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.

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