Saturday, October 20, 2012

Dromana House - our visit

Dromana House and Gardens offers tours during the early months of summer.
We were very fortunate to be given a private tour, by the family, when we visited in September.
The House has been in the Villiers-Stuart family and their descendants for 21 generations.
 Dromana is situated high above the Blackwater River in County Waterford, Ireland.
 The House was originally a medieval castle built by the powerful FitzGerald family. By the end of the 17th Century, Dromana House was destroyed after a number of sieges but it was rebuilt. Between the 1750s and 1820s many additions were made to the house including a “great bow-sided ballroom.” There were also two large walled gardens on the estate.
During the 1820s the Dromana estate was in ownership of 30,000 acres.  Today there is 30 acres of gardens and approximately 600 acres of forest land.
 The avenue, which stretches up to 4 kilometres, is now publicly owned with the Hindu Gothic styled gate lodge over the River Finisk leading to Dromana House


 Our guide, the mother of current owner Barbara Grubb passionately told us the history of all 21 generations.  This she told through portraits and family photographs. One, the Countess of Desmond who apparently lived until she was 140 years old.


 As we prepared to take or leave I questioned a sketch of Daniel O"Connell in the hallway. Beneath the sketch was this desk upon which was drafted the "Catholic Emancipation Act"

Upon this desk was drafted "The Catholic Emancipation Act"


Daniel O'Connell


Daniel O'Connell (6 August 1775 – 15 May 1847); often referred to as The Liberator, or The Emancipator, was an Irish  political leader in the first half of the 19th century. He campaigned for Caholic Emancipation —the right for Catholics to sit in the Westminster Parliament denied for over 100 years.
View from Dromana Castle facing north toward the Vee




The Blackwater River by Dromana House, Helen Tilston

We are silent as we consider the history of this house and that 21 generations have lived here.  The current owner has two young sons and history shall continue.

 As we drive home, we play this Cd


 

70 comments:

  1. 21 generations, mind boggling! That beautiful gateway is exactly the sort of approach I would like to my own house- if I was a millionaire! :)

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    1. Hello Jenny

      You nailed it when you said "mind boggling". The extraordinary Hindu Gothic gate lodge was build in 1849 by Lord Stuart de Decies, from whom the present family at Dromana House are descendants. Local tradition says it was put up as a temporary structure to welcome ome a honeymoon couple who were so impressed they had a permanent structure erected. Keep buying the Euro lottery tickets, one never knows

      Helen xx

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  2. It must be lovely to be in a place where your ancestors have lived since 21 generations! No wonder you were silent considering the history of this beautiful house and amazed that once ancestor had lived for 140 years - that's mind blowing! Could it be that she had cheated a little about her date of birth? Well, I am just wondering... Thanks for this lovely post from much admired Ireland! Christa

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    1. Hello Christa.

      It was indeed a historical moment to visit this House. There are many rumours about her age and even one says she grew another set of teeth but I shall leave that one alone.
      Thanks for your kind comments and wishing you a great weekend

      Helen xx

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  3. A very interesting post Helen. And very nice photographs too.
    There is a Dromana in Victoria and I always wondered where the name came from.
    I love the mirror in what looks like the drawing room and I also like the Hindu Gothic look. That is an expression I hadn't heard of before.
    Kirk
    PS
    I have heard the story of the Countess of Desmond. Dame Edith Sitwell wrote one of her super poems about it too. It is entitled 'On the Vanity of Human Aspirations'

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    1. Hello Kirk

      Thank you for commenting and your kind words.
      The Hindu Gothic as it is known at Dromana House, was installed to welcome a returning wedding couple form honeymoon - it was loved by the couple and they build a permanent installation.
      Thank you for telling me about Dame Edith Sitwell's poem on The Countes of Desmond herself. I see from the poem she fell from an apple tree to her death. I am delighted you mentioned Edith Sitwell and her peotry has peaked my interest, I shall be finding more about her.

      How are your travels progressing?

