Open dates in 2021 but check due to Covid restrictions: 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
Today (Saturday 27th April 2019) we made our first official blog trip, my husband Stephen and I. We started in the “ancient east,” going to Slane Castle. The land around the Boyne River is beautiful, rolling and fertile. It took almost exactly one hour to drive from our home in Dublin, taking the M1 which I find easier than the M2 through the city’s north side, with which I’m less familiar. Our timing was perfect, we arrived at 2:10pm, in time for the 2:15 tour – there are tours every hour on the quarter hour. 
The castle is three storeys over basement, in the Gothic Revival style. There is a bow on the back side of the castle, facing the river, and the basement serves as the ground floor on this side due to the steep slope down to the River Boyne. The bow forms a round tower, but you cannot see it as you approach the castle as the river is behind.
The Building of Slane Castle
Our tour guide was a young very pleasant man named Matthew, who seemed very knowledgeable about the castle and its history and the history of the Conyngham family, who have owned the castle since it was built in 1785 for the second Lord Conyngham, to the design of James Wyatt (1746 – 1813). Wyatt also designed another house on the section 482 list this year, Curraghmore in County Waterford, and a house not on the list, unfortunately, as I would love to see inside, Abbeyleix House (incidentally, my father grew up in Abbeyleix and we used to enjoy the gardens which used to be open and which were reknowned for the bluebells. Also, coincidentally, according to wikipedia, Wyatt spent six years in Italy, 1762–68, in company with Richard Bagot of Staffordshire, who was Secretary to the Earl of Northampton’s embassy to the Venetian Republic. My family is rumoured to be descended from the Staffordshire Bagots, although I have not found the connection!). Our guide told us that the castle was reconstructed and enlarged by William Burton Conyngham. It was built on the foundations of a medieval castle of the Fleming family, replacing an earlier house. William Burton Conyngham was a classicist and the front hall features Greek columns and key patterns on the walls and many marble Greek sculptures, including a sculpture of King George IV of England, donated by the king himself. William Burton Conyngham argued with his architects, Matthew told us, so ended up having three architects for his castle: James Gandon, James Wyatt and Francis Johnston. According to Mark Bence-Jones in A Guide to Irish Country Houses, Francis Johnston completed the house for the the second Lord Conygham’s son, although our guide told us the 2nd Lord Conyngham never married and the castle was inherited by his nephew. It was this nephew, who later became the 1st Marquess Conyngham, who completed the building. Other architects were consulted at various times, including James Gandon, who most famously designed the Custom House and the Four Courts in Dublin, and Emo Court in County Laois. Francis Johnston designed the General Post Office in Dublin, and Townley Hall, a grand house in County Louth. Another architect consulted was a favourite of King George IV, the English Thomas Hopper.
The Flemings of Slane
The Conynghams bought the land in Slane after it was confiscated from the Flemings. In 1175, Richard Le Fleming built a castle at the western end of Slane hill and, three generations later, Simon Fleming was created Baron of Slane.  The Flemings had their land confiscated as Christopher, 17th Baron Slane (1669-1726), backed James II in his battles against William of Orange. He served in the Irish Parliament of King James II in 1689, and as colonel in James’s army in Ireland 1689-91, fighting in both the Battle of the Boyne and in Aughrim, where he was taken prisoner by William’s forces. Released, he emigrated and fought in the French and Portuguese armies, as did many of James II’s followers who were attainted and lost their estates, as they needed to be able to earn a living. He was later reconciled with Queen Anne of England (daughter of James II) and returned to Ireland, to live in Anticur, County Antrim.
Before moving to Slane, the Conynghams came from Donegal, and before that, they came from Scotland. They did not acquire Slane directly after it was confiscated from the Flemings – Terry Trench of the Slane History and Archaeology Society writes that the estate changed hands, at least on paper, seven times between 1641 and 1703. The estate had been taken from the Flemings before Christopher’s time, in 1641, when William Fleming, the 14th Baron, joined the Catholic Irish forces in rebellion against the British. He remained loyal to the king, but objected to the laws that the British parliament passed to make the Irish parliament subservient to the British parliament. The estate was restored to William’s son Randall under the Act of Settlement and Distribution of Charles II’s reign, by decree dated 27th March 1663.  Many estates that had been confiscated by Cromwell’s parliament were restored when Charles II was restored to the throne in 1660.
The Conynghams of Slane
The Conyngham motto, Over Fork Over, recounts the way Duncan hid from Macbeth (familiar to us from Shakespeare). Matthew told us that Duncan hid in straw in a barn, having it forked over him. After that, he managed to defeat Macbeth and to become king. So the Conynghams are descendants of a Scottish king!
