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.
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!
11 North Great Georges Street, Dublin, during Open House 2012;
Old Glebe in Newcastle Lyons, County Dublin, during Heritage Week 2012;
Primrose Hill, County Dublin, 17th August 2013
Huntington Castle, County Carlow, in August 2016.
Russborough House, County Wicklow, 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
Tourin, County Waterford, 3rd May 2019
Dromana, County Waterford, 5th May 2019
Curraghmore, County Waterford, 5th May 2019, my chosen Home of the Year in 2019.
Moone Abbey, County Kildare, May 18, 2019
Charleville, County Wicklow, 18th May 2019
Loughton, County Offaly, 25th May 2019
Altidore Castle, County Wicklow, 31st May 2019
Moyglare House, County Meath, 2nd June 2019
Leixlip Castle, County Kildare, 14th June 2019
Birr Castle, County Offaly, 21st June 2019
Dunsany Castle, County Meath, 1st July 2019
Dardistown, County Meath, 13th July 2019
Borris House, County Carlow, 23rd July 2019
Ballymurrin, County Wicklow, 27th July 2019
Clonalis, County Roscommon, 3rd August 2019
Tullynally, County Westmeath, 4th August 2019
Tankardstown, County Meath, 9th August 2019
Swainstown House, County Meath, 19th August 2019
Harristown, County Kildare, 22nd August 2019
Blackhall Castle, County Kildare, 22nd August 2019
Rokeby, County Louth, 7th September 2019
Coolcarrigan, County Kildare, 21st September 2019
Castle Howard, County Wicklow, 28th September 2019
Barmeath Castle, County Louth, 15th October 2019
Colganstown House, County Dublin, 23rd November 2019
Castle Leslie, County Monaghan, 27-29th November 2019
Powerscourt Townhouse, Dublin, December 2019
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!)
Old Rectory Killedmond, 1st July 2020
Corravahan, County Cavan, 24th July 2020: My chosen Home of the Year in 2020.
Kilshannig, County Cork, 14th August 2020
Cappoquin, County Waterford, 15th August 2020
Drishane House, County Cork, 20th August 2020
Baltimore Castle, County Cork, 20th August 2020
Cabra Castle, County Cavan, 23rd December 2020
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
Mount Usher, County Wicklow, 6th June 2021
Stradbally Hall, County Laois, 7th June 2021, my Home of the Year 2021.
Killineer, County Louth, 9th June 2021
Burtown, County Kildare, 23rd June 2021
Salthill Garden, County Donegal, July 2021
Markree Castle, County Sligo, 16th August 2021
Newpark, County Sligo, 16th August 2021
Enniscoe, County Mayo, 17th August 2021
Coopershill, County Sligo, 18th August 2021
Kilfane, County Kilkenny, 23rd August 2021
Wilton Castle, County Wexford, November 2021
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
Ballysallagh, County Kilkenny, 12th February 2022
Bewleys Cafe, Dublin, 6th March 2022
Beauparc House, County Meath, 15th March 2022
Powerscourt Estate, County Wicklow, March 2022
Martello Tower Portrane, County Dublin, 23rd April 2022
Larchill, County Kildare, 8th May 2022
St. Mary’s Church, Dublin, May 2022
St. Mary’s Abbey, Trim, County Meath, May 2022
Kildrought, County Kildare, 28th May 2022
Bantry House, Cork, 8th June 2022. My Home of the Year 2022.
Blarney House, Cork, 7th June 2022
Blarney Castle, Cork, 7th June 2022
Riverstown House, County Cork, June 2022
Former Hibernian Bank, Dublin, 25th June 2022
Oakfield Park, County Donegal, 2nd July 2022
Killeen Mill, County Meath, 16th July 2022
St. George’s, Killiney, County Dublin, August 2022
The Turret, County Limerick, August 2022
Ashill, County Limerick, 12-15th August 2022
Beechwood, County Tipperary, 13th August 2022
Glenview, County Limerick, 14th August 2022
Mount Trenchard, County Limerick, 14th August 2022
Oranmore Castle, County Galway, 15th August 2022
Claregalway Castle, County Galway, 15th August 2022
King House, County Roscommon, 18th August 2022
Strokestown Park, County Roscommon, August 2022
Lissadell, County Sligo, 19th August 2022
Manorhamilton, County Leitrim, 20th August 2022
Hilton Park, County Monaghan, 21st August 2022
After that big holiday during Heritage Week 2022 I needed a break in September!
Fahanmura, County Dublin, 11th October 2022
39 North Great Georges Street, Dublin, 10th November 2022
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!
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.