      Helen xx

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  4. What a delightful house this is Helen! It reminds me of Sezincote house and gardens, which we visited when last time in England. It has the same Hindu style. The gate lodge looks like a lovely building and such beautiful scenery!

    Have a lovely weekend,

    Madelief x

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    1. Hello Madelief

      It is a special house and the situation is incredible with sound never ending views. I remember your post on Sezincote House which I enjoyed very much.

      Have a great weekend

      Helenx

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  5. What a wonderful adventure! Thank you for sharing, I cannot wait to visit Ireland one day.
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Nathalie

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    1. Hello Nathalie

      It was a fascinating tour and so much to absorb. I hope you visit Ireland and I know you would find it to your satisfaction.

      Thanks for the good wishes and likewise to you for a great weeekend

      Helenx

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  6. Hello Kirk

    Thank you for commenting and your kind words.
    The Hindu Gothic as it is known at Dromana House, was installed to welcome a returning wedding couple form honeymoon - it was loved by the couple and they build a permanent installation.
    Thank you for telling me about Dame Edith Sitwell's poem on The Countes of Desmond herself. I see from the poem she fell from an apple tree to her death. I am delighted you mentioned Edith Sitwell and her peotry has peaked my interest, I shall be finding more about her.

    How are your travels progressing?

    Helen xx

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  7. What a lovely visit you are having. I have yet to go to Ireland and have a long list of places to see. This is now on that list. Yes, I too know the Dromana in Victoria, Australia. I had thought it an Italian name!
    Cheers Gillian

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    1. Hello Gillian.
      My brother Thomas is keen on history and architecture as we are and we find these visits interest all of us. We had glorious weather too. I was unaware that there is a Dromana in Victoria, no doubt a connection.

      Wishing you a week of joy

      Helenxx

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  8. That gateway is completely unexpected, but absolutely wonderfully fitting at the same time. I am in awe of the 21 generations that have kept this house...good on them.

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    1. Hello Chania

      As I mentioned above to Kirk and Jenny, the Hundu/Gothic sturcture was initially a temporary measure but they liked it so much that a permanent building was designed.
      The house had much history.

      Helenxx

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  9. Ireland is wonderful, isn't it? ( I would say that of course, being Irish!) Sounds like you're having a fantastic time - you make me wish I was there with you. I love visiting places like Dromana.

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    1. Hello Sulky Kitten. I am glad to know you are Irish also. Now I know where your quick wit, excellent writing and wicked sense of humour hails from.

      Wishing you a joyful weekend

      Helen xx

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  10. Helen....You've taken me back to Ireland. To have a home where so many generations walked the halls would be amazing. I would love to be so connected to my ancestors. I am ready to return to that beautiful country.

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    1. Hello Bonnie

      Thanks for reading my post and your favourable comment.
      For many of us, it was not possible to remain in the one household. I am ready to return too and we keep saying this time three weeks ago we were doing so and so....

      Save those travel dollars.

      Helenxx

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  11. What a delightful House and Gardens, and how lucky you were to be given a tour by a family member. In the New World we think of a building 200 years as "old." What an entirely different perspective there is about old in Europe!. Lovely pictures; thank you so much for sharing with us your visit there.

    Hope you are having a great autumn weekend.

    Sanda

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    1. Hello Sanda

      Being in the company of the owners and hearing their passionate account of Dromana made the visit very special for us. Yes the history of Europe and Ireland is an ongoing lesson.
      I am happy to read you enjoyed this post
      Have a delightful Sunday

      Helen xx

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  12. What a beautiful home and scenery. Amazing that it has been in the family for 21 generations. Very interesting history, I'm sure.
    Mary Alice

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    1. Hello Mary Alice

      It is highly unusual to have had so many generations live in one property. The scenery surrounding Dromana is absolutely breath-taking.

      Hope your day is special

      Helen xx

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  13. Hello Helen

    Your tour in this post made me feel so good. What beautiful places and elegant rooms they are! The gateway looks fantastic! Listening to the music in the video, I enjoyed reading the long history of the castle. I suppose that the handsome gate has a long history too and must have experienced various kinds of changes. I've never been to Ireland but have a few friends there. I want to go there someday!!

