Near the village of Portlaw in County Waterford, the beautiful Curraghmore House was one of four Irish castles built by the Cambro-Norman De la Poer family in 1170. It remains the private home of the De la Poer Beresford family, which holds the title "Marquess of Waterford" in the British peerage system. In February 2015, John Beresford (Lord Wateford) died, and the title passed to his son, Henry Nicholas, who is now the 9th Marquis of Waterford. Curraghmore house is located about 26km / 20 miles from Waterford city.
Snippets from a visitor's tour of the gardens and shell house, with guide Basil
Lovers of Downton Abbey will appreciate this unique house tour, which lets visitors experience a formal country manor, and gives a glimpse into a life most only dream about. Tour guide Basil takes visitors around various drawing rooms and dining rooms, replete with wonderful paintings, furniture and other antiquities that have adorned Curraghmore House through the centuries.
As well as its exceptional interior and is set in magnificent grounds, claimed to be the largest private demesne (estate) in Ireland. Features include:
- An outstanding arboretum, with many different species of Irish trees that line gorgeous river walks
- A unique Shell House -- a grotto made entirely of shells
- A charming 13th Century stone bridge over the River Clodagh, called St. John's Bridge,
- Formal gardens and woodlands
The Shell House
The charming Shell House is an 18th Century garden folly created by Catherine Beresford, Countess of Tyrone. The interior of this little hut is adorned with a wide variety of shells of all shapes, sizes and colours, in ornate patterns. Lady Catherine would ask ship captains sailing to and from the ship port at Waterford to collect shells from different parts of the world. Examinations show that the shells do indeed come from different oceans around the planet. Beneath the shells in the centre of the hut is a fine marble statue of Lady Catherine, created by John van Nost the younger. A London-born sculptor (his uncle, of the same name, was Flemish) Van Nost the younger came to Ireland in 1750 and created many notable works, mostly in Dublin.
Opening Times and Fees
Open from Easter to the end of September each year
- Open Wednesday through Sunday each week (closed on Mondays and Tuesdays)
- Opening Times: 10.30am - 4.30pm
Guided tours of Curraghmore House and The Shell House on each of the open days take place at 11 am and 2 pm. Outside of these times, there is no access to Curraghmore house, even when the gardens are open. Tours take approximately 90 minutes. Important note: Be sure to check the tour times before arriving, otherwise you won't gain access to the house itself. Currently, the tour times are 11am and 2pm.
- House Tour: €10 euros per person
- Gardens and Shell House Only: €5 euros per person
- House Tour, Gardens and Shell House: €15 euros per person
Curraghmore House. Image by bt mer