Ballymore Demesne - Monday 25th July
Ballymore features a museum of interesting heirlooms and curious items of farming life from the past. It overlooks the patchwork valley to Slieveboy rising blue in the distance. In the grounds there is a 150 year old church and graveyard, a holy well and the site of a Norman castle. The farm contains stone outbuildings, tractors and farm tracks, horse paddocks and sheep pasture, cornfields lined by mature trees and a mill pond.
The Donovan family held the deeds of the house and 400 acres at Ballymorein 1694, and they have accumulated some remarkable memorabilia in the threecenturies since. The house is off limits to visitors but there is a lovelywalk through the grounds past the lily pond and the millrace.
The greenhouse has been restored and re-invented as a tea-room, whilethe old dairy now serves as a gallery in which the paintings of the latePhoebe Lett are displayed. She died in 1998 at the age of 96, leaving behindsome wonderful rural scenes, including a tremendously lively series illustratingsteam threshing.
The place is picturesque beyond belief and it has reeked of historysince the turbulence of 1798 when the Donovans were split as to which sidethey should support. The notion of converting an 18th century stone farmbuilding into a museum was conceived in the hope of making up for the dwindlingreturns from agriculture.
The takings have been boosted in recent weeks by group bookings fromthe Dun Laoghaire Historical Society, the Water Colour Society and theBritish Legion widows. However, both Richard and Margaret admit readilythat their venture into the world of heritage tourism in this by-passedbeauty spot is more a labour of love than a crude money-spinner. It iscertainly worth a visit.
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