Recently I had the honour to lead a group of heritage enthusiasts to visit the historical Georgian mansion of Castle Ellen (Caisleán Eilise). former home of the Anglo-Irish Lambert family.
Our guide through its fascinating halls, out-buildings and grounds was its owner Miceál Keaney.
It was interesting to learn from Miceál that arch Unionist and the great hate figure of Irish republicanism, Edward Carson, spent many happy times at Castle Ellen, which was the birthplace of his mother Isabella. Edward was also the barrister responsible for prosecuting and ending the career of Oscar Wilde, his former friend.
Miceál bought the demesne in 1974 when it was the buildings were in an advance state of disrepair and has spent much energies and monies over the subsequent years endeavouring to bring the place back to its former Victorian aristocratic splendour. A true labour of love that he deserves great admiration for.
In the process, he has built up an eclectic mix of memorabilia, from military artifacts to ancient farmyard machinery. You can almost feel the ghosts of the British Empire drift as you wander through the remnants of croquet and tennis lawns, a series of walled gardens with orchards and maze, a tree lined avenue, a pony-driven water well and an underground livestock tunnel.
Well worth a visit.