A summary of 2022 and previous years

As 2022 is entering its final dark days, I thought I’d look over our last few years, to see how we are doing on the project of visiting Section 482 properties. I began the project in April 2019 with a visit to Slane Castle, in County Meath. That was an impressive start to our project.

Slane Castle, County Meath, 26th April 2019, formerly owned by the Flemings and then the Conynghams.

I gathered notes on properties I had already visited, during Open House or Heritage weeks in previous years. As you can see, my interest in historic houses predated my discovery of the Section 482 scheme. In fact, in a PhD I started but never finished, about aesthetic experience, I began my thesis by attempting to capture a moment of aesthetic experience: that of looking at a historic house. It’s lovely to see how I was already trying to understand what it is that draws me to such places.

We’ve visited 87 of the properties so far!

Properties we’d visited before I learned of the Section 482 list include:

Loughcrew, County Meath, May 2010 – our combined Hen and Stag weekend, before Stephen and I married!

Lough Crew 22nd May 2010, where Stephen and I had our combined Hen and Stag weekend before our wedding.
Lough Crew 22nd May 2010.

11 North Great Georges Street, Dublin, during Open House 2012;

11 North Great Georges Street, Dublin.

Old Glebe in Newcastle Lyons, County Dublin, during Heritage Week 2012;

“The Old Glebe,” Newcastle, County Dublin, Heritage Week, 17th August 2012.

Primrose Hill, County Dublin, 17th August 2013

Primrose Hill, Lucan, Dublin, which may have been designed by James Gandon, who designed the Custom House in Dublin.

Huntington Castle, County Carlow, in August 2016.

Huntington Castle, Clonegal, County Carlow, August 2016, home of the Esmondes and later, still related by marriage, the Durdin Robertsons.

Russborough House, County Wicklow, April 2018

Russborough House, which I have visited several times, including in April 2018.

I’d like to choose a House of the Year for each year. I should have started in my first year! In 2019 the competition is stiff and it seems a little unfair as my favourite dwarfs the others in size as well as in impressive interior: I have to choose Curraghmore, County Waterford, as my 2019 House of the Year! Although considering that we also visited Birr Castle, Dunsany and Borris House that year, it was a year full of wonderful discoveries. Lady Dunsany, who sadly passed away since, deserves a special mention as a warm, welcoming and delightful host.

In 2019 we set off at an ambitious pace, visiting a house nearly every weekend! We went on holidays to Waterford to see some of the lovely houses, and coincided with the day of lectures in Dromana on the topic of “The Pursuit of the Heiress.” In 2019 we visited:

Salterbridge, County Waterford, 3rd May 2019

Salterbridge, County Waterford. We visited in May 2019.

Tourin, County Waterford, 3rd May 2019

Tourin House, County Waterford, home of the Jamesons, of former whiskey fame.

Dromana, County Waterford, 5th May 2019

Dromana, County Waterford – the estate was the home of the Fitzgerald Lords of the Decies, and is owned by their descendants.

Curraghmore, County Waterford, 5th May 2019, my chosen Home of the Year in 2019.

Curraghmore, County Waterford. The house is very large as it is not only seven bays wide but seven bays deep. It is still in the hands of the Le Poer Beresford family.

Moone Abbey, County Kildare, May 18, 2019

View from Moone Abbey tower, County Kildare. The nearby Abbey has a large Celtic cross. We visited on Saturday May 18, 2019.

Charleville, County Wicklow, 18th May 2019

Charleville, County Wicklow, visited on Saturday May 18th 2019. The surrounding formal gardens, never mind the impressive house, make it worth a visit.

Loughton, County Offaly, 25th May 2019

Loughton, County Offaly, where we enjoyed meeting owners Andrew and Michael during our visit on May 25th, 2019.

Altidore Castle, County Wicklow, 31st May 2019

Altidore Castle, County Wicklow, a seven bay, two storey over basement house, with Venetian (tripartite) window over a single-storey pillared porch, which houses a Robert Emmet museum.