Alexander Conyngham moved from Scotland to Ireland when he was appointed in 1611 to be the first Protestant minister to Enver and Killymardin the diocese of Raphoe, County Donegal. He was appointed dean of Raphoe in 1631. He settled at Mount Charles, an estate he leased from John Murray, earl of Annandale, the owner of ‘a vast estate’ in Scotland. Conyngham subsequently acquired the Mount Charles property through his marriage to the earl’s grand-neice, Marian, daughter of John Murray of Broughton, in Scotland (see ). Alexander’s grandson Henry purchased the land in Slane in 1703. Brigadier Henry Conyngham’s father Albert had fought with William III’s troops in the Battle of the Boyne, against Fleming and James II’s troops. Albert married Mary, daughter of the Right Reverend Robert Leslie, Bishop of Raphoe – this Bishop is the ancestor of the Leslie family of Castle Leslie in County Monaghan, another property on the Section 482 list that I will be visiting. Albert was killed by Irish Royalist rebels, and succeeded by his only surviving son, Henry. Henry Conyngham built himself a residence, Conyngham Hall, on the foundations of an older castle formerly belonging to the Flemings.
Henry fought first in James II’s army, but then persuaded his regiment to transfer their loyalty to William III. Henry’s son William inherited the Slane estate. William became an Member of the Irish Parliament and was raised to the peerage in 1753 to the title of Baron Conyngham of Mount Charles, and later became Viscount and eventually, Earl. He died without a son so the Barony passed to his nephew, Francis Pierpoint Burton (his sister Mary had married Francis Burton). On inheriting the title and estate, Francis took the name Conyngham . He married Elizabeth, the daughter of amateur architect Nathaniel Clements, whose work we will see later in other houses on the section 482 list of heritage properties. For himself, Nathaniel Clements built what is now the Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of our President, Michael D. Higgins, in Phoenix Park in Dublin. It was Francis Conyngham who continued the building of Slane Castle which his uncle William had begun.
The castle and estate passed to Francis’s son Henry. Henry served as politician and moved quickly up the ranks of the peerage and was Lord Steward of the Royal household between 1821-30.
In 1821 King George IV spent time in the Castle with his lover, the wife of Conyngham, Elizabeth Denison. In return the king made Conyngham a Marquess . One of the rooms of the castle, the Smoking Room, has two cartoons from the period mocking the King and his consort Elizabeth, drawing them as overweight. In one, she aids her son when he has to move from the Castle of Windsor where he was Royal Chamberlain. It was he who announced to Victoria that she was Queen, upon death of the previous monarch. He was let go from his position when he tried to move his lover into his rooms in Windsor. His mother came to fetch him, with several wheelbarrows, the story goes, and she took all the furniture from his rooms. Somehow she brought a grand piano back from Windsor to Slane Castle where it sat in a specially made arbor for music in the Smoking room, until it was destroyed by a fire in Slane Castle in the 1990’s. One of the Punch style cartoons is of Elizabeth with a wheelbarrow fetching her son from Windsor. I can’t quite remember the other – it had King George IV and herself in a carriage. The Irish were very annoyed that when he came to Ireland he spent his entire time at Slane Castle!
The Irish Aesthete writes of the visit:
“Neither the king nor his inamorata were in the first flush of youth, and both were equally corpulent. These circumstances however did nothing to dampen their ardour. As was written of them at the time, ‘Tis pleasant at seasons to see how they sit/ First cracking their nuts, and then cracking their wit/ Then quaffing their claret – then mingling their lips/ Or tickling the fat about each other’s hips.’ And according to one contemporary observer, Lady Conyngham ‘lived exclusively with him during the whole time he was in Ireland at the Phoenix Park. When he went to Slane, she received him dressed out as for a drawing-room; he saluted her, and they then retired alone to her apartments.’” 
Our tour started with a video of Charles Conyngham, now known as Lord Mount Charles, telling of his childhood in the Castle, growing up in a very old-world upper class manner. He did not join his parents at the dining table until he was twelve years old, dining until then in the Nursery. His nurse, Margaret Browne, came to the Castle at 16 years old, and he held her in such regard that he named his bar after her. We had lunch in the bar after the tour. The food was delicious! Stephen had bread with buttery mushrooms and creme fraiche, and I had Thia carrot lentil soup. With good strong Americanos our meal came to €24 with tip, the same price for entry for two adults to the Castle Tour.
