Robert O’Byrne is a writer and lecturer specialising in the fine and decorative arts. He is the author of more than a dozen books, among them Luggala Days: The Story of a Guinness House (Cico Books) and The Last Knight: A Tribute to Desmond FitzGerald, 29th Knight of Glin (Lilliput Press). A former Vice-President of the Irish Georgian Society and trustee of the Alfred Beit Foundation, he is currently a trustee of the Apollo Foundation. Among other work he writes a monthly column for Apollo magazine (http://www.apollo-magazine.com), and also contributes to each issue of the quarterly Irish Arts Review (http://www.irishartsreview.com). All opinions expressed herein on Ireland, her landscape, architecture and artefacts are his own.

324 comments on “About

  1. raymond blair says:

    Dear Sir – thank you for wonderfully informative and attractively presented features – being from Donegal I particularly enjoyed your feature on the Bishops Palace in Raphoe with its clever title, “From Bishops to Bullocks”. I have enjoyed all your articles on historical sites in Donegal and look forward to seeing some more in due course – Raymond Blair, Vice-President, County Donegal Historical Society

  2. Cathal Byrne says:

    You may have spotted this already but the painting of Oonagh Guinness by Philip de Laszlo which you described in your (excellent) book on Luggala as being whereabouts unknown since 1995 has turned up at auction at Ahlers & Ogltree Auction Gallery, Atlanta, Georgia (via The Saleroom). $30-50K + fees and it could be yours! Rgds, Cathal

  3. yvonne Bishop says:

    Dear Sir
    I just wanted to subscribe to receive your posts.
    Thank you in advance
    Yvonne Bishop

  4. BA&CC says:

    We are looking into the possible restoration of St. Brigid’s Hospital Ballinasloe and were wondering if we could use your images and report and any other information you have to support our proposal?
    Warmest regards

  5. Annabel Farrell says:

    Apologies if you already got this, I’m not sure if it went…I was wondering whether a house built in 1870 was a bit too modern?! Slevoir House near Terryglass, Victorian Italianate on the edge of Lough Derg in Tipperary. Australian-owned which must be a bit unusual, and currently lived in and run as an Airbnb by Australians who are friends of the owners. Not the most beautiful house but a wonderful location.

    • Thank you for getting in touch. As you’ll appreciate, everything is rather on hold – not least the opportunity to visit anywhere – so I really can’t comment on the building in question. Perhaps when travel outside a 5km radius is permitted again… Meanwhile, stay well.

  6. Richard Synge says:

    In case Annabel is interested, Slevoir House was once a classic Georgian country house — and home to my great great grandfather, Francis Synge, between 1840 and 1870 — after which it was sold to a General Hickey who rebuilt it in its present Italianate style. The General’s descendants continued there for some time afterwards but it has indeed changed hands in more recent years. The lakeside location is very special.

  7. Vincent Delany says:

    In relation to Slevoir house, General Hickey had a fine steam yacht called the Meta which was wrecked on the slipway and quay near the house. The steering wheel of the Meta survives in the current Lough Derg yacht Club (founded in the 1830s).

  8. Denys Breen says:

    Dear Mr O’Byrne, I have just watched the 4 videos on Mount Talbot. Fascinating, and sad. In the mid 1970s my mother attended the auction at neighbouring Clonbrock (since destroyed by fire, sadly). In the pages of a book acquired at the auction we found a copy of the Roscommon Herald dated 1897. It had been kept because it contained an article about a presentation by the Mount Talbot tenants to mark the occasion John Talbot’s arrival at with his new wife. I think you have seen that article, because the drawings of Mr and Mrs Talbot shown in the video appear in that article.

    • Thank you for your message. Yes, I am familiar with the article in question. If you’re interested in reading more about Mount Talbot, and other houses in that part of the country, I recommend a Facebook page called the Landed Estates of County Roscommon, run by Paul Connolly who also produced a very fine illustrated book on the same subject a couple of years ago…

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