Moyglare House, County Meath, 2nd June 2019

Moyglare House, Maynooth, on the border of Counties Kildare and Meath, once owned by a Hugeuont family, and before the current owners, it was a hotel.

Leixlip Castle, County Kildare, 14th June 2019

Leixlip Castle, County Kildare, home to the late Desmond Guinness, founder of the Irish Georgian Society.

Birr Castle, County Offaly, 21st June 2019

Birr Castle, County Offaly, 21st June 2019, home of the Earl of Rosse.

Dunsany Castle, County Meath, 1st July 2019

Dunsany, County Meath, 1st July 2019, home of the Plunketts, Barons of Dunsany.

Dardistown, County Meath, 13th July 2019

Dardistown, County Meath, July 2019, available for accommodation, where former owners included the powerful Jenet Sarsfield who had four husbands.

Borris House, County Carlow, 23rd July 2019

Borris House, County Carlow, still home of its builders, the Kavanagh family.

Ballymurrin, County Wicklow, 27th July 2019

Ballymurrin, County Wicklow, a former Quaker home which we visited on 27th July 2019.

Clonalis, County Roscommon, 3rd August 2019

Clonalis, County Roscommon, which is still the home of the O Conor family, ancient High Kings of Ireland, with a family museum of historical documents, as well as a beautiful garden. Stephen and I were invited to join friends for a weekend in County Westmeath and took the opportunity to visit Clonalis House in County Roscommon.

Tullynally, County Westmeath, 4th August 2019

Tullynally, County Westmeath, home of the Pakenhams, Lords Longford, now the home of Thomas Pakenham, brother to one of my favourite writers, Antonia Fraser. It has tours of the servants’ quarters all year around, and during Heritage Week, when we went in 2020, it has tours of the house itself.

Tankardstown, County Meath, 9th August 2019

Tankardstown, County Meath, now a plush hotel.

Swainstown House, County Meath, 19th August 2019

Swainstown, County Meath, still home of the Preston family.

Harristown, County Kildare, 22nd August 2019

Harristown, County Kildare, a former La Touche home.

Blackhall Castle, County Kildare, 22nd August 2019

Blackhall Castle, County Kildare, a former Eustace (or Fitzeustace) home.

Rokeby, County Louth, 7th September 2019

Rokeby, County Louth, with its elegant Richard Turner conservatory.

Coolcarrigan, County Kildare, 21st September 2019

Coolcarrigan, County Kildare, visited September 2019. Its gardens are a treat.

Castle Howard, County Wicklow, 28th September 2019

Castle Howard, County Wicklowa mixture of church and castle architecture.

Barmeath Castle, County Louth, 15th October 2019

Barmeath Castle, County Louth, still home of the Bellews.

Colganstown House, County Dublin, 23rd November 2019

Colganstown, County Dublin. Maurice Craig describes the plasterwork dragon by Robert West: “over the staircase window, presides a splendidly animated Chinese dragon, scaly wings outstretched, and his tail piercing the egg-and-dart moulding at the base of the cornice to emerge and recurve again, stabbing the plasterwork.”

Castle Leslie, County Monaghan, 27-29th November 2019

Castle Leslie, County Monaghan, where we slept in a bed carved in 1617. Now a hotel but still owned by the Leslies.

Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin, December 2019

Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin. I visited in order to take photographs in December 2019. Former townhouse of the Wingfields, Viscounts Powerscourt.

In 2020, during Covid restrictions and even after, houses did not have to open to the public. However, some owners were kind and opened to us. We went on holiday down to County Cork during Heritage Week, and at the end of the year treated ourselves to two nights in Cabra Castle in County Cavan. My choice of Favourite House in 2020 is Ian Elliot’s Corravahan in County Cavan. Ian’s research deepened my appreciation of the house and its history. In 2020 we visited:

The Odeon, Dublin, 13th April 2020 (outside – we may have been in a lockdown at that point!)

