Patrick Hennessy’s 1957 portrait of Elizabeth Bowen presides over a room dedicated to her memory in Doneraile Court, County Cork (her own home, nearby Bowen’s Court, was irresponsibly demolished in 1961). After being closed to the public for the past 25 years, Doneraile Court has once more been taken in hand by the Office of Public Works and officially reopens today. The decoration and furnishing of the ground floor rooms displays terrific flair, with a wonderful mixture of items, some in state ownership, others on loan from private collections, all blended together with aplomb. Having woken from its quarter-century slumber, Doneraile Court proves to be the sleeping beauty of Irish country houses: visits are strongly urged.
This portrait features on the cover of her Collected Short Stories. Is the marble in the fireplace Kilkenny marble? If so, it’s the same substance as the fireplaces on the ground floor of Bowen’s Court, I have a small slab found in the debris some years back.
Yes, the chimney piece is of Kilkenny marble.
That painting took my breath away. I was at Doneraile (lovely estate walks and tea room) in 2016. At Farahy church I couldn’t quite imagine Bowen’s Court. I must try to get back there now.
Great to see the place finally taken in hand. I haven’t been there for 40+ years and it was semi-derelict then. The snail’s pace of preservation in the Republic is quite unreal especially given all the money thrown at projects like the Corlea Trackway and the many other ridiculous Interpretative centres.