger, which interested Stephen as she too was a Quaker.  The last lecture was by Dr Dagmar Ó Riain-Raedel, on her research on Irish exiles to the Austrian army.  This was fascinating. I have much to study, to learn the history of the Habsburg empire.
Afterwards we had tea on the lawn, then Nicholas gave us an almost running tour of the garden – we had to be quick to keep up with him as he bound ahead describing the plants. The website states that “the steeply sloping riverbanks are covered with oak woods and the important mid-eighteenth century garden layout, with its follies, the Rock House and the Bastion, is currently being restored.” There are over thirty acres of garden and woodland, including looped walks.
When we visited in 2020, we had more time to explore the garden. We were given a map when we arrived. The current owners are enthusiastic gardeners and do nearly all the work themselves.
We headed down to see the Bastion and Rock House.
Next we went to see the Rock House, further along the path.
It has graffiti that is 150 years old!
In 2015 there were celebrations of the 800th anniversary of the house .
You can see photographs taken inside the house on the Dromana website, where you can also see self-catering accommodation that is available.
 p. 108. Bence-Jones, Mark. A Guide to Irish Country Houses. (originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978); Revised edition 1988, Constable and Company Ltd, London.
contact: Sir Charles Keane
Listed open dates in 2021 (but check due to Covid restrictions): July 20-24, 26-31, Aug 2-7, 9-28, 30, Sept 1-4, 6-11, 13-18, 20-25, 27-30, 9am-1pm
Gardens open all year, 9am-6pm, closed Sundays.
Fee: house/garden €15, garden only €6.
We visited Cappoquin House during Heritage Week in 2020. Cappoquin House was built in 1779 for Sir John Keane (1757-1829), and is still owned by the Keane family. The original house, sometimes known as “Belmont,” the name of the townland, was built on a site of an Elizabethan house built by the Munster planter, Sir Christopher Hatton.  It is most often attributed to a local architect, John Roberts (1712-96).  John Roberts was also architect of Moore Hall in County Mayo (1792 – now a ruin) and Tyrone House in County Galway (1779 – also a ruin).
Glascott Symes points out in his book Sir John Keane and Cappoquin House in time of war and revolution that it is not known who the original architect was, and it may have been Davis Ducart, who also built Kilshannig. 
The house was burnt and destroyed in 1923, because a descendent, John Keane (1873-1956), accepted a nomination to the Senate of the new government of Ireland. Ireland gained its independence from Britain by signing a Treaty, in which independence was given to Ireland at the expense of the six counties of Northern Ireland, which remained a part of Britain. Disagreement about the Treaty and the loss of the six counties led to the Irish Civil War. During this war, Senators’ houses were targeted by anti-Treaty forces since Senators served in the new (“pro-Treaty”) government; thirty-seven houses of Senators were burnt.
Fortunately the Keanes received compensation and engaged Richard Francis Caulfield Orpen (1863-1938) of South Frederick Street, Dublin , brother of painter William Orpen, to rebuild. Any material possible to salvage from the fire was used, and the fine interiors were recreated.  It was at this time that the former back of the house became the front, overlooking a courtyard which is entered through an archway.
The square house has six bays across with a two-bay two-storey breakfront, and the door is in a frontispiece with columns.
The house has a balustraded parapet topped with urns. The garden front, which was originally the front of the house, faces toward the Blackwater River, and has a central breakfront of three bays with round-headed windows and door. The door has cut-limestone surround with flush panelled pilasters and a fanlight. The round-headed flanking windows have fluted keystones and six-over-six timber sashed windows with fanlights.
The porch on one side of the house was built in 1913 by Page L. Dickinson for John Keane, and remains the same after the fire.  The work done by Dickinson inside the house in 1913, including decorative plasterwork, was destroyed.
On the east side of the house is a Conservatory.
When Sir John had the house rebuilt after the fire, he asked Page Dickinson again to be his architect but by this time Dickinson had moved to England, so Keane engaged Dickinson’s former partner, Richard Caulfield Orpen.
The white buildings around the courtyard were not destroyed in the fire and pre-date the rebuilt house. Some probably date from Hatton’s time.
The Keanes are an old Irish family, originally named O’Cahan. The Ulster family lost their lands due to the Ulster Plantation in 1610. In 1690, following the victory of William III at the Battle of the Boyne, George O’Cahan and converted to Protestantism and anglicized his name to Keane. He practiced as a lawyer.  In 1738 his son, John, acquired land in the area of Cappoquin in three 999 years leases from Richard Boyle, the 4th Earl of Cork. The leases included an old Fitzgerald castle. It was this John’s grandson, also named John Keane (1757-1829), who bought out the lease and built Cappoquin House. 
John became MP for Bangor in the Irish parliament from 1791 to 1801 and for Youghal in the British parliament from 1801 to 1818. He was created a baronet, denominated of Belmont and Cappoquin, County Waterford, in 1801 after the Act of Union. The current owner is the 7th Baronet.
John the 1st Baronet’s oldest son, Richard, became the 2nd Baronet (1780-1855). John’s second son, John, served in the British army, and received the title of 1st Baron Keane of Ghuznee in Afghanistan and Cappoquin, Co. Waterford, in 1839. The current owner is a descendent of the elder son, Richard the 2nd Baronet, who also served in the military. He was Lieutenant Colonel of the Waterford Militia.
