North Tipp’s historic estates come under the microscope

Fans of Downton Abbey are in for a treat as part of a new lecture series exploring the ‘big houses’ and estates of North Tipperary next month.

The daily way of life of some of North Tipperary’s wealthiest families during the 19th and 20th centuries will be examined as part of Tipperary County Councils lecture series ‘The Big House, Life and Living.’

Among the properties up for discussion on the day include the Otway estate in Temple derry which was the seat of the Otway family in the 18th and 19th centuries. The landmark Solsborough estate outside Nenagh will also be under the spotlight having once been valued at £41 in 1850. The property and adjacent 137 acres has since sold for €2.25m in 2014.

Other topics examined by Ormond Historical Society president John Flannery include the design and building of the mansions, the decline of family fortunes and the impact of the Encumbered Estates Act as well as the destruction of many of the ‘big houses’, how some survived and the rebirth of others. Visitors will also get to hear about the daily life of women in these big houses who played valuable roles in hosting, household management and philanthropy.

Meanwhile guest speaker Melissa Shiels will be on hand to showcase examples of replicated clothing from the 1860s and participants will be able to experience and handle many surviving artefacts from the Victorian era. With everyday items such as writing sets and letter holders, Georgian teapots and silver spirit kettles, participants can get a real feel of the high life in times past.

This is the first time North Tipperary’s grandest estates will collectively come under the microscope following on from the success of last years lecture series which looked at some of south Tipp’s finest properties.

The one day seminar takes place at Nenagh Arts Centre on Saturday March 11th. Admission is €15 and pre-booking is essential. Contact Julia on 07 61 06 5252 or email
By:Niamh Dillon

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