Every weekend throughout October County Carlow's big houses throw open their doors for the Carlow Big Houses Festival. Step inside some of Ireland's grandest historic homes and immerse yourself in the food and heritage of Carlow's great estates.
The Carlow Big Houses Festival is your chance to peek behind the doors of some of Ireland's most lavish manor houses. Part of this autumn's Taste the Island campaign, the festival allows visitors enjoy authentic food and drink, made using high quality local ingredients.
Discover the splendour of Altamont House, a jewel in Ireland's gardening crown, and delve into the mysteries of the temple at Huntington Castle. Take a wildlife tour walk in Borris House or simply enjoy a guided tour of any of these fabulous houses and their historic gardens. Renowned national speakers provide a rare and entertaining insight into the great houses of Carlow, the secrets and stories of the people who owned them and their significant roles in Irish and international history.
A Day with the Duckett's will bring visitors back a century or more at the magical location of Duckett's Grove with a bustling and vibrant recreation of life as it was for the family workers and estate workers. We finish off this festival with something special: a historical play set against the stunning backdrop of Lisnavagh House.
Kicking off the festival is Borris House (5th/6th October), learn all about Ireland's big houses and their legacy from well known architect and historian Hugh Wallace. Hugh a judge on RTÉ's 'Home of the Year', will explore the changing attitude of Irish people towards their big estates. You can try your hand at the ancient craft of lace making in a unique lace making workshop or join us for a Victorian inspired lunch of local produce in the historic surrounds of this magnificent estate. The following weekend (12th October) we are in the beautiful surrounds of Altamont Gardens for a inspiring garden tour with noted garden historian Fionnuala Reid. On Sunday (13th October) take a trip back in time at 'A Day with the Duckett's' family fun day in Duckett's Grove. Experience traditional methods of breadmaking, weaving, butter churning and horseshoeing. Enjoy the novelty of horse-drawn carriages and vintage Rolls Royce cars as you've never seen them before. The festival then moves to Huntington Castle (19th/20th October) where guests will learn all about the liberation of Europe 75 years ago this year, later that evening be treated to an intimate evening of fine food, wine and conversation in the splendid barn theatre of Huntington Castle. On Sunday Dr Kevin Whelan one of Ireland's most widely published scholars will give a fascinating glimpse into the secrets behind Huntington Castle and the surrounding areas from the 17th to 20th centuries. We finish off this year’s festival at Lisnavagh House (26th/27th October) with Dr Terrance Dooley, listen to Dr Dooley tell us all about the burning of country houses in Ireland from 1920-23. Finishing off this years festival is something special: a historical play set against the stunning backdrop of Lisnavagh House.
This event is part of Taste the Island