Abandoned Mansions of Ireland by Tarquin Blake soon to be presented for sale on the first-class BookLovers of Bath web site!
Published: Wilton: The Collins Press, 2012, Hardback in dust wrapper.
3rd printing. [First Published: 2010] Illustrated by way of: Glossary; Vignette to the title page; Black & White Photographs; Colour Photographs;
From the cover: From the mid-eighteenth century Irish country houses flourished. Landowners generated easy income leasing land to tenants. As their wealth increased, so did the size of their country mansions. However, the Great Famine took its toll. Penniless tenants could not pay rent and estate owners found themselves in a precarious financial position. Later land reforms saw land ownership transferred directly to farmers. The houses, stripped of their land and income, fell into decline. During the War of Independence the mansions became an IRA target and many were deliberately burnt. For others, the increasing expense of maintenance made them unviable. Gradually, abandoned and forgotten, they sank into decay.
In 2008 Tarquin Blake found his first abandoned Big House and began exploring the lost architecture of Ireland. Here he documents what is left of fifty mansion houses. Included are Mountpelier Lodge (the Dublin Hellfire Club), the birthplaces of Daniel OConnell and the Duke of Wellington, and the one-time homes of Grace OMalley and the Smithwicks of Kilkenny (brewers).
Brief histories of the houses and associated folklore tell of troubled times and private hardships. The inclusion of details from the 1911 Census offers a glimpse of the closing days of the aristocracy and their mansions. For example, the census records the owner of Lisheen House in Sligo as a Mr Owen Phibbs; occupation: Landed Proprietor; age 70. Mr Phibbs lived in the twenty-five rooms of his magnificent mansion house accompanied by a staff of five: a cook, parlour maid, housemaid, kitchen maid and laundress. By 1950 Lisheen House would be utterly abandoned. Today the fine carved stonework has almost disappeared under ivy.
The histories, together with beautiful photographs of the haunting ruins, explore a part of our heritage that is crumbling away before our eyes.
Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper. A little rubbing to the edges of the dust wrapper. Text complete, clean and tight.
Red boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 337 pages. 11¼” x 9″.