The Odeon, formerly the Harcourt Street tram station, 13th April 2020.

Old Rectory Killedmond, 1st July 2020

Old Rectory Killedmond, a five bay two storey Tudor-Gothic Revival house with three dormer windows and a loggia. We enjoyed meeting owner Mary White, a former Green politician and Irish representative to the European Union, with whom I bonded over our love of literature.

Corravahan, County Cavan, 24th July 2020: My chosen Home of the Year in 2020.

Former Rectory Corravahan, County Cavan, home of the Beresfords. Owner Ian Elliot has taken great interest in the history of the house and the house is full of quirks.

Kilshannig, County Cork, 14th August 2020

Kilshannig, County Cork, which features stuccowork by Lafranchini brothers.

Cappoquin, County Waterford, 15th August 2020

Cappoquin House, County Waterford, built for and still owned by the Keane family.

Drishane House, County Cork, 20th August 2020

Drishane House, County Cork, former home of Edith Somerville, who wrote novels with her cousin Violet Martin, as “Somerville and Ross” – the latter the name of Violet Martin’s childhood home.

Baltimore Castle, County Cork, 20th August 2020

Baltimore Castle, County Cork – it wasn’t open when we visited but I took a photograph.

Cabra Castle, County Cavan, 23rd December 2020

Cabra Castle, County Cavan, formerly owned by the Pratt family and now a hotel.

In 2021 the house that really blew my socks off and has to be given my Favourite Home of the Year award is Stradbally in County Laois. Again in 2021 houses did not have to be open if owners were concerned about the spread of Covid-19. We managed to visit quite a few, however, and were able to go on holidays during Heritage week, when we travelled to Sligo and Mayo and back home through County Kilkenny. Special award goes to our lovely hosts Nicola and Durcan at Annaghmore, County Sligo, where we stayed during our visits in Mayo and Sligo. Special mention also goes to Wilton Castle in County Wexford, whose owners have done a tremendous job in renovations after it lay a roofless ruin for years. In 2021 we visited:

Killruddery, County Wicklow, 24th April 2021

Killruddery House, May 2013we also visited in July 2020 and 24th April 2021. In June 2015 we were given a tour of the house as part of our membership of the Irish Decorating and Fine Arts Society, but we have yet to take another tour, since I learned about the Section 482 scheme. I look forward to it next year in 2023.

Mount Usher, County Wicklow, 6th June 2021

Mount Usher, County Wicklow, an example of a “Robinsonian” garden, after William Robinson who wrote “The Wild Garden.”

Stradbally Hall, County Laois, 7th June 2021, my Home of the Year 2021.

Stradbally, County Offaly. Built for the Cosby family, who still own it.

Killineer, County Louth, 9th June 2021

Killineer, County Louth. Built for a wealthy merchant of Drogheda.

Burtown, County Kildare, 23rd June 2021

Burtown, County Kildare. We had booked a visit with the Fennells but they were busy preparing to open the restaurant The Green Barn that day, for the first day after a prolonged lockdown, so my visit inside the house has had to be postponed.

Salthill Garden, County Donegal, July 2021

Salthill Garden, County Donegal. The house, not open to the public, was formerly the house for the agent of the Conynghams of The Hall, Mountcharles, who later purchased Slane Castle.

Markree Castle, County Sligo, 16th August 2021

Markree Castle, County Sligo, originaly owned by the Cooper family, it is now a hotel.

Newpark, County Sligo, 16th August 2021

Newpark, County Sligo, home to the Kitchen family, descended from the O’Haras who own Annaghmore house and Coopershill.

Enniscoe, County Mayo, 17th August 2021

Enniscoe, County Mayo, still in the hands of the same family, descended from the Jacksons.

Coopershill, County Sligo, 18th August 2021

Coopershill, County Sligo, home to the O’Haras, descendants of the original Cooper family.

