Saturday, 29 October 2016

Where the Gentry Played

I am going to take you on a short tour to a special cottage. A cottage that is one of kind and the only one to be found on the island of Ireland. The name of this place is SWISS COTTAGE for it was meant to represent an abode in the Alps.



The River Suir 2km east of Cahir in Co. Tipperary.
After parking our car we walked along a path through the woods
and down to the river bank and across an iron bridge.


Up the stone steps to the arched entrance and under a stone carving.


The Cat with two tails a symbol of the Gobán Sáor.

The legend is that one day Gobán Saor was wandering and looking for a job so he saw a church being built and asked the site master if they needed a worker. The master asked Gobán what he was able to do, and to test him he asked him to carve a cat with two tails out of a block of stone while the other men stopped for lunch, because nobody could carve something like that in such a short time. Which he did. When they finished their lunch the stone was finely carved with a cat with two tails.



We entered a long white tunnel to enter Swiss Cottage. 



 A delightful "cottage ornée" built in 1810 by Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall to a design by regency architect John Nash. The interior contains a spiral staircase in the hall linking two downstair rooms to the two bedrooms all of which are elegantly decorated. The wallpaper in the Salon and bedrooms is a cotton linen paper by the Dufour factory and was one of the first commercially produced Parisian wall covering. 







I was told by the guide that the four roomed cottage cost £10,000 to build an enormous sum of money. No expense was spared every window pane is a different size, no two walls or doors are of the same shape or thickness, every step of the spiral staircase is of a different height and width. Even the exterior designs on the outside change.





In this cottage the Lords and Ladies played at being peasants, for them it was an entertainment, not so for their servants who still had to prepare the food in an underground room and deliver it to a doorway at which they were not allowed to go beyond. For here they were met by her ladyship dressed in similar garb as themselves only of better quality.



The Dining Room


The Salon - a place of entertainment and horseplay.



The two likenesses of her Ladyship: herself in formal wear
wearing a hat and in peasant costume.

You my readers need to visit Swiss Cottage for yourselves to truly appreciate the place. 
I have visited twice and found that to be sufficient for me, I can best describe it as a unique experience and building is definitely 
an oddity.









24 comments:

  1. Hi Mel - what an extraordinary place ... definitely needs to be visited to believe what you're telling us - though I don't disbelieve you ... I'd love to see it. Fascinating history ... amazing!

    Cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you Hilary and as I was writing the blog it came to me that of all the places that I show on the blog, then this the one that will truly entice and charm Hilary into making a visit !

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  2. That's an icredible building, love the carved cat!

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    1. Yes, it is Simon thank you for the comment.

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  3. You certainly paint the kind of picture of it thatmakes me want to visit it with the farmer - we love Ireland - maybe one day we will be back and if we are this will be on our list.

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    1. We await your visit and welcome your arrival :-)
      Thank you.

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  4. Good to be rich or so they tell me. Interesting looking place.

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    1. Old money Janet that's all. Thank you for commenting.

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  5. What a fascinating place. I love the arched entrance with the steps going up to it.

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    1. Yes, walking up there was entrancing, for it had a dream like quality. There are only two entrances and both are via tunnels and the cottage is not visible from any approach - completely private.

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  6. Yes, I do need to visit. It's magical in pictures. I can't imagine what it would be like to actually be there!

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    1. Betwixt the aroma of turf smoke and the pint of Guinness plus the table fresh Salmon you would believe yourself to be in Heaven and you would be Right :-)

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  7. It is certainly a beautiful place and I love the idea of the gentry 'playing' at being peasants. I bet the actual peasants didn't appreciate it though xxx

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    1. After the cottage was built her Ladyship noticed that the view of their castle was impeded by twenty-three of the castle servants cottages betwixt the two places. So she had them removed to provide a clear line of sight; wasn't that nice of her ?

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    2. so thoughtful, but when you're the boss I guess you get your own way. Now the politicians carry this habit on, ha.

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    3. As with the Dakota pipeline and the fracking, but not in their backyards.

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    4. You are absolutely right.. This breaks my heart to see this happening ... men with guns bullying and whipping people into submission.

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    5. So much for civilised behaviour ?

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  8. This is truly unusual. when a person has everything, they have to think up games to play to amuse themselves.. I bet the real peasants didn't find it amusing. Funny how the upstairs downstairs thing was so prevalent.. what a different life it must have been

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    1. Class distinction and hypocrisy are two words that come to mind.

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  9. Elegantly picturesque the 'cottage' but a damning indictment of social history as it was played out!

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  10. Correct Thelma. For it was built three years after the 1798 Rising in which thousands were slaughtered by British Forces
    and their graves are scattered like confetti all over the land.

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