Castle Coole and Florence Court

Northern Ireland is the home to many hidden gems for tourists. If you are on a tour of Ireland try and see the North. Ireland Luxury Tours have fantastic day tours out of Belfast and extended tours ranging fro 2 to 14 days that allow clients to experience the whole island of Ireland.

The grand Palladian mansion of Castle Coole, home of the Earls of Belmore, is the most impressive house of its age in Ireland. Its original cost was enormous (furnishing it was even more expensive than its construction) and it has recently been faithfully restored, at a vast expense, by the National Trust.

A masterpiece by James Wyatt, completed in 1798, the house contains magnificent plasterwork and curved doors of ancient mahogany. It is perhaps more of a showpiece than its neighbour, Florence Court.

Florence Court is another particularly fine mid-18th-century Palladian house. The seat of the Earls of Enniskillen, it was superbly restored after a disastrous fire in 1956. Splendid plasterwork is the main feature, best preserved on the staircase and dining-room ceiling, which quick thinking workmen saved from collapse during the fire by drilling holes to drain flood water. The house has a relaxed lived-in air.

It is an unusual claim to fame, but every example of the Irish-type yew tree ultimatly comes from cuttings taken from a mutant discovered in the gardens of Florence Court. The branches have a distinguishing upright habit instead of the normal spread growth. The original tree was identified anf first propagated in 1767, and the Irish yew is now planted widely in graveyards and formal gardens.