Return of the Native


On a table in the Gothic Saloon of Birr Castle, County Offaly, a porcelain figure looms over Cecil Beaton’s photograph of a former chatelaine Anne, Countess of Rosse. Home since 1620 to fifteen generations of the Parsons family, in the past couple of years Birr Castle has welcomed back Patrick, Lord Oxmantown, his wife Anna and their young children who were previously living in China. You can read more about their return to the ancestral seat in an article I have written for the May issue of Architectural Digest. For more, see

12 comments on “Return of the Native

  1. Penelope Bianchi says:

    How completely lovely that you have been discovered by AD! It is a lovely magazine (it did have a fuzzy phase); however, with Mitchell it has recovered and blossomed!

    I have followed you for a long time; and being part Irish myself….I have loved your every post!


    That AD is a smart bunch! my favorites! Including Howard Christian….(when he was at Treillage; he actually helped me build my house in Montecito California!!) All kinds of old and interesting architectural fragments…..and so much fun! (many years ago!)


    Can’t wait to read every word!


    ps my mother was a fan and friend of Sybill Connolly (I may have written you about her) I met her at the Lost Angeles County Museum of Art. She invited me to come to visit her in Dublin at her beautiful house (she remembered my mother); DUH!!! I missed my chance!

    I love your country, your architecture, your stalwarts…Sybill…..that divine blue eyed creature Desmond Guinness…….(I could hardly speak when I met him also at the Los Angeles County Art Museum) (those eyes!!!) Sheesh!!!!

    Delighted to see you in the United States in print! Welcome!

    Penelope Bianchi


    I am a decorator in Montecito….California…if you ever come….please visit! I have a teeny guest house….you would like Santa Barbara! You have a permanent invitation!!!

  2. Peter Davidson says:

    Another word of thanks for this delightful and instructive weblog, which I too have been following for some time with great appreciation. I am spending a few days in Ireland next week, and will do so with eyes opened by your writing and photography. Greetings from Edinburgh, the other Georgian city which “they” are always trying to wreck!

    • Thank you for getting in touch and for your very kind remarks. I hope you have a marvellous few days here in Ireland, and see plenty saved from the wrecker’s ball. You are lucky to live in Edinburgh, a wonderful city…

  3. I eagerly await the arrival of AD in the post, now that this particular treat is in store. But how nice to have a sneak preview.
    Loved “the navigationally challenged..”

  4. James Canning says:

    I read that article the other day. Great piece!

  5. lawrieweed says:

    Congratulations – Thanks for the introduction to the changing of the Guard at Birr Castle. Hope to have the opportunity to meet the charming couple. We will be in Ireland July 17-27th. Lawrie

  6. oglach says:

    Beautiful. I had no knowledge of this piece or residence until now. Thanks very much.

  7. Patrick says:

    Looks like a Doccia figure….

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