But, back to our tour! Lord Mount Charles described how he started out, when he had to take over the Castle, with a restaurant, which is now the Gandon Restaurant. To further fund the Castle maintenance, Lord Mount Charles started concerts at the venue, beginning with Thin Lizzy in 1981. To seal the deal, the next show was the Rolling Stones! With such august imprimateur, the Castle’s concerts became world-famous and featured many top performers including David Bowie, Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Queen.
However, there was a disasterous fire in the castle and roof and one third of the castle was destroyed.The magnificent library with its intricate ceiling and impressive wooden chandelier was saved by two firemen fighting the fire from within the room, battling for nine hours. The smoke was so thick that one couldn’t see the ceiling. I think they deserve a plaque in the room to recognise their effort! Meanwhile the family saved as many priceless historic paintings and antiques as they could, including a huge portrait of King George IV that is now hanging again in the library, by cutting it from its giant gilt frame then taking the frame apart into four pieces in order to get it out through the doors. Lord Mount Charles now suffers with his lungs, probably partially as a result of long exposure to the flames and smoke. It took ten years to reconstruct the castle, but it has been done excellently so traces of the fire barely remain.
We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside, as usual with these properties. There is a picture of the ornate roof in the library on the wonderful blog of the Irish Aesthete .
Mark Bence-Jones describes the room in his 1988 book (published before the fire, but this room remained intact!), A Guide to Irish Country Houses:
“…the great circular ballroom or library which rises through two storeys of the round tower and is undoubtedly the finest Gothic Revival room in Ireland; with a ceiling of Gothic plasterwork so delicate and elaborate that it looks like filigree. Yet this, too, is basically a Classical room; the Gothic ceiling is, in fact, a dome; the deep apses on either side of the fireplace are such as one finds in many of Wyatt’s Classical interiors, except that the arches leading into them are pointed; they are decorated with plasterwork that can be recognised as a very slightly Gothicized version of the familiar Adam and Wyatt fan pattern.”
Of the tales on the tour, I especially enjoyed the story of the funeral of a soldier’s leg. Apparently it was quite the custom to have funerals for body parts – his leg had to be amputated on the field of battle and the soldier brought it back to be buried with a full-scale military funeral. It must have been to do with the fact that a person’s body is to be resurrected on the Last Day, so it’s good to know where all the parts are! Cremation used to be forbidden in the Catholic church, as somehow it would be too difficult for God to put the ashes back together – never mind a disintegrated body!
There is an adjoining distillery in what used to be the stables, and a tour of that can be purchased in combination if desired. Lord Charles’s mother bred horses before the stables were converted. The stables were designed by Capability Brown.
According to the Irish Aesthete:
“Henry Conyngham, grandson of General Henry Conyngham who purchased the property, around 1770 invited Capability Brown around 1770 to produce a design both for the landscaping of the parkland at Slane, and also for a new stable block. In the collection of the Irish Architectural Archive in Dublin a drawing survives of Brown’s proposal for the latter. It is not unlike the finished building, but more elaborate than what we see today.” 
I found a blog by the Irish Aesthete on a portrait now in Slane, of Lady Elizabeth wife of the first Marqess’s daughter, Lady Maria Conyngham. Reportedly Lady Elizabeth looked very like her daughter – which one would not guess from the unflattering cartoons of her! 
“She probably became his [George IV’s] lover in 1819, when he was Prince Regent, but finally supplanted her predecessor, Isabella Seymour-Conway, Marchioness of Hertford, after he became king in 1820. He became besotted with her, constantly “kissing her hand with a look of most devoted submission.” While his wife Caroline of Brunswick was on trial in 1820 as part of efforts to divorce her, the king could not be seen with Lady Conyngham and was consequently “bored and lonely.” During his coronation, George was constantly seen “nodding and winking” at her. “Lady Conyngham’s liaison with the king benefited her family. Her husband was raised to the rank of a marquess in the Peerage of the United Kingdom and sworn to the Privy Council, in the coronation honours of 1821. He was also given several other offices, including Lord Steward of the Household and the lieutenancy of Windsor Castle. Her second son was made Master of the Robes and First Groom of the Chamber.”
