Monday, September 20, 2010

Newbridge House, Donabate, Co. Dublin

Newbridge House is an 18th century Georgian stately home, built for the then Archbishop Cobbe and his family. It continued in Cobbe ownership until 1985 when the county council bought it. The family retained rights to occasional use and the OPW took on the mammoth task of restoration, which they detail in photos beside the gift shop.

It opened in 1987 as a house and massive park and over the past 23 years has expanded to include a traditional working farm, a great playground for kids, picnic areas, etc. The house retains most of its original furniture, though some of it has seen better days. It's somewhere I've been enjoying for years, both as a child and an adult.
The €7 tour incorporates the fabulous red drawing room, a museum of items brought back from travel across the world (including a mummified ear and lots of butterflies), it also shows the huge kitchen with all its equipment and dining room amongst other rooms. For such a small amount of money, I think it's one of the best stately home tours in north county Dublin (I'll cover some more of them over the next few months).

The traditional farm charges a small admission too but is worth it, especially with children. There's a huge array of animals from baby chicks to cows and a friendly goat. There's also a display of fancy carriages and old farm equipment. Naturally enough there is a coffee shop - it's a bit small but does nice cakes and good whipped icecream.
The parkland is, I think, even more of gem than the house. There's over 300 acres and several guided walks. You can easily walk from Donabate train station to the house, and also down to the Donabate side of the Broadmeadow estuary.
There's lots of parking near picnic areas and recently they added a small farmers market at the weekends, thought it really hasn't taken off properly yet. The last day I was there, there were very appetising bbq smells. It's particularly beautiful in Autumn, which I'm sorry to say, is here.

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