6 Shell House

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Stop 6:  The Shell House

This is the shell house on Curraghmore estate. It is made of shells which Catherine Power–the wife of the Earl of Waterford, collected from all over the world. It was built by Catherine Power, Countess of Tyrone, in 1754. Back then (251 years ago), they did not have cement so she stuck the shells on with ox blood. Inside, the entire building is encrusted with shells of every variety, colour and size. Notice the paintings and drawings inside, done by the artists Gainsborough and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Also, take a close look at the statue of Catherine in the centre of the room. Her husband put it there when she died.

An underwater light penetrates into a marine grotto and in the centre of it surveying her work is a marble statue of the countess, a shell in one hand and in the other a scroll with inscription. “In two hundred and sixty-one days these shells were put up by the proper hands of the Right Honourable Catherine Countess of Tyrone in 1754”. The statue is by John Van Nost, the nephew of better known Anglo Flemish sculptor of the same name.

You will have to pay to see this gem of a house.  

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