29 Sept 2022

BIG READ: Historic family home owners making their history come alive

In this week's Nationalist

Tipperary Tipperary Tipperary

Jonathan Manning, CEO, Historic Houses of Ireland meets the owners of Lismacue House, Genane House and Castlegarde Castle at the launch of historic family home tours

Ireland’s unique Historic Family Homes tour was launched on Tuesday, July 12, 2022. The tour covers over eight centuries of history and heritage, within three historic homes in east Limerick and south Tipperary.

The unique historic tour started at Castlegarde Castle, Cappamore. This haunted Castle was built in the 1190s by the King of Thomond, Donal Mor O’Brien.

Later the extension was added by Waller O’Grady using the well-known architects, the Pain Brothers in the 1820s.

The owner, David Thompson, made history come alive as he led the tour through the nine centuries of activity at Castlegarde, referring to numerous points of interest including the murder hole, the Guard tower, and the ghost, all taking place while his wife Hazel served coffee and homemade scones.

The second home visited was Grenane House in Tipperary. Grenane has been continuously lived in by the Mansergh family since it was built in 1700.

The visitors toured the listed house and gardens, which took in both the architectural features of the house as well as a modified history of the family.

The rooms shown included the wonderfully hand painted mural of the playroom featuring The Mice of Brambley Hedge hand painted by Marion McDonnell of Tipperary.

In the gardens the group was shown the shrubbery with its many and varied rare plants, trees and shrubs, as well as the only hazelnut walk in the country in the walled garden, dating from 1845. The final visit was to Lismacue House. This property was purchased in 1704 by the ancestor of the current owner.

The present house was completed in 1813 by William Baker to the design of the well known Kilkenny architect William Robertson.

The tour included a short history of the property visiting the drawing room, with original wallpaper and details, the dining room and inner hall, leaving many stories and features for the full tour. The tour concluded with a light lunch and lively discussion.

Historic Family Home Tours (HFHTours) was formed to provide a unique experience for groups interested in family homes and their local history.

The owners are the guides for the tour of their own home, so visitors can avail of their in-depth knowledge of each property, and stories associated with their home.

Morning coffee and scones, light lunch and afternoon tea are provided on the day tour. This is best suited to groups of 10 to 25 visitors. Smaller groups available on request.

Jonathan Manning, CEO of Historic Houses of Ireland said that it is a great experience to be warmly welcomed into these three landmark homes complete with a guided tour and refreshments by the owners.

“We were delighted to be able to sample this tour of three incredible homes, and to see first-hand what makes Ireland's historic houses such a critical part of Ireland's heritage. In one day, we traversed a thousand years of history, toured three homes steeped in stories, and explored sustainable, bio-diverse and utterly unique gardens.

“All of this and some really delicious food provided.

“What will most endear tour guests, however, is each owner’s warm welcome, deep knowledge, and infectious passion for the properties in their care,” said Mr Manning.

Further details and booking information on historic family home tours can be found on their website;

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