    PS I read your former posts too and found the harp post fascinating. I in fact read it three times. Before I read it, I'd never thought of the harp as a symbol. Thank you so much!!

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    1. Hello Sapphire

      Having friends in Ireland you must go and visit and I know you will love it. I would love to see your images and hear your view point. Yes the gate was initially a temporary structure to welcome home a returning honeymoon couple (he had served in India, thus the Hindu style) The couple loved it and a permanent structure was installed. If you know the Irish people they are forever making up names and poems about places and the bridge has many silly names - too numerous to name. Hee, hee.

      Thank you for honouring me by reading my previous post in such detail.

      Wishing you a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  14. What a remarkable ceiling and a rich heritage.

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  15. Dear Helen - what a very special privilege to be given a tour of Dromana House by a member of the family. The house and gardens stand in a wonderful situation surrounded by the hills and water.
    I am now going to go and look up the Dame Edith Sitwell's poem which Kirk mentions. She is one of my favourite English characters, an extraordinary looking women, you will enjoy discovering her.
    No doubt there is much myth surrounding the Countess of Desmond's age - and the Irish are such brilliant story tellers.
    Are you still in Ireland?

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    1. Hello Rosemary

      Thank you for visiting. It was a very special tour and I know you will love it when you visit. Time got away from us and we did not tour the garden. We did meet their three dogs and guess what? There was the grandmother, mother and pup.
      Again the lineage continues even in their canine world.
      I am anxious to read of Dame Edith Sitwell and she is stunning from the portraits I've seen.
      The Countess of Desmond there are many stories and one rumour is that perhaps she had a daughter at a young age and the birth certificates got fiddled with.

      We are no longer in Ireland but our hearts remained there for a few more weeks.

      Helen xx

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  16. Just gorgeous! My daughter is reading a book called Skellig - I just made the connection :)

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    1. Thanks for commenting and how interesting that your daughter is reading a book with the title of Skellig. Is it about life on Skellig Michael?

      To a great weeek.

      Helen xx

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  17. Helen... you are very passionate about your native Ireland and I can see you can't stay away for too long. Who can blame you? It's a country rich in culture, traditions, beauty and lovely people!

    The house is magnificent... a real treat for lovers of history and beautiful "things!" The British Isles and their inhabitants know how to love, cherish and celebrate the past.

    The first time I came here, I remember "smelling", feeling and sensing the past.I knew I was breathing in history and I was bewitched!

    Thank you for your ongoing celebration of your country. I love that, as I feel the same towards my native Italy!

    My aunt, in Italy lived to be 105! 140... I find that really hard to believe, don't you?

    Happy Sunday!

    ANNA
    xx

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    1. Hello Anna

      You are so right when you say I cannot stay away from Ireland for long. The sense of belonging returns each time we land at Shannon Airport. The Custom's & Immigration Officer on entering when returning my passport (which has country of birth listed) says: "Welcome Home Helen".
      A small and tiny comment, which means so much. North American Customs and Immigration have forgotten that Tourism is necessary.

      I am sure that living in England and Italy provides you with much joy

      What a wonderful age is 105. What do you suppose was her secret? Perhaps a blog posting on this!

      Thanks for you visit Anna

      Helen xx

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  18. Hi Helen,

    The angle of the stone construction and the water below in your first photo caught my attention. Then, the story of this dramatic property kept it! How intriguing it all is! Thanks for the engaging history lesson on the house and the people who enjoyed it.

    Poppy

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    1. Hello Poppy

      I am happy to hear you liked this post. I took some pictures but not as many as I would have liked as our schedule got away from us.
      The history of the House I am still trying to absorb.