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 Morgan Kavanagh Tel: 087-2454791 www.borrishouse.com 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 Tel: 053-9377160 www.huntingtoncastle.com
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. Mary White Tel: 087-2707189
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 Fee: Free
Ballingohig, Knockraha, Co. Cork Gerald McGreal Tel: 087-2400831 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 Julie Shelswell-White Tel: 027-50047 www.bantryhouse.com 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 C. Colthurst Tel: 021- 4385252 www.blarneycastle.ie 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 C. Colthurst Tel 021- 4385252 www.blarneycastle.ie 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
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 Tel 087-7179367 www.bewleys.com
Open: all year except Christmas Day, 11am-7pm Fee: Free
Hibernian/National Irish Bank
23-27 College Green, Dublin 2 Dan O’Sullivan Tel: 01-6755100 www.clarendonproperties.ie 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
Dublin 1 John Aboud Tel: 087-7983099 www.number11dublin.ie 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 James Kelly Tel: 086-8597275 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)
59 South William Street, Dublin 2 Mary Larkin Tel: 01-6717000 www.powerscourtcentre.ie 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
Dublin 2 Joe Hogan Tel: 087-2430334 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 Tel: 087-2245726 www.thechurch.ie
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 Tel: 087-2206222 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 Philip Harvey Tel: Philip, 087-2463865, Paul, 086-3694379 www.fahanmura.ie 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 David Doran Tel: 086-3821304 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 Gráinne Casey Tel: 01-2804884 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 Tel: 087-2847797 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 Terry Prone Tel: 01-6449700 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, Ruth O’Herlihy, Tel: 087-2163623 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 Robin Hall Tel: 01-6280373 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
Robert McQuillan Tel: 087-2567718 Open: July 1-31, Aug 1-31, 9am-1pm
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
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 Patricia Orr Tel: 086-2552661 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)
Ballitore Co Kildare Katharine Bulbulia Tel: 087-2414556 www.griesemounthouse.ie 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 Hubert Beaumont Tel: 087-2588775 www.harristownhouse.ie 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 June Stuart 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
(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
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 Angela Alexander Tel: 086-0537291 www.moyglaremanor.ie 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 Alex Conyngham Tel: 041-9884477 www.slanecastle.ie 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 Peter Higgins Tel: 087-2057176 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 Alan Haugh Tel: 087-2566998 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 Caroline Preston Tel: 086-2577939 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
Open: all year including National Heritage Week, Aug 14-22, 9am-1pm Fee: Free
Glaslough, Co. Monaghan Samantha Leslie Tel: 047-88091 www.castleleslie.com (Tourist Accommodation Facility) Open: all year, National Heritage Week, events August 14-22 Fee: Free
Hilton Park House
Clones, Co. Monaghan Fred Madden Tel 047-56007 www.hiltonpark.ie (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
Castlerea, Co. Roscommon Pyers O’Conor Nash Tel: 094-9620014, 087-3371667 (Tourist Accommodation Facility) April 1-October 1 www.clonalis.com 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 Tel: 090-6637369
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 Jim Gilligan Tel: 086-2539187 Open: May 1-31, June 1-30, Aug 14-22, 12 noon-4pm
Fee: adult €5, OAP/student €3, child free
Co. Waterford Postal address: Glendine, Youghal, Co. Cork
Katherine Gordon Tel: 086-1701832 www.ballynatray.com Open: April 1-Sept 30, 12 noon- 4pm Fee: adult €6, child OAP/student €3
Cappagh House (Old and New)
Cappagh Dungarvan Co Waterford Charles and Claire Chavasse Tel: 087-8290860, 086-8387420 www.cappaghhouse.ie 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 www.cappoquinhouseandgardens.com 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 Vanessa Behal Tel: 051-387101 www.curraghmorehouse.ie 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 Barbara Grubb Tel: 086-8186305 www.dromanahouse.com 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 Philip Wingfield Tel: 086-8223005 www.salterbridgehouseandgarden.com 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
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 Michelle O’Connor Tel: 087-2505205 Open: May 1-31, Aug 14-22, Sept 1-20, 9am-1pm
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.
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.
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.
“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. “
 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.
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,overlookingthe 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 theSomervilles, 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 bookExploring West Cork. He was a remarkable man and perhaps the most talented and interesting of all theSomervillesof thatgeneration, 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 conditionworsenedshe was transferred to the Glen Vera Hospital in Cork.Eachday 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 toDrishane. 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. 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!
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.
Listed open dates in 2020 but check due to Covid: Jan 1-3, 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-28, May 1-22, 25-29, June 1-3, Aug 15-24, 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.
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.
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-Stuartmarried 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.
Listed open dates in 2020: Apr 18-30, Aug 15-31, Sept 1-30, 9am-1pm
Gardens open all year closed Sundays
Fee: house €10, garden €6, combined €15, child free
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 JohnKeane 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].
Beyond the stair hall is the central drawing room, which was formerly the entrance hall. It has an Ionic columnar screen, and a decorative plasterwork cornice – a frieze of ox skulls and swags.
