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					      tudor                                     revival
      A lakeside Victor ian castle in County Leitr im
      with a colourful past is enjoying a new lease
      of life as a contempor ar y hotel.


      Built in the 1830s for the Earls of Leitrim, the present owners of Lough Rynn

      Castle recruited the Cotton Box Design Group to revamp the Gothic building,

      which now extends deep into the old stable wing. Catriona Hanly, daughter of

      the house and well-known jeweller, has designed the interiors of a number of

      new estate houses in the nearby meadows.

      Honeymooners who spend a few days at Lough Rynn Castle may thank their lucky

      stars that the 3rd Earl of Leitrim did not stay on in this world as a ghost. Legend

      has it that the randy old cad was an advocate of droit de seigneur, the ancient

      feudal right by which the lord of an estate is entitled to deflower any virgins. Such

      was his devotion to the sport that an irate father eventually assassinated him in

      1878. True or not, there can be no doubting the magnificence of the Earl’s home

      - a Tudor-revival manor house on the shores of Leitrim’s Lough Rynn.




170                         Words Turtle Bunbury Photography Studio 77
Built in the 1830s, Lough Rynn Castle was once the headquarters of a

vast 96,000-acre estate that stretched from the banks of the River Liffey

westwards into Galway and north into Donegal. The lakeside mansion

belonged to the Clements family until 1990 when it was sold to Mike

Flaherty, an Irish-American businessman.

The 300 acre property was subsequently purchased by the Hanly family

who spent a significant fortune converting the castle, by then on the

brink of ruin, into a 21st century hotel. Lough Rynn Castle opened for

business in September 2006. The hotel now has twenty-nine bedrooms,

eleven in the original house and eighteen deftly placed in the stable wing

running directly off the house. A further wing of twenty-five deluxe

bedrooms, 300-seater conference room and leisure spa is under

construction.




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      The principle rooms in the house were restored, furnished and designed

      by Kevin Mullarkey, Amy Cooney and Jane Dywer of Cotton Box Design

      Group, Clarinbridge, Galway. When the Cotton Box team first arrived,

      they found the builders frantically gutting the old rotted timber. They

      duly restored whatever could be salvaged, such as the existing parquet

      floor in the baronial hall and the oak panelling which was carefully

      stripped, cleaned and rebuilt. A specialist conservation team from

      Letterfrack restored all woodwork while award-winning plaster

      conservator Seamas O hEocha (www.soheochateo.com) repaired and

      restored the original cornicing and plasterwork.




174
Robert Genders (Tel: 071-9639175) a family friend of the Hanlys, acquired much

of the furniture and art at auction. Some pieces have a colourful provenance such

as the engagement portrait of Lady Caroline Clements (niece of Lord Leitrim) by

Sir Francis Grant and the black and white photographs, sourced by Amy Cooney

of Cotton Box from the Architectural Archives in Dublin. An oak sideboard

beneath a painting of Lady Caroline Clements is also original, while the church

pews set into the huge walk-in marble fireplace are in perfect condition.

The Piano Room is particularly remarkable for its hand-painted Parisian wallpaper,

reinforcing the oriental ambience crated by the carpet of blue flowers. Each panel

was hand painted in the UK by De Gournay. Two sofas, one antique, the other

custom-made, were reupholstered by Warwick (a diamond fabric) and Nobilis

respectively. They possess a seductive charm, luring one to sink back and listen

while a nearby angel lets her fingertips ripple along the keys of the piano. Hot

flames crackle within a hypnotic Kilkenny marble fireplace. A sideboard sourced by

Jane Dywer of Cotton Box is surmounted by statuary of horses and dogs whilst

the wall above features a Martin Reisner painting sourced by Robert Genders.

Lavish curtains are held in place by poles and holdbacks from Edward Harpley.




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      A corridor lined with Georgian prints and Clements family memorabilia leads

      towards the new wing. A discreet entrance to the left leads to the original wine

      cellar, now the Cellar Bar. Another doorway opens into the John McGahern

      Library, named for the late Leitrim scribe considered by many to have been the

      most important Irish novelist since Samuel Beckett. The room was originally the

      larder and still has the meat-hooks embedded into its rich French red ceiling.