Kilfane, County Kilkenny, 23rd August 2021

Kilfane, County Kilkennyonly the grounds are open, which are developed into a wonderful haven of the Picturesque, with thatched cottage and small waterfall.

Wilton Castle, County Wexford, November 2021

Wilton Castle, County Wexford – the owners have done a marvellous renovation of what was previously a roofless ruin. It is available for accommodation.

And this year, in 2022, we went on holiday in June to County Cork to visit some historic houses. Then we did another tour of the country during Heritage Week. My favourite, to be awarded House of the Year 2022, is Bantry House, although special mention must go to St. Mary’s Abbey House in Trim, which is a real gem. During 2022 we visited:

Springfield House, County Offaly, January 2022

Springfield, County Offaly, where Muirean and her husband kindly gave us a tour.

Ballysallagh, County Kilkenny, 12th February 2022

Ballysallagh, County Kilkenny, awarded a prize in 2020 for its renovation, maintenance, and winter garden.

Bewleys Cafe, Dublin, 6th March 2022

Bewleys Cafe, established by the Quaker Bewley family, home of Harry Clarke stained glass windows.

Beauparc House, County Meath, 15th March 2022

Beauparc, County Meath, passed from Lambart relative to the current Marquess Conyngham of Slane.

Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow, March 2022

10th December 2009, my Dad and Stephen, when we went to Powerscourt to celebrate my birthday. Stephen and I visited again in March 2022.

Martello Tower Portrane, County Dublin, 23rd April 2022

Martello Tower, Portranea former defensive tower built in the reign of Napoleon of France.

Larchill, County Kildare, 8th May 2022

Larchill, County Kildare, a former Quaker home, complete with Arcadian garden.

St. Mary’s Church, Dublin, May 2022

St. Mary’s Church, now a bar, it was one of the oldest parishes on the north side of the city in Dublin.

St. Mary’s Abbey, Trim, County Meath, May 2022

St. Mary’s abbey house, County Meath – this may have been part of the medieval St. Mary’s Abbey next to Trim Castle.

Kildrought, County Kildare, 28th May 2022

Kildrought, County Kildare, a beautifully restored home and garden on the banks of the Liffey.

Bantry House, Cork, 8th June 2022. My Home of the Year 2022.

Bantry House, County Cork, a treasurehouse of culture.

Blarney House, Cork, 7th June 2022

Blarney House, County Cork, belonging still to the family who lived in Blarney Castle.

Blarney Castle, Cork, 7th June 2022

Blarney Castle, County Cork.

Riverstown House, County Cork, June 2022

Riverstown, County Cork, home of Lafranchini plasterwork.

Former Hibernian Bank, Dublin, 25th June 2022

Former Hibernian Bank, Dublin.

Oakfield Park, County Donegal, 2nd July 2022

Oakfield Park gardens, County Donegal.

Killeen Mill, County Meath, 16th July 2022

Killeen Mill, July 2022. We stopped by to have a look on a day we revisited Dunsany Castle. It is available for accommodation.

St. George’s, Killiney, County Dublin, August 2022

St. George’s, Dublin, an Arts and Crafts house by George Ashlin for his wife Mary Pugin, daughter of the famous church architect.

The Turret, County Limerick, August 2022

The Turret, County Limerick, built in 1683.

Ashill, County Limerick, 12-15th August 2022

Ashill, County Limerick, where we treated ourselves to three nights’ stay.

Beechwood, County Tipperary, 13th August 2022

Beechwood, County Tipperary, August 2022 – I still have to write up about our visit to this lovely former Rectory.

Glenview, County Limerick, 14th August 2022

Glenville, County Limerick, a former home of the Massey family, we enjoyed our visit with the current owners.

Mount Trenchard, County Limerick, 14th August 2022

Mount Trenchard, County Limerick, currently undergoing renovation. We were given a wonderful tour of the house and its grounds, including the walled garden.

Oranmore Castle, County Galway, 15th August 2022

Oranmore Castle, County Galway, the gift from her mother to Anita Leslie from Castle Leslie, County Monaghan.

