Jane Moyle writes:- I was delighted to receive various contributions from our members who apparently enjoyed the visit to ' Georgian Dublin' very much.
I think it was the contrasts that people enjoyed so much. We went from the magnificent fully restored 'Versailles of Dublin' - Castletown House, Casino Marino and Trinity College, with the Book of Kells and magnificent Library - to the eccentric owners of 13 Henrietta Street, with its Georgian plaster hanging off the walls, as part of their wishes. WE visited Helen Dillon's world famous town garden, which left garden lovers gasping with wonder. We were guests of the Hon. Desmond Guinness, at Leixlip Castle, President of the Irish Georgian Society, who has done so much to preserve Georgian architecture in Ireland.We ate a wondrous dinner at the unlikely named, 'Pig' Ear' restaurant, as well as finishing off the holiday 'Irish' whiskey tasting and singing our heads off at Jameson's distillery. But to finish by visiting the most magnificent Dalsaney Castle and the never to be forgotten, Lady Dalsaney, left us all with the fondest memories of one of the craziest, but most unforgettable holidays any of us will ever remember. It was a total 'one-off' and it could only have happened in glorious Ireland.
Huge credit and thanks for all this goes to Sue Uda, Managing Director of 'A Touch of Ireland'. www.atoi.ie
From Chris Lee:- From Dot Carrington:- Our large Brecknock group came upon a welcoming Dublin and River Liffey bathed in warm May sunshine with blossoming scented gardens and lacey trees in all shapes and sizes. To see Georgian Dublin was the aim, and there were plenty of instances of the 'wow' factor as we visited plain fronted houses but with attractive and varying fan lights above the doors in Dublin's Georgian streets. Stepping inside we saw unbelievably beautiful plaster work on ceilings and walls and elegant staircases in various exotic woods and metals with most houses crammed with eye-catching objets d'arts. We were accompanied throughout by John, a senior advisor and architect of the Georgian society, who answered many questions and gave endless colourful information on every subject. Visits to Trinity College, the imposing Newman House, the pleasure house Casino Marino were followed by' a sumptuous dinner at The Pig's Ear in town. A day spent in County Kildare brought us to Killadoon owned by a well-connected Clements family and stuffed with antiques to die for, to the Palladian mansion Castleton House and to 12th century Leixlip Castle where its owner, the Honourable Desmond Guinness and his wife were most generous with wine and canapés, topping up everyone's glass in their historic front hall before showing us the other amazing rooms and the garden. I have never seen so many luxurious four-poster beds in such a short time nor heard so many amazing and magical Irish tales. Highlights were the generosity and welcome everywhere, including that of the charismatic South American Lady Dunsany at Dunsany Castle, the interior of Newbridge House and the whiskey tasting, dinner and music at Jamesons distillery. Jane Moyle arranged this delightful visit helped by our Chairman Dorcas Cresswell both of whom received many compliments for its huge success.
Brecon NADFAS have just spent 5 gloriously sunny days in Dublin. We went to see Georgian houses and were repaid royally.
We visited these properties in and around Dublin in the hands of an excellent guide, who was both an architect and connoisseur. We were also privileged to meet Mr Desmond Guinness who has been such a generous patron of Georgian restoration in Ireland.
Having recently been to Bath with the Group, we were interested to hear of the social differences between the two cities, which are reflected in the architecture. In Bath the upper echelons of society rented apartments for the "season" and went out to public places for their entertainment. In Dublin many of the houses were owned by society people who used them to entertain their friends when Parliament was in session. Thus the interiors of the houses in Dublin were full of pomp and circumstance, while their exteriors were generally less impressive than their counterparts in Bath.
We visited furnished and unfurnished buildings. Of the furnished, I particularly liked Dunsany Castle, especially the main salon with its spectacular soft furnishings, and I also enjoyed the magnificent Italianate ballroom at Castletown. Of the unfurnished buildings, the Casino at Marino stands out as an exquisite example of intricate and painstaking restoration.
But, one place that stood out for me was neither furnished nor unfurnished - somewhere between the two! This was the Casey family's home in Henrietta Street, where seven children had been raised over a period of some forty years, while the Caseys carried out the restoration of a formerly derelict building. We got an incredible insight into Georgian interiors in the raw as we gawped at broken banisters and naked walls. Michael Casey came across as a man on fire, with a huge passion for scholarly effort and exactitude.