      Helen xx

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  19. Dear Helen,
    I cannot find words for how this post has left me amazed.
    I read it, then played the music of "The foggy dew".. it brought tears to my eyes.
    I feel Ireland calling me.
    Most beautiful Helen. The gothic Hindu gates , the river and its stillness and beauty
    thank you so much ..It was as if an angel is telling me something.
    xxx val

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    1. Hello Val

      Your kind words are welcome.

      I know you would love Ireland, Val and knowing your mother's family lived here will make it even more special.

      The situation of Dromana is spectacular and had time permitted, we could have taken a boat from Youghal up the Blackwater River to Dromana House. The River is also used to transport lumber from the woods of Dromana.

      Have a great Sunday

      Helen xx

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  20. What a marvellous exotic lodge entrance to have at the entrance to a home, very regal indeed. I should like one too:)

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    1. Hello Paul

      You have exquisite taste and the entrance is very elegant and exotic.

      Have a great Sunday

      Helen xx

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  21. Enchanting! Thank you and a happy Sunday to you.

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    1. Hello Becky

      Thank you for visiting and wishing you a week of joy

      Helen xx

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  22. 140 years old! I have to ask, Helen, do you believe this?

    I am happy to learn that one of the additions, after such a besieged history, was a ballroom. Becky is right. This was an enchanting post.

    Also, Helen, I would love to thank you for your intelligent words on my 'skeletons' post. I do believe the ears on which my pitch landed were sharp as those of a fox. Thank you, thank you for your prayers.

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    1. Hello Suze

      Well the Tour Guide told us so it must be true : ) :)
      I am sure there is more to the story and the Countess of Desmond would provide a good story if researched.

      I am always delighted to comment on your blog and that your words fell on good and sharp ears.

      Have a wonderful week

      Helen xx

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  23. You get to see the most wonderful places, Helen! Dromana House looks beautifully maintained, cherished and respected. I hope you wrote a momentuous postcard from the desk.

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    1. Hello Mise

      Thanks for your visit. I would say the maintainence and care of Dromana is an ongoing concern. I wish I had remembered to do as you suggest, pen a postcard. You should have cancelled all your plans and accompanied me.
      On that nice thought, wishing you a week of joy
      Helen xx

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  24. Helen,
    What a beautiful house and setting. How amazing that it has been in the same family for so long. There can't be many homes with that claim!
    the music and video was fantastic too. Thank you for taking us along.
    Sarah x

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    1. Hello Sarah

      You are right, there cannot be many houses with such an ongoing history. I am happy to hear you enjoyed our music choice.
      Wishing you a week of goodness

      Helen xx

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  25. Dear Helen ~
    I am a first time visitor. Thanks for the introduction to Dromana House. 21 generations? Such history and impressive lineage! The approach with the exotic lodge is truly dramatic. Enjoyed this post.
    Greetings from Wash, DC ~
    Loi
    Tone on Tone
    PS - Have you seen The Irish Country House narrated by Anjelica Huston?

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    1. Dear Loi Thai

      A warm welcome to you and I look forward to future visits.
      It is most unusual to have had 21 generations at Dromana House. The history is so intensive - one could make several documentaries and still not cover all the events.
      I am not familiar with The Irish Country House but will seek it out, thank you. Angelica Houston lived and went to school in Galway Ireland for some years.

      Have a great week.

      Helen xx

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  26. Hi Helen. Thank you for dropping by and your lovely comment! Would love to have you visit Cape Town, just the place for an artist! What an impressive bit of history to live with. Simply enchanting...

    Veronica
    xx

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    1. Hello Veronica

      Thank you for visiting and a warm welcome to you. Dromana and the area is rich in history and the scenery is absolutely breath-taking. I would love to visit Cape Town and one of my passions is painting the seaside an ocean.
      Some day!

      Have a wonderful week

      Helen xx

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  27. WOW what a beautiful place, Helen! Truly a gem of a vacation and such a grand portal into your beautiful heritage!!! THANK YOU for writing ONE TRUE SENTENCE, per Hemingway!

    You are just so kind and every word means a lot to me!

    Have a magnificent day! Anita

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    1. Hello Anita

      Dromana House and the surrounding countryside is breath-taking. I hope you visit one day.

