Funnily enough, I know which one I prefer to be in! The Gatelodge, of course. I’ve reproduced here the descriptions from a leaflet I found here at the Lodge :
“This tiny pavilion is located in the gorgeous Blackwater Valley within a mile of Cappoquin and near the Knockmealdown Mountains. It was built in around 1849 by the Chearnley family who owned the Salterbridge estate since the mid 18th century until the early 20th century. The Lodge, though obviously in habitation in the thirties when the Glanville family lived there, became derelict after the 1950s. Its function, like all gatelodges, was to indicate to the passer-by the good standing and taste of the original owner, and to showcase some of the features of the architect’s work, reinterpreted from the Big House.
Among The Lodge’s interesting features is an octagonal garden room, from which the two main rooms, bedroom and sitting room, lead. The kitchen and bathroom are to the rear. The sense of balance and symmetry has been retained, and although when finding a modern use for such buildings, a bathroom and kitchen must inevitably be added, the rear extension has been carefully matched to the proportions of the existing rooms.
The Irish Landmark Trust officially launched the property to visitors on 15th January 2002.
It is a building of fine ashlar stonework and of charming classical proportions. When the Irish Landmark Trust took it on as a restoration project in 1999 the building was roofless, windowless, overgrown and a section of the back wall had collapsed. A considerable amount of repair to the stone was required – its long exposure to the weather and, in places, original bedding of the stone, had resulted in loss of some of the decorative surface of the ashlar blocks.
The restoration works involved the retention and repair of most of the original stone. Fallen facing sections from the surrounding overgrowth were salvaged and reinstated. Three pieces of new stone were required in total and this stone was obtained from small loose blocks in the disused quarry at Lismore Castle – a possible source of the original.
The symmetrical layout of the original lodge was retained with a small extension formed to the rear. The fine proportions of the building have been retained. The extension has been finished externally with a lined lime render. Internal walls and ceilings throughout are finished with lime plasters and paints and, with a fine quality of natural light in all rooms, this provides a healthy and pleasing atmosphere throughout.
The carefully crafted work of the masons, joiners, plasterers and other tradespeople involved has brought this formerly ruinous and vulnerable building back to health and restored it to use again.
Interior Design Notes
The Lodge is simply furnished in an elegant Victorian style using a muted palette throughout and historic colours in a raw pigment limewash. The principal rooms are furnished in a vernacular style using mahogany pieces.
The original entrance hall, now designated “The Garden Room” is apple green, with a round table.
The bedroom is painted off-white and has an early Victorian mahogany double bed with barley twist ends and a traditional handwoven carpet in crimson. The wardrobe, chest of drawers and lockers are plain early Victorian. The shutters have been reinstated in the windows with Holland blinds added.
The sitting room is pale yellow with a handwoven carpet in gold and ochre. There is a Regency two-seater sofa and two comfortable chairs. A writing desk stands at the window and a bookshelf completes the furnishings.
The bathroom is plainly finished in white; and there are timber floors throughout except for the flagged hall.
The kitchen is fitted with an oak table and traditional sugan chairs, a traditional dresser, timber counter tops and a Belfast sink. The fittings are blue-green.”
To visit I walked over a mile up the drive to the Big House – Salterbridge House. It’s open this month on a very ad hoc basis.
The owners weren’t home and I was shown around by the housekeeper. No photography was allowed but my overall feeling was a big house, not very cosy, but light and airy. Modern day furniture, of course, always looks too small and insignificant in big houses. Its saving grace was a beautiful walnut table in the entrance hall created from a tree from the estate. The book themes are political, historical and military with some modern novels.
The Drive to the House
There was a house on the site, built by Richard Musgrave, since about 1750. Through his daughter it was owned by the Chearnley family until 1947. In 1940 it was occupied by the army for a few years and in 1947 it was sold to the present owner’s parents. The house was substantially rebuilt during the 19th century – architect unknown.
From the garden notes there’s a Cork Oak and four Irish yews. On a grassy area is a “Woodhenge” created by sculptress Rebecca Johnson from a branch of one of the garden’s yew trees.
And can you believe it on an evening in May :