A Big House with big dreams
Is there any end to the interest a Big Pile Country Estate can generate with our near neighbours? Call it the Downton effect, but last night it was the turn of Borris House in Co Carlow to come under the scrutiny of the BBC on its Antiques to the Rescue programme.
The stunning 16th-century home, on 650 acres, is the ancestral home of the high kings of Leinster, but it costs owners Morgan and Sara Kavanagh (pictured above) about €250,000 a year to maintain and run.
The Kavanaghs allowed John Foster, of Antiques Roadshow fame, to come into their home on a search for treasures to sell that might generate some money to kick-start their dream of converting the dilapidated laundry into a visitor centre and ultimately create the Borris Lace heritage centre.
Of course, as is often the case, family pride and sentiment came to bear as Foster fell excitedly upon treasures including an Iranian rug and an antique book – only to be stymied by Morgan, who felt the items were intrinsic to the house and its history. In the end only a handful of items were sold, returning about €21,000 to the Kavanaghs. Never mind, maybe one philanthropic Big House enthusiast was watching who might boost the fortunes of Borris House.