Bantry House

The splendor of Bantry House, in County Cork, has its origins in revolution. In 1796 a large French invasion force set sail in an attempt to spread the Revolution to Ireland (and thence to England). The fleet was beset by storms and, when the ships reached Bantry Bay, the troops were battered, seasick and unfit to fight. While they were recovering Richard White, a local landowner, played a pivotal role in alerting the authorities and marshalling the militia, and his efforts proved so successful that the French delayed until another storm blew the fleet completely out of the bay.

White became the hero of the hour, was ennobled as Lord Bantry and began the process of enlarging Bantry House by building a new two-storied range on the seaward side of the earlier three storey building, with two interconnecting drawing-rooms along the facade.  

In the 1830s his son Viscount Berehaven, afterwards the 2nd Earl, travelled extensively on the continent with his wife Mary. They kept a series of notebooks and sketchbooks which they used as a reference when transforming Bantry into a vast late-Baroque seaside palace. Spending lavishly, they amassed a superb collection of paintings, furniture and objects and, especially of tapestries. They bought only the very best and Bantry became known as 'Ireland's Wallace Collection'.

The 2nd Earl built a new fourteen bay range on the opposite (landward) side of the original house. This has bowed ends, brick architraves to the windows and giant red brick pilasters in the intervals between the bays, which contrast beautifully with the stucco facades.

The interior is a combination of magnificence and quirkiness, with Roman tiles from Pompeii, splendid French chimneypieces and a set of Gobelin tapestries reputedly made for Queen Marie-Antoinette. Yet despite this grandeur some of the interiors appear rather makeshift and several rooms have several different ceiling heights, since they are partly in the old house and partly in the new.

The equally magnificent stable range is just north west of the house, while the house and yards are surrounded by the Berehaven’s Italian garden, with statues, balustrades and a set of stone steps which ascend the hill to give a panoramic view over the house to Bantry Bay, Whiddy Island and mountains beyond. 

Address & Contact

Bantry House, Bantry, Cork

t: +353 27 50047

f: +353 27 50795

e: info@bantryhouse.com

w: www.bantryhouse.com

Admission

March 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30 31.

April 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.

May 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.

June 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.

July 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.

August 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.

September 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30.

October 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31.

10am to 5.30pm