Sunday, May 3, 2015

Bluebell Festival, A Folly & His Lordship



The Fox hounds entertain us
Our destination this morning was Curraghmore House for the Bluebell Festival, a benefit supporting cancer patients.


Curraghmore House in Waterford is the historic home of the 9th Marquis of Waterford, Henry de la Poer Beresford also known as Lord Waterford.  His ancestors (the de la Poers) came to Ireland from Normandy following a 100-year stopover in Wales around 1170.
Some 2,500 acres of formal gardens, woodland and grazing fields make this the largest private demesne in Ireland.

A Folly - The Shell House Photo Helen Tilston

The Shell House

Hidden in a shrubbery near the main House at Curraghmore, is the most enchanting Shell House, created by Catherine Countess of Tyrone with 'her proper' hands in 1754.


Statue of Catherine, Countess of Tyrone by John Van Nost

The decoration of the folly took her 261 days to complete and the intricate patterns of shells from all over the world still glow with colour above a statue of the Countess by John van Nost.

Interior of Shell House Photo Helen Tilston 

Records indicate that Lady Catherine herself negotiated with Captains of ships sailing to and from the important Georgian Harbour at Waterford to collect and return shells to her from all over the World.  

We were thrilled to meet Lord Waterford at the Shell House and hear from him about it's construction. 

I apologize for the quality of my photos, taken on i-Phone on an overcast Sunday.




33 comments:

  1. Fascinating post. Building a place out of shells must have been like treasure hunting at the seashore. I think I saw the folly on a television movie, two people chatting at the table by the window.

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    1. Hello Maywyn. Thank you for stopping in. It was difficult to photograph the Folly as there was too much light within. It is absolutely spectacular and one can stare and look and admire the patterns and sculptural effects created. It would be a dream to have a candlelight dinner in the folly.
      Helen xx

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  2. What a treat that must have been! The folly is marvelous--I would love to see it.

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    1. Hello Jen, It is well worth seeing and what I pity I was unable to do it justice with my i-phone. Worth a visit. Helen xx

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  3. What a beautiful work of art and a huge undertaking. It really makes me want to do something with some of my shells....in a small fashion! Your photos are great my friend. And thanks for your sweet comment and words of encouragement. Sweet hugs, Diane

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    1. Hello Diane, You would love the Folly and I think you should do something with your shells. My friend, in Florida, has created some marvellous mirrors using found shells. Hope you are feeling much better.
      Helen xx

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  4. Loved you sharing that post. So interesting.

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  5. Fascinating accomplishment. I wonder what purpose she had for the building? Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful week.

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    1. Hello Bonnie, The Folly would be the perfect place to escape to to meditate, read or I could think of a multitude of things. Wishing you the joys of the week too
      Helenx

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  6. Stunning looking place! I love these big houses that are still in private hands, it gives a glimpse into a life now mostly gone.

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    1. Helly Jenny, It is a stunning place and like so many fine houses the expense and upkeep is enormous. Hope they find creative ways to maintain their history
      Helen xx

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  7. A Bluebell Festival is a lovely idea, and what a great location for it. The Shell Folly is wonderful, something I would really enjoy, and with a great history behind it. The statue of the Countess is beautiful too, and a shrubbery is a nice location for it. My son is in Ireland at the moment :)

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    1. Hello Patricia
      It was indeed a very pleasant day at this House. Unexpectedly meeting Lord Waterford added to the joy. I had no idea who he was when he began chatting with me and of course I pretended to not know who he was when it did dawn on me. The games we play
      How exciting you son is in Ireland. Wish him a great visit from me
      Helen xx

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  8. I do love a folly Helen, especially one made out of shells. The one you visited created by Catherine Countess of Tyrone's own fair hands looks particularly charming, but one question Helen 'where are the bluebells?'

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    1. Hello Rosemary, You make a very good point. I did omit the important image of the bluebells but my i-phone and the light just did not do them justice. They were not in their prime, either too late or too early I am unsure which. Hope you are getting over your jet lag
      Helen

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    2. No jet lag Helen - the flight is less than flying to Florida and also travelling west causes less problems.

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  9. Such a charming post, Helen. We all need a folly in our lives, non? ;)

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    1. Hello Heather, Lovely to see you and thank you for your compliment.
      I agree with you on the need for a Folly. This particular one was so beautiful it has me dreaming
      Helen xx

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  10. You are cutting a Duchess of Devonshire figure with your life in Ireland now, Helen, and how well it becomes you. I am pleased to see you seem so happy here.

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  11. Hello Mise, You are flattering me by comparing me to royalty. I must say I enjoyed meeting Lord Waterford, unexpectedly. I had no idea and he still has no idea that I know who he is. Life is very good here.
    Hope you have a great week
    Helen xx

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  12. Hi Helen - A fun outing for a good cause. That shell folly: I want one! Okay, maybe a shell shed :) Better start collecting.....
    Cheers,
    L

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    1. Hello Loi, It was a great day. I am sure you would design and create a beautiful shell folly, in the same fashion as you decorate your home and business. Cheers, Helenxx

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  13. That must have been a wonderful day. Of course the locale caught my eye because I was born in New Waterford - hardly as elegant!

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  14. It was a very pleasant day and a joy to meet Lord Waterford.
    Wishing you a great wedding anniversary party tomorrow
    Helen x

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  15. A place made of shells!? Sounds enticing and quite an arduous task.
    I'm loving your Ireland posts, Helen. There's so much to see and know. But where are the bluebells? Hoping to see a glimpse of some fairy-dusted woodlands soon. :)

    Have a lovely day!
    Suman

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    1. Hello Suman, Lovely to have you visit. I regret that my images of the bluebells were inadequate. I neglected to bring my camera and depended on my i-Phone. Ireland is a fascinating country and rich in scenery and history.

      Have a great weekend

      Helenx

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  16. interesting reportage, and never mind for the photos.. thanks for sharing !

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    1. Hello Massimo, Thanks for your comment. I am embarrassed to show my dull photo to such a professional photographer. I love your most recent shoots

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  17. How exciting to be in Ireland Helen and to actually meet the lord of the manor.

    Wishing you a wonderful time!

    Madelief x

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    1. Hello Madelief,
      It was indeed a surprise to meet Lord Waterford. We are enjoying being in Ireland.

      Fond wishes for a superb weekend

      Helen xx

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  18. What an interesting post! The shell house sounds incredible – shells from all over the world! Thanks for taking us to your benefit outing – a good cause, indeed. Thank you also for coming to my blog.

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  19. How lovely to read your blog again. I confess to giving facebook a "go" but I have decided it isn't for me. I so prefer the fullness and value of the news and stories people share in their blogs.

    I have a three storey house and think the whole top floor is a folly! especially when I have descended to the ground floor and found I have left an important item behind!
    Cheers
    Gillian

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  20. Hi Helen,

    What an intriguing story and interesting history behind the Shell House! Your photos are wonderful and in the last, it is quite easy to see the actual shells.
    Catherine, Countess of Tyrone certainly sounds like a determined and adventurous lady!

    Wishing you a wonderful spring weekend,

    xx
    Poppy

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