      It is always a pleasure to visit your beautiful blog

      Helen xx

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  28. Hello Helen:
    Dromana house is exceedingly attractive and so beautifully situated at the river's edge. And, how very special for you to have been given a private tour, to have such a personal introduction to the house makes everything so much more significant and poignant. In these times of change how strangely comforting it is to read that 21 generations have lived in the house. A great sense of continuity and a wonderful feeling of permanence in an increasingly, we feel, unstable world.

    The music added a hauntingly atmospheric background to the post. Perfect!

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    1. Hello Jane and Lance

      Meeting the family was an added pleasure and yes it is rare to meet one whose ancestors return 21 generations. We all felt that a quick visit to our history books would have been an advantage prior to taking the tour. There was much to absorb and like all families, many different characters and personalities, black sheep included.

      Thank you for listening to the music.

      Glad to see you back and writing again.

      Helen xx

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    2. Dearest Helen,

      We realise that there have been some funny things happening with your blog but just wish to say that you have 'disappeared' as a follower from our Friend Connect section. The number is still the same but your picture seems to have slipped away......hoping that it will come back on the afternoon tide!!!!! J and Lxx

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    3. Hello J and L
      Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I will follow up and let your know.

      My best
      Hxx

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  29. Helen, you had to have been in heaven! These photos are so wonderfully exciting to see!

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    1. Thank you for your comments and we were indeed in heaven and felt privileged to see such a place and meet the family.

      Helen xx

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  30. Hello Helen. Thank you for stopping by chez moi today. It's always a pleasure to hear from you. I have so enjoyed this story, and your beautiful pictures of Dromana house. One day, one day, I wil make it to Ireland... Thank you, too, for the beautiful piece at the end of the post. I listened to it several times in a row as I was replying to my readers :-) Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

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    1. Hello Veronique

      Thank you for the pleasure of your visit. I know how difficult it is for you living in the USA and visiting France, it is impossible to leave family and home country and visit Ireland. They just would not understand!! I know how my family feel if I entertained such a thought! hee hee

      I am happy you listened to the music and liked it so much.

      Have a lovely weekend

      Helen xx

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  31. Thank you for the wonderful tour, Helen. The house with its longstanding history appears quite intriguing, and that sapphire blue river by its side adds so much to its beauty.
    The gateway looks so much like the archways of the tombs here in Hyderabad. I find the weathered green dome particularly charming.

    Have a lovely week.

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    1. Hello Suman

      The setting of Dromana is quite spectacular and I did not take nearly enough photographs. Sometimes when visiting and chatting it is difficult to do and one does not want to appear rude and inattentive.

      How interesting that the gateway resembles the tombs in Hyderabad. One ancestor and dweller obviously spent time in India.

      Have a weekend of joy and inspiration.

      Helen xx

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  32. Helen, this was an awesome tour. Think that is true about the 140 years?

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    1. Thanks for your comment. Like you, I think there might be some slip of the pen when birth or death certificates were signed. Hmmm maybe we will never know

      Helen xx

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  33. my mom has been to ireland and i have never been.
    this post makes me feel as i need to go.

    thanks for the kinds words
    xox

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    1. Hello Renee

      I would love to hear of your inspiration and views on the interior design scene in Ireland.

      It is always a joy to visit you

      Helen xx

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  34. Fascinating Helen. So much history and beauty. It must have been a marvel to see! XO

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    1. Thanks for your visit. You are right,so much history. It is often difficult to absorb and my schooling was in Ireland but I am still learning.

      Helen xx

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  35. Hello Helen, what a beautiful trip I have just been on complete with haunting, melancholy music...wonderful. I just cannot imagine living in a house that has been going for 21 generations, having always been a bit of a gypsy, but it must give one a real sense of history and permanency. Thank you for telling us all about it. Love Linda x

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  36. Beautiful place and the view was great! A perfect place to unwind. Wish I can visit the place too. :)

    philippine homes

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