White Elephants: The Country House and the State in Independent Ireland, 1922-73

Emer Crooke

Regular price €40.00

UCD Press, 2018

In post-independence Ireland, the country house was not regarded as an integral part of the national heritage. There was conspicuous public and political apathy towards these symbols of British oppression. From the 1920s to the 1970s, hundreds of former landlords' residences were sold on, demolished or simply abandoned to ruin.Despite this evident neglect, the relationship between the state post-independence and the country house has not been examined in detail to date. Analysing previously unused government records, White Elephants illustrates the complex nature of the attitudes of politicians such as Charles J. Haughey and senior civil servants to the country house. Drawing on case studies of significant Irish houses including Russborough, Bishopscourt, Hazelwood and Muckross, this book argues that the state presented a Janus face when dealing with the fates of sites of architectural heritage: simultaneously playing the conflicting roles of conservator and undertaker.

Dr Emer Crooke was awarded her PhD in September 2014 under the supervision of Professor Terence Dooley. During her academic career, she was awarded an Entrance Scholarship to Maynooth University, a Fellowship in English, the John and Pat Hume Scholarship and the Government of Ireland Irish Research Council Post-Graduate Scholarship. Dr Emer Crooke is currently working for the Irish Council for Justice and Peace.