Hopefully, Spring is just around the corner as we go into my favorite month! It is my favorite month for many reasons…my birthday, St. Patrick’s Day, daffodils, snowdrops, etc. etc. This month I always think a lot about my Irish roots and how that has affected both my design, entertaining, and gardening style. During March, I will be celebrating Ireland and all of its incredible beauty here at The Collected Room. We will look at houses, gardens, books, antiques, recipes, and entertaining! Today we will start at what I think might possibly be one of the most beautiful houses in Ireland, Russborough House. This house stands in County Wicklow, just outside the town of Blessington, which is south of Dublin. It faces the majestic slopes of the Wicklow mountains and has the longest façade of any house in Ireland. It also houses one of the most exquisite art and furniture collections ever assembled in Ireland. The house is only two rooms deep, which makes it light and airy. The house is built of brick and faced in Wicklow granite. This house is said to be the most perfect Georgian mansion in Ireland.
The house was built for Joseph Lessons in 1741 and in 1952 the house was purchased by Alfred Beit and his wife Clementine Mitford. The Beits lived on a grand scale and large house parties were frequently held at Russborough House. They entertained a wide variety of leading social figures- Jackie Kennedy , Rex Harrison, Fred Astaire, only to mention a few! The house had its own private cinema and guests were often treated to the latest releases. Having no direct heirs, this house was gifted to Ireland, along with its art and furniture collection, creating the Alfred Beit Foundation. In 1978, the house was opened to the public and in 1986, the Beits presented 17 Old Master paintings from their collection to the National Gallery of Ireland.
I find this library so inviting and comfortable, with the wonderful books and a cozy furniture arrangement!
This lovely Drawing Room has four seascapes by Claude-Joseph Vernets which are surrounded with elaborate plasterwork. It is such a joy to study the interior details of these magnificent homes!
Imagine the craftsmanship required to complete this carved plaster ceiling detail!
And one could certainly entertain in a lovely country house style in this dining room!
This house was designed by one of the leading country house architects of the day, Richard Cassell, who also designed Powerscourt, which is another lovely mansion in Ireland. It is quiet apparent that no expense was spared on the design and construction of this Georgian mansion!
Stay tuned later this week for some of my recent favorite Irish authors for your “Collected Irish Library”!