      Light pours through rich Nobilis curtains, rebounding off a striped sofa and lively

      carpet. A burgundy wallpaper from Zoffany is divided by bookcases, groaning

      under the weight of valuable originals - Joyce, Behan, O’Casey and McGahern

      himself. The bookcases are an ingenious collaboration of old and new, with the

      latter designed by Amy Cooney of Cotton Box to compliment a pair of antique

      cases from Robert Genders. An archway from the library leads back into the

      drawing rooms and bar area.




178
A bay window, broken only by classic Jim Dickens curtains, beholds

Lough Rynn’s verdant lawns stretching out to the looking glass waters

and leafy green woodland beyond. An 18-hole golf course, designed by

Nick Faldo, will be twisting and turning around these same shores by

March 2008. Sprawl upon a beach of sofas and armchairs, designed by

Cotton Box and upholstered by Monkwell, and consider your location.

As the fire crackles, for instance, you might spare a thought for Mary

Clements, one of the early members of the family arrested for

witchcraft during the Salem Trials and very nearly burned at the stake.

Her youngest brother Daniel, a soldier in Cromwell’s army, was

rewarded with a thousand acres near Cootehill, Co. Cavan. Daniel’s

descendents rapidly scaled the heights of the Anglo-Irish ascendancy,

gaining the Earldom of Leitrim in 1795. Nathaniel Clements, great-

grandfather to the 3rd Earl, was one of the finest amateur architects of

Georgian Ireland, perhaps best known for Arás an Uachtaráin, the Irish

President’s residence in Phoenix Park. The family’s strong creative genes

continue to this day - another Nat Clements, raised at Lough Rynn, is

one of this country’s foremost experts in architectural restoration, most

recently with his work at Carton House.




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      At the west end of the house, a contemporary looping glass ceiling gently curls

      over to link the original house to the stable block. Constructed by the Hanly’s

      architect, this simple design nimbly brings the entire stable wing of eighteen

      bedrooms into the main house. Guests wander down a long corridor - glass-

      fronted on one side, the original stable walls on the other - believing they are

      still in the original house. The old grain store, for instance, has been completely

      rebuilt as the Sandstone Restaurant, named for the impressive internal stone

      cladding which was selected and specified by Amy Cooney.

      The 3rd Earl was, without question, a raving lunatic but, like many a lunatic, he

      was also a genius. As well as building a sturdy coach house, lovely walled gardens,

      ample stables, dairy and stores on the estate, he invented a kiln that produced

      the highest quality lime in Ireland. He also devised an ingenious system involving

      a horse, a boy and a gravel-filled channel that pumped filtered water from the

      river into the castle. Perhaps you might contemplate this while stewing in the

      splendid stand-alone bathtub of the rambling O’Carolan Suite, named for the

      celebrated Blind Harper of nearby Mohill.

      In the sumptuous Clements Suite, an Italian four-poster bed is set into a stunning

      bedroom with all wallpaper, armchairs, cupboards, side tables, side lamps, bed

      fabrics, curtains and cushions selected by Cotton box. Of particular note are the

      large elegant framed wall mirrors which unexpectedly turn into Phillips plasma

      screens at the click of a switch. The Clements bathroom features a large oval

      Villeroy & Boch Jacuzzi with room for all the family and stunning views out bay

      windows towards the walled gardens.




182
Perhaps half a mile from the castle, a field is presently under construction. It will

soon reopen as a small development of thirty one new-build gable-fronted

dormer houses. Four show-houses in this development have had their interiors

designed by another member of the Hanly family. Catriona Hanly, opposite, is

already a well-known figure in Irish jewellery and design circles.This April, she will

be opening her flagship store for interiors and accessories at the new

Whitewater Shopping Centre in Newbridge, Co. Kildare. Her vision is to create

‘an essential lifestyle boutique with a warm welcome and uplifting mood’.

