As a Dubliner, I am constantly surprised at the historic buildings and breathtakingly beautiful landscapes we have within a short distance of the city centre. I love getting out for the day and taking in local history. In early October this year, liveireland visited Russborough House, and we fell in love with the place. If you are coming to Dublin in 2016 this is a must see.
While the city centre hustles and bustles, just thirty kilometres (18 miles), from Dublin city by car or bus directly lies Russborough House. Russborough can also be accessed by an easy grade, six kilometre stroll from Avon Ri Activity Centre at Blessington Lakes, along “The Greenway” trail which takes in the tranquil lakes along the water’s edge. The trail connects these two stunning serene scapes, and at the end of the trail is Russborough House, an exquisite example of Palladian Architecture.
Built in the mid 1700’s, this house, unlike other stately homes, survived unscathed by Irish rebellion and boasts some of the most incredible views of county Wicklow, the garden of Ireland.
The frontage of the house is a beholding view, the main house entrance transports you back to the 1700’s and the arch ways either side of the main building envision visitors on horseback or stage coach passing through to the rear of this wonderful property which strikes a presence above Poulaphouca Reservoir, (hole of ghosts) and Blessington Lakes.
The Leeson family commissioned the house which was designed by Richard Cassells. The Leeson’s, held the title Earl of Milltown and owned the house and its extensive grounds which were held in the family’s possession and passed from descendant to descendant until it changed hands in 1931.
The grounds hold a hippodrome, outlying stable buildings, a coffee shop, and a maze which sometimes catches the maze solvers off guard, so much so that the house provides a mobile cell number for you to call, in the event you can’t find your way out.
Again in 1952 the house was sold on and Sir Alfred and Lady Beit who purchased Russborough primarily to house their extensive art collection which had outgrown their London home.
It’s clear that they each loved the property and this exudes from the rooms. Unlike other stately homes which can be cold and museum like, the rooms in Russborough are personable and still live and breathe appreciation of art and design and appreciation of the property itself.
The collection is stunning, unique and diverse, from Louis 16th furniture and unique artworks by Rubens, Goya and Metsu collected from the 1600’s onwards, to paintings commissioned specifically for the house and fine carpets designed expressly for the grand rooms of the house sourced from both Turkey and Spain.
The only way to experience the house is by taking a guided tour for just twelve euros to be within inches of these fine priceless works of art.
Unlike other stately homes, Russborough is special in that it feels warm and lived in. Possibly owing to the fact that Lady Beit lived in the house until her death in 2005.
Stucco work by the Lafranchini brothers is enticing and differs in each room. You will find yourself drawn to the ceilings and the uniquely curved music room ceiling.
The guided tours give you enough time to feel and experience the history of each room and each work of art.
As you pass through and as you are introduced to each room, you’ll feel like you might be a guest for the night.
Note If you’re driving directly from the city centre bring two euros change for the carpark into Russborough.