Claregalway Castle, County Galway, 15th August 2022

Claregalway Castle, County Galway, parts of which can be booked for accommodation.

King House, County Roscommon, 18th August 2022

King House, County Roscommon, once home of the King family, now a beautiful museum.

Strokestown Park, County Roscommon, August 2022

Strokestown, County Roscommon – it was listed as open in Section 482 but opening was delayed due to renovations. We were lucky to get on a Heritage Week tour.

Lissadell, County Sligo, 19th August 2022

Lissadell, County Sligo, the former home of the Countess Markievicz and the Gore-Booth family.

Manorhamilton, County Leitrim, 20th August 2022

Manorhamilton Castle, Leitrim. It was not open on the day we visited despite being listed as an open day during Heritage Week.

Hilton Park, County Monaghan, 21st August 2022

Hilton Park, still in the ownership of the Madden family for whom it was built.

After that big holiday during Heritage Week 2022 I needed a break in September!

Fahanmura, County Dublin, 11th October 2022

Fahanmura, a 1940s home in Dublin.

39 North Great Georges Street, Dublin, 10th November 2022

39 North Great Georges Street, a 1771 home of Georgian splendour.

Hamwood, County Meath, 14th November 2022

Hamwood House, built by and still lived in by the Hamiltons, including artists Letitia and Eva.

A few new properties added to the list!

I recently checked the revenue website, to make sure I had the correct opening dates for a property. I noticed that a few new properties have been added to the Section 482 list, and also that some properties which had dropped off, have been added back! So I have more places to visit! It keeps me very busy. I have several properties to write about for publication at the moment which I have visited recently.

The new properties listed are:

Templemills House
Newtown Road, Celbridge, Co. Kildare
Máiread Mc Kenna and Mark Dunne
Tel: 8323648
Open: Jan 17-31, Feb 1-7, May 1-31, Aug 13-21, 9am-1pm
Fee: adult €12, student/OAP €8

When was this property added to the listing, as it certainly was not listed in February when the listing was published? The cheek of them, then, to list opening dates in January and February 2022!

and

Sigginstown Castle
Sigginstown, Tacumshane, Co. Wexford
Elizabeth and Gordon Jones
Tel: 087-2293979
www.sigginstowncastle.com
Open: April 30, May 1, 8-10, 13-15, 20-21, 27-29, June 3-5, 10, 12, 17-19, 24-26,
July 1-2, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-31, Aug 1, 5-7, 12-21, 26-28, Sept 2-4, 9-11, 24-25,
2pm-6pm, tours 2.30pm and 4.30pm
Medieval Event-June 3-5, 12 noon-5pm, adult €15, child (6-18years) €10 includes
tour at 3pm
Fee: castle, adult €8, child/OAP/student/ groups 6 or more €6.

I see on the website that the castle was featured in Hugh Wallace’s “Great House Revival” tv show. I haven’t seen it yet, but have recorded the series so I look forward to watching it!

One which had been taken off, I think, then added back on again is:

Ballybur Castle
Ballybur Upper, Cuffesgrange, Co. Kilkenny
Mhari Gray
Tel: 086-1919099
www.ballyburcastle.ie
Open: March 1-20, May 1-31, August 13-22, 2pm-6pm
Fee: Free.

It’s unfortunate I didn’t realise it was still on as I had booked to stay in Ballybur Lodge nearby during Heritage Week, in order to visit the castle, but when the castle was no longer listed, I cancelled my stay in Ballybur Lodge! Alas. I shall have to visit Ballybur Castle another time.

Another property which I thought was dropped from the list but has reappeared is:

Rockfield Ecological Estate
Rathaspic, Rathowen, Mullingar, Co. Westmeath
Sean Daly
Tel: 085-8215796
Open: June 14-30, July 1-15, Aug 1-31, Sept 1-15, 2pm-6pm
Fee: Free.