Our bodily needs were well catered for. We ate and drank mightily, if not always wisely. A meal at the so-called "Pig's Ear" restaurant was the highlight of our gastronomic experience. If I say we had dishes that combined chicken and fish, you will realise why the food is described as "quirky". Another highlight was a noisy and boozy evening at the Jameson Distillery, where we were asked to taste three different whiskies, Irish (Jamesons), Scotch and Bourbon. The number of us who preferred the Scotch nearly resulted in our immediate expulsion. However, all was forgiven in a mighty concluding sing-song.
In all this Irish euphoria let us not forget our coach journey to and from Hollyhead, a trip through spectacular Welsh countryside, through a string of river valleys under the constant eye of hills and mountains.
Finally, yet again a vote of thanks to our intrepid organisers, Jane and Dorcas, who were such stars in last year's trip to Jordan. But everyone else on the coach should take a bow for their easy-going camaraderie, tolerance and good humour.
(To be hummed to the tune of Molly Malone) To Dublin’s fair city with houses so pretty, We first set our eyes on dear Helen Dill-ON As she wheeled her wheel barrow past her roses and mallow, Singing Nadfas, Oh Nadfas, how nice to see you. Our fine driver Mark, Had a moment quite stark, In a street oh so narrow, not room for a barrow, Singing Nadfas Oh Nadfas we’re stuck what to do?! But out got the chaps, and without any straps, Climbed down to the street, and heaved cars a few feet, So we had a good lunch, Casino next crunch, Shouting Nadfas, Oh Nadfas, we‘re not to be beat! We found Michael Casey, in a house not so racey, Derelict, ghostly, a cave of its own, As he laughed and he joked, about how they all coped, Singing Nadfas, Oh Nadfas, come along in! Then hearty and hale, we set off to the Pale, To see Clements and Guinness, the latter would win us, As he showed us his tower, at a late sunny hour, Singing Nadfas Oh Nadfas, the girls love me all!
Led by super guide John, we went steadily on, To Newbridge, Dunsany and Lady Insany! And Maria was fabulous, if a bit over garrulous, Singing Nadafas, Oh Nadfas, elegant all. The last night a feast, as we learned about yeast, And Jamieson laid on a very nice do, As they showed us how beer, was made tasty and clear, Singing Nadafas, Oh Nadfas, whisky galore! The ferry was vast, and really quite fast, We had a good run, Wales gleamed in the sun, And wheeled our suitcases, past Crickhowel’s quiet places, Singing Nadfas, Oh Nadfas, a wonderful trip. A relief brought fever, for Jane our great beaver, But who would have led us, with verve and no fuss, Her programme was faultless, the weather was gorgeous,
Thanks Janey and Dorcas, alive alive Oh.
Irish charming, Irish mad, Houses splendid, houses sad, Georgian elegant, Georgian fine, Thank you John (or Jane) for a wonderful time.
From John, our Guide:-
Rabbit hot, rabbit cold, Rabbit young, rabbit old, Rabbit tender, rabbit tough, Thank you Lord, we've had enough.
From Jean Nicholl Dublin was quite wonderful and my first experience of a NADFAS holiday. Having lived in two Georgian houses, the chance of going on such a trip appealed to me and I had never been to Ireland before. I stepped cautiously onto the coach at 8.00 am on the 21st May and from that moment onwards, amidst friends and fellow members and Jane’s warm welcome to everyone, I knew that I was embarking on an exciting adventure! Our programme for the four days was well thought and out varied and I was intrigued with all the places we visited. They included Trinity College and the Books of Kells; Newman House and the charming colourful and yet formal garden owned by Helen Dillon - and all that was just during half a day! And then, the medley of romantic Georgian houses which we saw, whether it was No. 13 Henrietta Street; or the Clements at Killadoon; Castletown House, built for William Connolly; or the 12thc. Leixlip Castle, home of Desmond Guinness and family. Added to those four, Newbridge House and Dunsany Castle – all in varying states of repair….! There was much to be admired in everyone of them…. Every building had a story to tell, of the people who have passed through them, of their lives and loves and within each house, lays a history that defines their heritage. We wined and dined and had delectable feasts and slept in the comforts of the old traditional hotel, Buswells. Not least, we received generous and affectionate hospitality from the families and owners of the stately homes. We went ‘out on a high’ at the end of the holiday at Jamiesons Whiskey Distillery! With many thanks to the friends who made our holiday possible – whether it was Jane, Dorcas, Sue in Ireland, John, the Architect, our superb guide with an amazing wealth of professional and historical knowledge of Dublin, the places we visited and of the Anglo-Irish history with a good sense of humour. I cannot finish this report without mentioning the fascination of the Georgian streets, their houses and the designs of the exotic Dublin doors. All my sincere thanks to you all.