Restored splendour

Restored splendour
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The historically important Doneraile Court in north Cork has opened its doors to the public following an extensive conservation and renovation project, writes Peter Pearson

The quiet town of Doneraile lies in the beautiful rolling countryside of north Cork. The town is distinguished by a long main street, fronted by 18th and 19th century houses and is adjoined directly by the house and demesne of the Georgian mansion Doneraile Court. There are buzzing cafes on the main street and an air of quiet contentedness. The scenic idyll, through which the river Awbeg flows on its way to the Blackwater, was created in the 18th century to form the perfect backdrop for Doneraile Court. The romantic landscaping of the mature trees that grace the hilly parkland today is in the manner of the famous landscapist Capability Brown and involved the creation of two small lakes from the river and its ancient fish ponds, along with the construction of a new stone bridge. The late 18th-century obsession with uninterrupted views across the lawns to the parkland led to the creation of ‘haw-haws’ (concealed ditches) that separated animals such as sheep from the house without the need for a fence or wall.

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