Summer Picnic August 2017
We held our summer picnic on Sunday 20th August 2017 hosted by the Duffy Bros. with administrative matters arranged by Ann. Whilst the weather was mixed, the party atmosphere amongst the 18 T owners and guests was terrific. Right from the start and through to the end is was a most enjoyable occasion. Assembly was at 10.00am.
Thanks to Eleanor for providing pictures of our first stop.
Morning Coffee Stop
To our surprise, after leaving the military museum and travelling along the very scenic Curragh drive and having passed by Kilcullen there was a stop along the way where trestle tables were set up adorned with fresh scones and tea cakes which with our own supply of hot water we were well positioned to partake in an open air coffee stop.
Duly refreshed we set off again along Co. Kildare rural and winding roads to arrive at Russborough House. First a little piece of information to tell you about this beautiful place. Russborough was built between 1741 and 1750 and is regarded as one of Ireland’s most beautiful houses. It has magnificent views of the Blessington Lakes and Wicklow Mountains.
In 1978 Sir Alfred Beit opened the house for guided tours and there have been over 1 million visitors since. The house which is beautifully maintained and lavishly furnished contains fine furniture, tapestries, carpets, porcelain, silver and much of the Beit collection of paintings. It also has beautiful ceilings, plaster work and a fine mahogany staircase.
From Easter 2011 there is a new extensive self guided exhibition which includes interactive touch screens, audio listening handsets, cinema projections and films in the original cinema. Special features are wonderful 3D photographs and 2D films from the 1920s and 1930s taken by Sir Alfred Beit on his world travels.
A selection of his extensive vinyl record and sheet music collections from the 1920s are also on display. Part of the exhibition is devoted to the 6 Earls of Milltown who each lived at Russborough plus local history stories about Poulaphouca Reservoir and the Blessington Tramway.
A parkland walk with magnificent views of the house takes about half an hour. In addition a 20,000 sq. feet head high Beech hedge Maze is very popular with children and adults alike. There is also a 150 year old ‘Hippodrome’ building used for training horses in past centuries. A number of craft workshops are open at various times including a blacksmith with working forge and a weaver with working looms. Also a wood turner and a silversmith show how these ancient crafts are still undertaken today.
The Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland’s garden in Russborough’s 18th century walled garden is being restored by volunteers managed by the RHSI. This long term project includes reinstating the garden paths to their original layout; repairing the surrounding brick and stone walls using traditional building techniques, and restoring the curvilinear glasshouse.
Hornbeam hedges have been planted already in anticipation of the development of individual gardens designed to demonstrate a variety of garden styles and techniques. In the summer months, the reinstated garden area is a riot of colour and productivity, with surplus flowers, fruit and vegetables offered for sale at the garden entrance. See www.rhsi.ie for opening times and about volunteering. The most recent RHSI Russborough Garden Show took place on Saturday, 29th July 2017
The Kitchen Garden Cafe is available for snacks and light lunches and a souvenir shop is also on site. Disabled access, toilets & free parking. See www.russborough.ie for more information.
Russborough House is one of Ireland’s Ancient East top attractions. GPS Coordinates Latitude 53.14121 Longitude -6.569867
The pictures tell the full story of our visit.
We then left in convoy for our next destination along the shore of Blessington Lakes where we were invited to a farm so as to partake in our picnic. Another surprise was in store for us – tables and chairs laid out, fresh soup, hamburgers & deserts expertly made by the Duffy family, friends and relations all for us. We had delightful conversation amongst our selves and if the volume of chit-chat was anything to go by, then surely it was fabulous.
Our hosts Theo and Margaret Clarke, together with a team of hard working family and friends for preparing a wonderful feast for us. We had worked up an appetite after our travels and everyone tucked in with relish. Plates were cleaned very quickly indeed.
A huge Thank You to Ann and Bernard Duffy, Peter and Sarah Duffy, Maureen McKenna, Christine Whyte, Karen,David and Emma Duffy for the enormous amount of hard work in making the picnic such a great success.
As a small token of our appreciation to Bernard and Peter, our President Raymond Megaw presented each of them with a hand turned platter. So enjoyable and successful was the event that President Megaw said that this surely must be on our calendar of events for the future.
Last word… thank you Ann for all your time, trouble and expertise is making a bunch of T’ers happy and contented with their day out in your company.