Romantic Irish Country Houses

What is it that gives the Irish house such a distinctive character? Why should their personality—and that of their owners—be so often idiosyncratic and even downright eccentric? And how is it that despite the country’s recent economic boom, there remains plenty of houses where shabby chic has been the norm for generations?

In a talk as amusing as it is informative and mixing history with anecdote, well-known author Robert O’Byrne offers a guide to some of Ireland’s least-familiar but most unusual houses. These include the family home whose present occupant has rescued everything connected with his ancestors—including their tombstones. And the house where so much plaster had already fallen off the walls that its owner simply took a hammer to clear away what remained. Then there is the stately home where the maid reputedly fell through the ceiling—but landed safely on the dining room table. After listening to Robert O’Byrne not everyone will necessarily want to live in an Irish house, but his introduction to their history and unique characteristics is certain to entertain and enlighten.

Than you to our co-sponsors: The Beauregard-Keyes House and Garden Museum; the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art Louisiana Chapter; The English Speaking Union, New Orleans; American Friends of Attingham; The Royal Society of St. George in New Orleans

Additional support for our New Orleans lecture is generously provided by Dr. Quinn Peeper and Mr. Michael Harold
The Staircase at Stradbally Hall. © CICO Books 2009 Simon Brown

The Staircase at Stradbally Hall. © CICO Books 2009 Simon Brown

Robert O'Byrne

Robert O’Byrne

Robert O’Byrne

Noted Author

Robert O’Byrne is a writer and lecturer specialising in the fine and decorative arts. He is the author of more than a dozen books, among them Luggala Days: The Story of a Guinness House, The Last Knight: A Tribute to Desmond FitzGerald, 29th Knight of Glin, Romantic Irish Homes and Romantic English Homes. A retired Vice-President of the Irish Georgian Society and trustee of the Alfred Beit Foundation, he is currently a trustee of the Apollo Foundation and the Artists Collecting Society. Among other work he writes a monthly column for Apollo magazine, and is also a regular contributor to The Burlington Magazine and the Irish Arts Review. For the past five years Mr. O’Byrne has written an award-winning blog,

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Dining Room at Tullynally, County Westmeath. ©CICO Books 2009 Simon Brown


Wednesday, November 6 | 6:30 p.m.
Reception following lecture


The Beauregard-Keyes House and Garden Museum
1113 Chartres Street


$35 members; $45 non-members

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Dining Room at Tullynally, County Westmeath. ©CICO Books 2009 Simon Brown