Irish Country House
Regular price €40.00
2012, Collins Press, Hardback, 280 pages
Years of social, economic and political upheaval left the Irish Country House adrift in a changed land. Austin Clarke's poem The Planter's Daughter descibes the house of the planter being 'known by the trees', an apt desciption of their place in the landscape and society. Trees protected the occupants' privacy and lent an air of mystery but created suspicion and resentment in the community.Today, the same trees are guardians of these houses, the original owners long departed.
The once great houses arouse curiosity but we forget the wonderful architectural masterpieces they once were. Now one can comprehend in this book the loss of architectural heritage by cross-referencing period images of houses and contents in their prime with what, in many cases, are only vestiges today. Their history shares common threads. Many factors led to an ancestral pile being sold or abandoned but the most resourcefully managed or lucky survived such as Adare Manor, Aras an Uachtarain or Lough Eske Castle in Donegal that rose from the ashes. So this is not just a tale of loss and destruction. And the stories of those who built and once called these stately edifices home are highly entertaining. David Hicks was granted unprecedented access to houses, castles and unpublished photographs to produce this visual record of once beautiful buildings.