DONERAILE in north Cork is reputed to be Ireland’s most haunted town. And situated at its heart is Doneraile Court.
Its doors had not been open to the public for 50 years, but this year, with the help of a massive restoration project, that all changed.
We geta chance to see the fascinating work of historical interior experts as they transform the stately Cork home in a new three-part series.
Called Great Irish Interiors, the first episode on RTÉ1 on Monday at 8.30pm, December 30, features Doneraile Court.
This magnificent house, dating from the 1600s, had been lying idle for over 25 years. But, with a €1.6 million windfall from the State coffers, the Office of Public Works (OPW) were finally able to restore it to its former glory.
The task had a blank canvas, as all the furniture, fixtures and fittings were sold off more than 30 years ago. The property was also in dire need of structural work, windows needed replacing and walls and ceilings rebuilt.
Cameras follow Mary Heffernan, Historic Properties Manager of the OPW, and Christopher Moore, a Historic House Interiors Specialist, as they race to renovate one of Ireland’s most coveted homes.
They worked night and day to restore it — from carrying out paint analysis, to choosing colours in keeping with the original look of the house, to chasing down portraits and paintings from collections around the country. The local community was key too, and Mary and Chris built up strong links with them as they donated items from the house which they inherited or ‘acquired’ over the years.
The other two episodes in the series look at restoration work at Kylemore Abbey in Co Galway, and Emo Court in Co Laois.