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. 7. Symes, Glascott J.R.M. Sir John Keane and Cappoquin House in time of war and revolution. Four Courts Press, Dublin, 2016.
 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.
I haven’t a house entry for last week, so here is a list of places on Revenue Section 482 that were scheduled to be open in January 2020 which might be open in January 2021. With Covid restrictions, maybe nothing will be open to the public, so check in advance.
In the meantime, I hope you have a safe, healthy and happy Christmas Season!
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan 6-May 29 Mon-Fri, June 1-30 Mon -Sat, July 1-Aug 31 daily, Sept 1-Dec 18 Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm
Ballingohig, Knockraha, Co. Cork
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan 28-29, Feb 4-5, 11-12, 25-26, Mar 3-4, 10-11, 24-25, 31, Apr 21-22, 28-29, May 12-13, 16-17, 19-20, 23-24, 26-27, June 16-17, 20-21, 23-24, 27-28, 30, July 1-2, Aug 15-23, Sept 1-2, 8-9, 12-13, 15-16, 22-23, 29-30, Wednesdays 2pm-6pm, Tues, weekends & National Heritage Week 8am-12 noon
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): 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
Conna, Co. Cork
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan 1-Dec 24, 11am-4pm
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): all year, 12 noon to midnight, closed Sundays
Powerscourt Townhouse Centre
59 South William Street, Dublin 2
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): 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 in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan1-20, May 1-31, June 1, Aug 15-23, 2pm-6pm
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): all year except Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St Stephens Day, 11am-11 pm
Toberburr Road, Killeek, St Margaret’s, Co. Dublin
David Doran, Tel: 086-3821304
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan 2-5, 11-12, 18-19, 25-26, Feb 1-2, 15-16, 21-23, March 6-8, May 1-4, 8-10, 15-17, 22-24, 29-31, June 1, 5-7, 12-14, Aug 15-23, Sept 5-6, 12-13, 19-20, 26-27, Jan, Feb, Sept, 12 noon-4pm, Mar-Aug 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €6, student/OAP/child €5
Sandycove Point, Sandycove, Co. Dublin
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan 14-17, 21-23, 28, Feb 18-20, 26-28, May 6-8, 11-24, 27-29, Aug 11-12, 15-23, 26-27, Sept 7-11, 15-16, Nov 3-6, Dec 3-4, 2pm-6pm
Fee: adult €7, OAP €4, student €2, child free
Westminister Road, Foxrock, Dublin 18,
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan 6-10, 13-17, 20-24, 27-31, May 1-2, 5-9, 11-12, 19-23, June 8-13, 15-20, 23-27, Aug 15-23, 9am-1pm
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan 10-12, 17, 24-31, Feb 2, 7-8, 28, Mar 6, 20, 27-29, Apr 3-5, 24-25, May 7-8, 14-15, 21-24, 28-29, June 4-5, 11-12, 18-24, July 14-19, Aug 15-25, Sept 12-13, weekdays 2.30pm-6.30pm, weekends 10.30am-2.30pm, tours weekdays 3pm & 4.30pm, weekends 11am & 12.30pm
Fee: adult/OAP €8 student €3, child free, An Taisce members/Irish Georgian Society members €5
Lauragh, Tuosist, Kenmare, Co. Kerry
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): all year, 10am-6pm
Fee: adult/OAP/student €8, child €3, family ticket (2 adults and all children under 18 and 2 maps) €20
Badgerhill, Kill, Co. Kildare
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan 19-31, Feb 1-7, May 1-12, July 27-31, Aug 1-23, 9.30am-1.30pm
Fee: adult €5, student/child/OAP €3, (Irish Georgian Society members free)
Brannockstown, Co. Kildare
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan 13-24, Feb 3-14, May 5-29, June 2-5, Aug 15-23, Sept 7-11, 9am-1pm
Celbridge Village, Co. Kildare
Tel: 01-6271206, 087-6168651
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan 6-25, May 1-14, 18-26, Aug 15-31, 10am-2pm, Garden permanently available to Celbridge walking tours
Fee: adult €6, OAP/student/child €3, child under 5years free, school groups €1 per head
Moyglare, Maynooth, Co. Kildare
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): Jan 13-17, 20-24, 27-31, Feb 3-7, May 1-27, Aug 15-23, Sept 4-7, 8.30am-12.30pm
Open in 2020 (but check due to Covid restrictions): all year, closed Christmas Day, Jan- Feb & Nov 7pm-11pm, Mar- Sept 1pm-11.30pm, Oct 1pm-11pm, Nov 7pm-11pm, Dec 1-14, 26-31,7pm-11pm, 15 -24, 1pm-11.30pm