Heritage Hot Spots
Kilruddery House and Gardens
What is it?
Kilruddery is an Elizabethan-revival mansion near Bray, Co Wicklow, that has been the home of the Brabazon family for 16 generations. The house was designed in the 1820s by Richard and William Morrison to incorporate a 17th-century mansion. A third of the house was demolished in the 1950s and a new formal entrance built. The house and estate of 300 hectares have featured in many films and TV series, including The Tudors and Camelot.
The house is much more unusual than many country houses open to the public. Exquisite interior features include stained-glass windows, stucco work in the drawing room and the magnificent orangery, which was designed and built in the 1850s and restored in 2000. It also has one of the few remaining 17th-century gardens in Ireland. Children and adults alike will be intrigued by the Long Ponds, Sylvan Theatre, lime walks and beech-hedge pond. Finish off a visit with snacks in the tea room in the octagonal 19th-century dairy.
The annual Christmas craft fair runs today and tomorrow from 10am to 6pm in the orangery. Beaded and embroidered jewellery, lino prints, glass and Swarovski crystal outdoor hangings, soap, candles, pottery and knits are among the items for sale. The grain store in the former horseyard has a farm market where you can buy handmade Christmas decorations, jam, chutney and chopping boards made from fallen hardwoods on the estate. Admission is free to both the craft fair and the farm market.
How do I get there?
The entrance is on Southern Cross Road in Bray, taking exit 7 (for Greystones, Bray South and Enniskerry) on the N11. The gardens are open daily from 9.30am to 5pm between May and September, and at weekends in April and October. Tours of the house run between 1pm and 5pm in July, August and September. Admission €11/€6.50 to house and gardens; €9/€5.50 to gardens only. Under-12s free; 01-2863405, kilruddery.com.