Russborough House and Hedge Maze – Staycation Ireland

Russborough House is a magnificent stately home situated in County Wicklow, Ireland.  It is one of those places that I have heard a lot about and even driven past many times, but had never visited.

Russborough House from russborough.ie

Russborough is a stunning Palladian mansion overlooking some of the most impressive views in Ireland. Designed in 1741 by Richard Cassels, it took 10 years to build what has been described as “one of the most beautiful houses in Ireland”. (Bruce Arnold, The Irish Times, 1997) With the Wicklow mountains and Blessington lakes just a stone’s throw away the setting is idyllic.

Sir Alfred and Lady Beit bought Russborough in 1952 to house their impressive art collection. They left this historic mansion, its collections and their fascinating life story to the Irish public in 1978.”

Taken from russborough.ie

We had been planning to go back to Powerscourt Estate without the dogs, so we could tour the house and gardens. I was googling the opening times and one of the hits that came up was Russborough House, which is closer than Powerscourt and has the added bonus of a hedge maze! Being the big kids that we are, the hedge maze was the clincher!

Unfortunately, photography wasn’t permitted inside the house, so you will have to make do with a bunch of shots of us in the hedge maze ‘acting the maggot’ (which is irish slang for messing around!).

The Hedge Maze

Wandering around the Hedge Maze

Having fun in the Maze

Mr Fluffytufts

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A Tourist in my own City – Part One: Glasnevin Cemetery

Yesterday, myself and Mr. Fluffy Tufts decided to play at being tourists in our own city! Unfortunately, Dublin is not very dog-friendly so that meant the four-legged creatures had to stay at home.  They enjoyed a morning walk and by the time we left, The Lads were snoozing on the couch in the living room.  Shelli likes to potter around the rest of the house, and can usually be found curled up at the end of our bed.

Glasnevin Cemetery

It seemed a bit morbid to think of a cemetery as a tourist attraction, but I had heard that there’s a very interesting visitor’s centre, so we thought we’d check it out.  On arrival, we chose the option of a walking tour and entrance to the Glasnevin Museum for 10 euro.  There is a walking tour with a real-life guide once daily at 2.30pm or alternatively, you can take a self-guided mp3 tour.

Glasnevin Cemetery was opened in 1832 and is the final resting place for 1.5 million people.  Sadly, we learned that over 700,000 of these were buried in unmarked pauper’s graves.

Watchtower built in 1842 to prevent body-snatching from Glasnevin CemeteryWe set off with our mp3 guide.  The tour was interesting and informative, however, the map wasn’t very clear, so at times we found ourselves searching in vain for the graves being described!

Highlights of the tour for us was seeing the very first grave at the cemetery and hearing about the grave-robbers who attempted to steal freshly buried corpses for anatomical use at medical schools.

At one time, grave-robbing was so prolific at the cemetery that a watchtower was built.

Watchtower at Glasnevin CemeteryArmed guards were instructed to shoot any potential ressurectionists!  Ironically, the bodies of those shot were more than likely sold to the very medical research facilities that they had been stealing corpses for in the first place!

Many of the older graves have sunk and their headstones have become damaged and displaced.  There is an extensive project taking place with the view to restoring these to their original state.

Whilst we were suitably impressed with the walking tour, we found the museum itself to be quite disappointing.  It was laid out well but almost all the information had already been given to us on the walking tour.

We did enjoy reading about the different customs and beliefs surrounding death and the after-life.  There was also a display of artefacts belonging to some of the people buried at the cemetery.

The museum only took about fifteen minutes to work through and we would have been very disappointed had we not also chosen to take the walking tour.

I do think that Glasnevin Cemetery is worth a visit (we certainly enjoyed our few hours there), though I would probably advise that visitors just take the walking tour.  More information can be found here: Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum

Check back tomorrow for Part Two of this post which will be about the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland.