DiCamillo Companion

Bantry House (Blackrock) (Seafield)

  • House & Family History: In 1796 Theobald Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen attempted to land a French armada of 50 warships and 15,000 men in Bantry Bay in an attempt to push the British out of Ireland and establish an Irish republic. Richard White of Bantry House and his tenants were loyal to the King, George III; they knew the invasion was coming and were prepared. White stored munitions in the House and trained his tenants as a militia to oppose the landing. In the end, the French armada was hampered by severe weather and never had a chance of landing. The seas were so rough that 10 ships were lost in Bantry Bay. One of these, "Surveillante," remained forgotten on the bottom of the Bay for almost 200 years, until its discovery in 1982. In 1985 the ship was declared an Irish National Monument and work began on its excavation, preservation, and the coalescing of its contents. The results can be seen today at the 1796 Bantry French Armada Exhibition Centre on the Bantry Estate. For his loyalty to the crown Richard White was created Baron Bantry in 1797; he was later created Viscount Bantry, Earl of Bantry, and Viscount Beerhaven. One of the earliest houses in Ireland to be open to the public, Bantry House has hosted visitors since 1946. Since 1991 the House has offered B&B accommodation.

    Collections: Bantry contains a fine collection of paintings, furniture, and books collected by the 2nd Earl of Bantry, including some exquisite French tapestries that adorn the walls of several rooms. Produced in the workshops of Gobelins and Aubusson in the 18th century, one of the two Gobelins tapestries is believed to have hung in the Palace of Versailles, and there is a particularly beautiful rose-colored set of Aubussons said to have been made by order of Louis XV for Marie Antoinette on her marriage to the Dauphin, later Louis XVI. Among the furniture in the collection is a Russian household shrine that contains 15th and 16th century icons and an impressive pair of William Kent style console tables. The paintings in the collection include a pair of portraits from the studio of Allan Ramsay of George III and Queen Charlotte presented by the king to the 1st Earl of Bantry on his elevation to the earldom. Major items were to be auctioned on October 21, 2014 by Lyon & Turnbull; the sale was postponed indefinitely by public concern and government restrictions.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The gardens were laid out in the 19th century by the 2nd Earl of Bantry and his wife, Mary. Based on Continental precedents, the gardens contain seven terraces, with the House situated on the third. One of the most famous features of the gardens are the one hundred steps behind the House that were built to create the impression that they rise magically from a fountain. By the late 18th century the Bantry Estate had reached 80,000 acres.

  • House Listed: National

    Park Listed: Listed

  • "Robin Pilcher - Jenseits des Ozeans" [aka "An Ocean Apart"] (2006 - TV, in German). "Country House Rescue" (2012 - TV reality series, episode 4.3, "Bantry House"). "Brother" [aka "Broer"] (2016 - as Grace's mansion).
  • Current Seat / Home of: Shelswell-White family

    Past Seat / Home of: Samuel Hutchinson, 18th cenutry. Richard White, 1st Baron Bantry, 1st Viscount Bantry, 1st Earl of Bantry, and 1st Viscount Beerhaven, late 18th-early 19th centuries.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: Yes

    Phone: 3532-750-047

    Fax: 3532-750-795

    Email: [email protected]

    Website: http://www.bantryhouse.com

    Historic Houses Member: No


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The DiCamillo Companion does not receive any compensation from the Historic Houses Association.