Drishane House wins noble heritage prize

March 2nd, 2024 5:00 PM

Drishane House in Castletownshend has been the home of the Somerville family for over 250 years.

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THE former home of the celebrated author Edith Somerville in Castletownshend has claimed a prestigious national heritage prize.

Drishane House was named the Historic Houses of Ireland Group Heritage prize winner at the awards ceremony in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin on Tuesday evening.

This is the fourth year of the award, which includes a €5,000 prize which was devised in 2020 in association with Irish architecture and design writer Robert O’Byrne, and is sponsored by the O’Flynn Group.

Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine Senator Pippa Hackett, the head of national monuments with the Office of Public Works Mary Heffernan and Shane O’Flynn of the O’Flynn Group were guests at the awards ceremony.

The former home of renowned author and artist, Edith Somerville, Drishane House has been the home of the Somerville family for over 250 years. Edith Somerville wrote in collaboration with her cousin Violet Martin under the pseudonym ‘Somerville and Ross’ and their works include The Real Charlotte and Irish RM trilogy.

In his address, Robert O’Byrne praised the astonishing work done by Drishane’s current owners, Tom and Jane Somerville, since 2007 to ensure that both house and gardens continue to flourish. Tom and Jane Somerville’s grandfather Desmond took over the house from his aunt Edith in the early part of the 20th century.

Historic Houses of Ireland (HHI) was established in 2008 to promote and foster the immediate and long-term future of Irish privately-owned historic properties, together with their associated parks, gardens, estates, contents and archives. It now represents over 180 houses across Ireland.

Drishane House in West Cork has been the home of the Somerville family for nine generations. It was built by Thomas Somerville around 1780 in classic Georgian style. Thomas Somerville was also responsible for several other notable buildings in Castletownshend, notably the warehousing on the main harbour quay, the Custom House and his Dower House on the Mall.

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