Hear ye, Hear ye!
The Art of Genteel Country Living
Killruddery and Marlay: Tales of two Big Houses and
their Fabulous Gardens in the Foothills of the Wicklow Mountains
This socio-historical tour homes in on of two of the most privileged families in Irish history, exploring the remarkable worlds they created on the edge of the Dublin-Wicklow mountains. Take a break from the present tense and journey with us back to an age when butlers, carriages and afternoon tea all played a vital part in the daily routine.
We begin our day at Killruddery House, an imposing Tudor Revival mansion, incorporating an original 17th century residence, which has been home to sixteen generations of the Brabazon family. This is the seat of the Earls of Meath and Lords Ardee, whose connection with Ireland goes back to 1534 when Henry VIII sent Sir William Brabazon of Leicester to Ireland as Vice-Treasurer.
We venture through both the house and its gardens, a fabulous French Baroque design by the Versailles-trained Monsieur Bonet, where you will hear tales from the family annals from their Belgian origins to heroics at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 to their present-day enthusiasm for self-sufficiency, organic farming and silent movies!
After our visit, we will pause for lunch in the gardens’ café, where you may enjoy soup or a sandwich, or my tip, a homemade scone with clotted cream and jam – you won’t regret it! Much of the food on offer is produced right here on the Killruddery Estate. Alternatively, you are welcome to bring your own picnic to enjoy in the beautiful sheltered surroundings of the early 19th century walled garden.
In the afternoon we journey into the Dublin Mountains and follow the dramatic, wooded glacial valley of The Scalp where the scars of Ireland’s last Ice Age can still be clearly seen.
On a plain to the north of the mountains we reach Marlay House, built by the French Huguenot banking dynasty of La Touche who came to Ireland as refugees in the late 17th century. Marlay House and Gardens have been meticulously restored and here you can enjoy a window into the world of a prosperous Georgian businessman. The music room is particularly fine; contemporary instruments are depicted in the plasterwork which adorns the ceiling. After a guided walk through both house and gardens, you will have leisure time to stroll through this wonderful oasis of parkland at your own pace.
Before our return to Dublin we have another opportunity to treat ourselves to refreshment in the original estate yard, which now houses a tearoom and a variety of craft workshops.
For whom is this tour suitable?
Everyone who is interested in the lives and tastes of the ruling classes in Ireland from The Age of Enlightenment up to the present day. This could be a particular highlight for followers of period dramas and readers of Victorian novels.
Generally all paths are manageable for all levels of walker. The guided walks on this tour are on both solid and unpaved pathways. Steeper and more uneven paths can be experienced on your own during free time. We highly recommend suitable sturdy footwear for best enjoyment of this day.
- Tour duration of approximately 7 hours
- Spacious, fully air-conditioned coach
- Live on-board commentary in English by an Irish Tourist Board approved, fully insured Tourist Guide
- Complementary WiFi on board
- Entrance fees to all sites
- Guiding on the sites by qualified local guides
- Lunch and all refreshments are at your own expense
Good To Know
- As this tour takes place both indoors and outdoors, sturdy footwear and weather-appropriate clothing are recommended
- Generally tours will run with a minimum of 20 persons and a maximum of 40
- Travel times between stops will be between 45 and 90 minutes. We do not anticipate additional comfort stops being necessary
- The coach will be white and have the name ‘Sillan’ in red on the front, back and sides.
- As we must always keep to schedule, guests should be at the arranged meeting point at least 15 minutes before the designated departure time. No refunds can be given for no-shows.
Bus Departure Times
Depart Gresham Hotel, O’Connell St. 9.45
Depart Shelbourne Hotel, Stephen’s Green 10.00
Depart Burlington Hotel 10.15 am
Arrive Dublin Approx 16.30
O’Connell St. 16.45
Children under 14 and students with a valid ID card will be given €5 back as they board the coach.