In 1855 the Keane estate was offered for sale in the Encumbered Estates Court, as the estate was insolvent after tenants could not pay their rents during the Famine. It seems that the 3rd Baronet, however, managed to clear the debt and reclaim the estate.
Sir Charles showed us maps of the property, as drawn up under the Encumbered Estates Act.
The 4th Baronet served as High Sheriff of County Waterford and Deputy Lieutenant of County Waterford.
John Keane the 5th Baronet also served in the British Army, and fought in the Boer War between 1899-1902. In 1904 he was admitted to the Middle Temple to become a Barrister, but he never practiced as a Barrister. Following in his father’s footsteps he too held the office of High Sheriff of County Waterford. He followed politics closely and supported Home Rule for Ireland. He was a kind, thoughtful man and housed refugees during the wars. He fought in World War One, becoming a Lieutenant Colonel. It was this John who became a Senator.
Keane joined Horace Plunkett in the co-operative movement in Ireland, which promoted the organisation of farmers and producers to obtain self-reliance. The idea was that they would process their own products for the market, thus cutting out the middle man. The founders of the co-operative movement embraced new technologies for processing, such as the steam-powered cream separator. Unfortunately this led to a clash with farm labourers who unionised to prevent reduction in their wages when prices fell. Keane refused to negotiate with the Union. Rancour grew between landowners and labourers, which may have encouraged the later burning of Keane’s house. The idealism of the co-operative movement, with the goal of “better farming, better business, better living,” was easier said than done.
Keane kept diaries, which have been studied by Glascott J.R.M. Symes for an MA thesis in Maynooth University’s Historic House Studies. Symes outlines the details about the disagreements.  Horace Plunkett, one of the founders of the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, also became a Senator in Ireland’s first government and his house in South Dublin, Kilteragh, was also destroyed during the Civil War that followed the founding of the state.
Keane knew that his house may become a target and he sent his wife and children to live in London, and packed up principal contents of the house. Seventy six houses were destroyed in the War of Independence in what was to become the Republic of Ireland, but almost two hundred in the Civil War.  Unfortunately the library and some of the art collection at Cappoquin were destroyed. 
We entered the house through a door in the older former servants’ area in order to see the maps. We then passed into the main house, with its impressive entrance hall, with stone floor and frieze of plasterwork.
Beyond this room is the stair hall, with a top-lit cantilevered staircase and beautiful coffered dome. The timber banister terminates in a volute.
From the stair hall we entered the library, which has a dentilled cornice and built-in bookcases and is painted a deep red colour. The most intricate works in rebuilding the interior of the house were the library bookcases and the staircase, which are a tribute to the skills of carpenter James Hackett and Edward Brady, a mason from Cappoquin. [see Symes].
The ceiling plasterwork and columns in the drawing room are by G. Jackson and Sons (established 1780) of London, who also made the decoration in the stair hall. Sir Charles explained to us that it would have been made not freehand but from a mould.
The chimneypiece is similar to one in 52 St. Stephen’s Green, the home of the Office of Public Works. One can tell it is old, Sir Charles told us, by running one’s hand over the top – it is not smooth, as it would be if it were machine-made. According to Symes, three original marble mantelpieces survive from before the fire, and the one in the drawing room was brought from a Dublin house of the Vance family, probably 18 Rutland Square, in the late nineteenth century. Richard Keane, the 4th Baronet, married Adelaide Sidney Vance. The Vance chimneypiece is of Carrara marble with green marble insets and carved panels of the highest quality. Christine Casey has identified the designs as derived from the Borghese vase, a vase now in the Louvre museum, which was sculpted in Athens in the 1st century BC. 
The chimneypieces in the dining room and former drawing room are of carved statuary marble with columns and are inset with Brocatello marble (a fine-grained yellow marble) from Siena.  The dining room has another splendid ceiling. The chimmeypiece in the dining room has a central panel of a wreath and oak leaves with urns above the columns.
We then went out to the conservatory.
After our house tour, we had the gardens to explore. The gardens are open to the public on certain days of the year . They were laid out in the middle of the nineteenth century but there are vestiges of earlier periods in walls, gateways and streams. Sir Charles’s mother expanded the gardens and brought her expertise to the planting.
To the west of the house is an orchard of pears and Bramley apples.
One wends one’s way up the hill across picturesque lawns, the Upper Pleasure Gardens. The paths take one past weeping ash and beeches, a Montezuma pine and rhododendrons.
Our energy was flagging by the end of our walk around the gardens so unfortunately I have no pictures of the sunken garden, which is on the south side of the house, overlooking the view towards Dromana House.
 p. 42, Symes.
 Irish Builder 5th March 1927, 162, https://www.buildingsofireland.ie/buildings-search/building/22810098/cappoquin-house-cappoquin-demesne-cappoquin-co-waterford
 p. 56. Mark Bence-Jones. A Guide to Irish Country Houses (originally published as Burke’s Guide to Country Houses volume 1 Ireland by Burke’s Peerage Ltd. 1978). Revised edition 1988, Constable and Company Ltd, London.