Irish Historic Houses

Posted by Niamh A on the 28th of August 2012 at 12:36:57

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Living in any place for a long time, you tend to get the blinkers on and not notice all the things to see and do around you….. When I am aboard I am usually up at the crack of dawn with an itinerary crammed full of all the museums, castles and heritage centres that I can visit and set off with such military precision and timings that any general would be proud …… Not always so popular amongst my travelling companions though!

However, this need to visit every site of historical importance, museum and art gallery in my path does not extend to when I am at home in Ireland – and so for this summer, I decided that I would make it my business to become a domestic tourist as it were and visit some of the places that I said I would visit– but hadn’t - until now!

The Hermitage/Pearse Museum
 
The house which holds the museums was built in 1740 and was once called The Hermitage. Today it is better known as the Pearse Museum and it is located on the Grange Road, Rathfarnham - around 30 minutes from Dublin city, lying amidst a beautiful wooded area. It was once a school ran by the Pearse brothers Patrick and William - the former Patrick a national poet and a key figure in the 1916 Rebellion who was subsequently executed. Through an AV and a fantastic collection borne out of personal artefacts from the family and others, you get a real sense of who the Pearse brothers were and how devoted they were to Ireland and in particular to keeping the Irish language alive. There are several rooms reconstructed to portray Patrick’s study, the family sitting room, a dormitory and there is also a room dedicated to William’s sculptures. The house is also linked to another Irish patriot Robert Emmet (who was executed in 1803 for his part in a rebellion of the same year) – he would meet his lover Sarah Curran on the grounds, as the owners of the house were sympathisers to the ill-fated lovers plight. The house has much historical importance due to it’s links to two key Irish figures in Irish history and with beautiful grounds to walk around in, it really is a worthwhile visit! For more information Pearse Museum.....
The Hermitage/Pearse Museum, Rathfarnham, Dublin
Belvedere House
 
This Palladian style house located in Westmeath was designed by Robert Castles/Casslles, one of Ireland’s best known and most revered architects who was responsible for the majority of such houses in Ireland - Leinster House in Dublin (now the houses of parliament), Bishop’s Palace in Waterford City and Powerscourt in County Wicklow to name but a few. Built in 1740 for the Rochfort family, initially as a something of a retreat from their main house – Gaulstown - it later became a full time residence. The history of the house and its residents is intriguing and exciting – full of scandal – jealousy, bitterness, violence and illicit love affairs. Set in 160 acres of land, complete with an amazing Victorian Walled Garden, Fairy Garden, lake, follies and numerous walks, this is a superb attraction. There is a gift and coffee shop as well – with lots of yummy treats, this attraction really has it all! Visit Belvedere for some further information!
 
Belvedere House, County Westmeath
Powerscourt
 
This is probably one of Ireland’s most popular sites and you will really understand why when you visit! Set on the foot of the Great Sugar Loaf Mountain, in a breath-taking setting, the current house, built in 1730 by Robert Castles/Casslles, stands on the site of a castle dating from the 13th century. It was once one Ireland’s most beautiful homes, however this changed with a fire in 1974 that destroyed the entire upper level of the house and most of the main reception rooms and bedrooms with it. Now restored and reopened since 1996, much restorative work has been done by the new owners the Slazenger family. There are spectacular gardens to visit – the Italian, Japanese and Victorian Walled Gardens, and also a beautiful ornate Italian style stairway down to the lake. The complex houses a coffee shop and small shopping area – complete with great brands such as Avoca and Hunter. A beautiful house in a beautiful part of the world, Powerscourt is certainly a must see! For more information visit Powerscourt or check our blog The Garden of Ireland - Wicklow.
 
Powerscourt House, County Wicklow
 
 
All the houses that I visited were amazing and really had so much to offer a visitor – so whether you want a ramble around some grounds, or to learn more about Irish history, or even just want to enjoy a frothy cappuccino amidst beautiful surroundings you are certainly spoilt for choice in Ireland!
 
Why not plan your tour of Ireland’s great houses with our help!? Plan your tourireland.com Custom Tour today!

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