Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Visit to Castle Hyde, Fermoy

It is rare for the Cork Chapter to allocate a whole afternoon to visit one estate but Castle Hyde, the County Cork home of Michael Flatley and his wife Niamh, merited extra special focus and attention for our September outing.

The logistics of the visit were carefully planned and executed so that large number of vehicles were efficiently parked and the group quickly gathered on the steps of the entrance to the magnificent 18th century Palladian Castle that overlooks the tranquil waters of the River Blackwater.

We were graciously welcomed by Vivienne O'Grady and led into the fabulously restored wide 'gallery' hallway.  There, the architectural historian, Jeremy Williams, kindly acquiesced to conduct a tour of the house in two phases.

The separate staircase hallway, that houses a fine stone cantilever staircase, was accessed via the centre of the main hallway.  Visitors gazed upwards in awe at the splendour and beauty of this oval shaped masterpiece rising the full height of the house.

There is so much to appreciate and admire at Castle Hyde but what stood out for us on that memorable afternoon, was the pleasure of being able to walk the length of the entire house from one pavilion to the other, located as they are, at the eastern and western ends of the house.  Numerous reception rooms, with their priceless fireplaces, enticed you to linger along the way, but the lavish decoration of the dining room restoration and the opulence of the three storey library, all but took one's breath away.

Having made our way outdoors eventually, the fine early autumn air of the woodlands and gardens, was the perfect way to work up an appetite to further partake of our famous host's hospitality.  Back at the mansion, a truly unique and much enjoyed visit was rounded off by afternoon tea presided over by Vivienne O'Grady.

Our grateful appreciation to Niamh and Michael Flatley for welcoming the Chapter to their Cork home.  Special thanks to PA, Vivienne O'Grady, Castle Hyde staff, Jeremy Williams and to our Chapter Chair who organised the entire event.

An Evening with The Friends of Fairfax House, York and The Cork Chapter

The Cork Chapter and the Friends of Fairfax House, York, jointly hosted a unique event at the Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, for members and friends in September 2012.  The splendid sculpture gallery that houses the fine Canova castings of the Greco-Roman period, together with the magnificent Neo-Classical sculpture casts of the nineteenth and twentieth century periods, set the tone for a sparkling reception between the York and Cork friends.

Crawford Gallery Director, Peter Murray, delighted visitors with his talk on the works of art that surrounded his audience, while the Corkonians present quietly glowed with pride in the midst of their fine artistic heritage.  Buff Reid, spokesman for the York friends, conveyed her appreciation of the warm Cork Chapter céad míle fáilte.  Buff also thanked the Chapter for the help and local knowledge extended to the group in the planning of the itinerary of the South of Ireland Tour of stately homes by The Friends of Fairfax House.

Linked by common interests, everyone quickly got to know each other as stories were swapped and experiences shared.  The reception concluded with a much anticipated private tour of the gallery.  The group was happy to linger and admire the extensive collection of work on view at the gallery.

The event was a spectacular success, budding friendships blossomed and new ones were established.  Firm commitments were made to strengthen links between the two countries.  The prospect of a return visit to York by the Cork Friends remains as a possibility in the not-too-distant future.