The Beauty of Birr

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Anne, Countess of Rosse (1902-1992) was one of the best looking and most stylish women of her generation. Birr Castle, County Offaly is full of mementoes of her tenure as chatelelaine including this chalk portrait which hangs above a mahogany chest on the return of the main staircase. Proposing her as an 18th century beauty, the artist was Anne Rosse’s brother, Oliver Messel (1904-1978). Originally renowned as a stage designer, in later years he achieved fame for the houses he created in the Caribbean.

Dowth Update

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For those of you who have been concerned about the future of Dowth Hall (see my piece Netterville! Netterville! Where Have You Been? on December 24th last), the estate was sold at auction yesterday. Seemingly there were three interested bidders, the buyer is Irish and paid €5 million for Dowth and surrounding 420 acres (a considerably higher figure than the €3.75m guide price). A lot more will need to be spent if the house, with its ravishing rococo plasterwork, is to be brought back to good condition. Let us hope the new owner is prepared to undertake this task…
*On Thursday February 7th The Irish Times reported that Dowth’s new owner is a County Meath resident, Owen Brennan, who owns a successful agri-technology business.