Catriona’s career began when she was a junior buyer for Bergdorff Goodman in

New York. They sent her all over the world to source products and keep an eye

peeled on likely trends. By the time she returned to Ireland in 2000, she had

gathered an impressive collection of elaborate jewellery which she began to

wholesale to boutiques nationwide such as Khan, Diffusion, Arnotts and Les

Jumelles. She’s also been enjoying a fruitful career in the world of accessories,

with a range of handbags launched in 2006. But interior design has always been

Catriona’s real passion. And so she was delighted to be given free rein to display

her burgeoning talents in the Lough Rynn show-houses. At her side throughout

was her friend, counsellor and project manager, Rachel Hopkins




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      A typical show-house has a sitting room, dining room, a kitchen and front hall on

      the ground floor and four bedrooms on the upper floor. The sitting room stands

      to the left of the hall and is dominated by a cream and purple silk Epoque sofa,

      designed by Catriona and made in Milan. Fabrics are carefully chosen for

      dramatic merit so that, for instance, the luxurious purple velvet curtains are

      echoed in both the armchair and the glass top ottoman which doubles as a

      coffee table. Light gushes in through triple windows, animating the botanical and

      classical statuary prints adorning the walls. French style white-painted furniture

      was commissioned from Willis & Gambier in London. R.V. Astley supplied the

      lamps on the white sideboards while the unusual French mirror and picture

      above the fireplace came from the Parisian firm of Emde. The walls were painted

      with a range from Farow and Ball.




186
Crossing back through the hall into the dining room, a coal fire heats the

room with its merry blue pimpernel wallpaper from Laura Ashley.

Contemporary colonial rattan chairs surround a handsome cherry

wood dining table. The table is set with Mikasa silverware, glassware

from Villa Collection and delicate Chinoiserie green and white china,

designed by Jasper Conran for Wedgwood. The exotic ambience of the

dinnerware’s birds and flora are echoed in the rich curtains of taffeta,

lined with raw silk, from T.D.Q. Quilting in Dublin. All furniture is bespoke

from Willis and Gambier. A drinks cabinet looks particularly inviting

beneath a side window while lamps from R.V. Astley give the room a

gentle golden hue by night.

The kitchen stands to the back of the house, a long and splendidly white

room of polished tile floors and smooth marble surfaces, peppered with

colour splashes from prints of roses and Renoirs. Glasses and crockery

are kept in glass-fronted cupboards by Willis and Gambier.




                                                                                189
      The buttercup walls ascend a balustraded zig-zag stairwell to the landing

      and bedrooms. A leafy crystal chandelier from R.V. Astley is reflected in

      a full-length decorative mirror by Emde. Four charming bedrooms run

      off the landing. The Master bedroom is papered in a mink embossed

      paper with a metallic sheen by Edward J. McKiernan. Cream silk curtains

      complement the mink and cream bedspread and cushions from Au

      Maison. The French plush cream couch is from Coach House in the U.K.

      and the mirror is from Emde. The white furniture is custom made by

      Willis and Gambier.




190
      One of the guest bedrooms has an impressive brass bed, dressed in French

      style by Au Maison, with curtains of dusty pink raw silk. Mirrored

      accessories and pictures by Laura Ashley are reflected in silver box bedside

      lamps from R.V. Astley. McKiernan papered the pale green wall behind the

      bed. He also applied the lilac Laura Ashley wallpaper to the next door

      bedroom, picking up on the colours of the quilted bedspread and cushions

      from Au Maison. The smallest bedroom has a soft mushroom hued

      wallpaper, subtly repeated in both bed-linen and curtains.

      Contacts: Homes/show homes: Hooke & MacDonald, Tel 00353 1 631 8402.

      Lough Rynn Estate, www.loughrynn.ie. Caitriona Hanly, M: 087 6794023, E:

      chanly@eircom.net, www.catrionahanly.com. Helen O’Dwyer. M: 086 233 2725.

      Cotton Box Design Group, Clarinbridge, Galway, Tel - 091 777040. Contact –

      John Mullarkey, www.interiors.ie. Cotton Box Design Group has been designing

      interiors for the hotel, leisure and commercial contract sectors since 1980. Their

      client list includes the K Club, The Clarion Hotel Group and the Lady Castle

      Show houses.



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