A grand, mid 18th century mansion set on a slope above Bantry Bay with the mountains behind. Wander formal Italianate gardens with a tall stone stairwell to the sky. Sip tea in plush wicker chairs while watching the rain wet rose petals outside. Browse the leather-backed books in the library where tapestries woven for Marie Antoinette drape the walls. Learn about the history of the Surveillante in the French Armada Centre. Or stay overnight in a fully restored room.
The descendents of the White family still live in this home. It has been in their family since the early 1700s. It was built foremost as a family home and also to reflect the status and wealth of the Earls of Bantry. It has served many purposes throughout history: serving as a Hospital during the Civil War and as barracks during the Emergency. In 1947, Clodagh and Geoffrey Shelswell-White opened its doors to the public. Restorations in 1978 help make the house both accessible to tourists and a location for functions and events. It has since served as a setting for world-class festivals.
How to get there
From Kenmare, take N71 south to Bantry.
From Cork, take N22 west to outside Crookstown. From Crookstown, take R585 southwest to Kealkill to main N71 highway. Take N71 south to Bantry.
See www.buseireann.ie website for all current travel details and restrictions.
Open daily; March – October, 10AM to 6PM.
House, Gardens, and Armada Centre: 10 euro
Gardens and Armada Centre: 5 euro
Children under 14 years of age accompanied by and adult: free
Dogs must be kept on a lead.
The Bantry House and Gardens
Bantry, Co. Cork
Tel: +353 037 50047
When to go
Callino Quartet and Friends in April. West Cork Chamber Music Festival at the beginning of July – highly recommended. Masters of Tradition in mid August.
Written by Liz O'Malley - Summer of Travel 2007