Other than Leixlip Castle, I most looked forward to seeing Swiss Cottage. And it was not available to tour when I was there. But, I walked out to it.
Swiss Cottage is perhaps the finest example of cottage orné of the Romantic Movement.
In the early 1800s, some wealthy people wanted to make believe they were living in a rustic, natural manner. They experimented with living with less formality and built “cottages” that were actually quite large to play at living like farmers. The cottage is described as an “architectural toy.”
Swiss Cottage was built by Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall, 10th Baron Cahir. It was designed by John Nash, better known for his perfectly proportioned formal Regency architecture.
“Swiss cottage is a cottage orne, one of the finest examples surviving in England or Ireland, possibly designed by Nash and build about 1817–20… The cottage orne, originally an architectural toy, epitomizes the picturesque movement led by Nash who, in partnership with the landscape–designer Humphry Repton, produced a number of ornamental cottages for the grounds of country houses between 1795 and 1802. The 1st Earl of the Glengall died in 1819 the Swiss Cottage was probably built by his son, a fashionable young man, on succeeding to the title. It has verandas decorated with elaborate rustic stick-work, and the fantasy is extended to other small details such as the rural scenes engraved on the living-room window-panes and the cobweb pattern in the hall parquet.”
The Houses of Ireland (A Studio Book)
Brian de Breffny, Rosemary ffolliot, George Mott
I walked to Swiss Cottage following a path from Cahir Castle. Many of the photos below are of the things I saw along the walk. I love Ireland!
Click any photo to start a slide show.