The Country Houses of Ireland’s North and Border Counties

Jun 20, 2022

In May, Decorative Arts Trust members were finally able to experience Northern Ireland and the northern counties of the Republic of Ireland, during a twice-postponed Study Trip Abroad. These tours of impressive country houses, charming historic homes, and exquisite gardens were definitely worth the wait!


Gathering in Belfast, we focused on houses in the surrounding counties. Lunch and a visit to Glenarm was followed by drinks and dinner at the Merchant Hotel. The following day led members to Mount Sewart, including the Temple of the Winds and the garden. After enjoying the hosts’ hospitality for lunch in their private quarters, members traveled to Clandeboye for a visit and tea. Our third day featured visits to Castle Ward and Ballywalter and a private dinner at Grey Abbey.

Enniskillen and Armagh

The second leg began with a trip to the ecclesiastical hill town of Armagh, with tours of the Archbishop’s Palace and Library. After lunch, members explored The Argory, and then continued to the Manor House Hotel on Lough Erne in Enniskillen. The next day, the group enjoyed an unexpected visit to the Ulster American Folk Park, which focuses on Irish immigration to the Americas during the 18th and 19th centuries. We continued on to for tours and lunch at Baronscourt, the home of the Duke of Abercorn, a highlight of the Study Trip. Sunday featured a tour of Castle Coole, lunch and a garden tour at Killyreagh, and an exploration of Florence Court. The evening closed with a tour and dinner at Crom Castle.

The Northern Counties of Ireland

Members crossed the border into the Republic of Ireland for the final leg, which included a visit and lunch at Tullynally and an introduction to a suite of rooms at Headfort House designed by Robert Adam. The final day focused on the exquisite Beaulieu House and superb collection at Collon House. The tours concluded with a delightful farewell dinner at Slane Castle, with a sampling of their famous whiskey.

The Trust extends gratitude to the members who joined us on these tours, whose patience during rounds of postponement is greatly appreciated. Even with the change from 2020 to 2021 to 2022, this Study Trip Abroad still had a hefty waitlist! See the Trust’s upcoming Study Trips Abroad and our full calendar of programs, and if one is full, please contact us to join the waitlist. Sign up for our e-newsletter to receive emails when registration opens for events, and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Membership at the Sponsor level or above is required to participate in Study Trips Abroad, and members at the Ambassador level and above receive advance registration. 

About The Decorative Arts Trust Bulletin

Formerly known as the "blog,” the Bulletin features new research and scholarship, travelogues, book reviews, and museum and gallery exhibitions. The Bulletin complements The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, our biannual members publication.


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