Monday, August 21, 2017

Taking a "walk" through Tara's Palace

Sorry I skipped a couple of days here - we were tied up all weekend with the "Gathering in Gagetown" so I was unable to get back to the postings. However, I didn't forget that I had promised to share the rest of my pictures with you.

These pictures are all kind of crappy because each room is covered by glass and the sun was streaming through the large windows of the room in which it is housed. But ... here goes anyway!

Keep in mind when looking at each of these rooms, that everything you see is completely hand made, by some of the most skilled craftspersons in the world. The building itself was superbly crafted by Irish woodworkers and craftsmen.

We'll start with the first side and work our way around. Here,again, is the view of the whole side:

On this side you have the chapel, which is two stories high:

We also have the Games Room:

...the cream bedroom:

...the music room:

...the formal dining room:

this is the first room where I also took pictures of the mirrors placed on the floors at the front of the room. These are there to allow viewers to see the beautiful, intricately hand-painted and decorated ceilings in a number of the rooms, or special light fixtures such as the hand made, lead crystal chandeliers hanging in the dining room:

and, tucked in between rooms, the green marble bathroom:

Moving around the corner to the next side:

We now have the blue room:

...the drawing room:

It's in this room where we find the most expensive piece of 1:12 scale furniture in Tara's Palace - an antique, hand-crafted, leather topped games table which, if I heard correctly, is valued at over 10,000 Euros:

We also have the drawing room:

...the open, two-storey foyer:

...the ivory room, filled with exquisite pieces of hand-carved ivory, and a beautiful painted ceiling to match:

...and, in contrast to these more delicate rooms, we have a dining room furnished with the darker, heavier pieces of a Tudor dining room:

Now let's walk around the corner to the third side (again - my apologies for the reflections - I tried so hard to avoid them, to no avail):

On this side pf the Palace, we have the amazing silver room, where the incredible works of several master silversmiths are on display:

...and the ceiling of the silver room:

...the men's sitting room:

...the library, filled with hundreds of readable books, followed by a view of the library's ceiling:

...the garden room and ceiling:

...this next room is close to impossible to see because of the reflection but I am putting it in anyway. This is the chinoisserie room. The black lacquered furniture and wall panels with incredible hand-painted Asian motifs is breathtaking:

...this side ends with the nursery and a view of part of the nursery ceiling:

With that, I must say, it is getting late and I do need to be up early tomorrow so...we will continue this tour tomorrow with the last side - the functional side where the servants perform the many functions necessary to keep a palace of this size running smoothly. I hope you've enjoyed the tour so far - despite the terrible quality of the pictures. Darn that shiny glass!!! See you tomorrow. TTFN!! - Marilyn

Thursday, August 17, 2017

First comes the story....

Okay - yesterday I promised I would have a treat for you from this year's trip to Ireland. As I said, we purposely took a different route down to West County Cork this year because I wanted to drop into the Powerscourt Estates in Enniskerry, County Wicklow. Here is the story I put together from the websites of Powerscourt Estates and from Tara's Palace and Childhood Museum:

In the early 1900s, master Irish craftsmen were commissioned to build a wonderful miniature doll’s house palace. “Titania’s Palace” took 15 years to complete and was furnished with exquisite miniatures from the four corners of the world. Titania’s Palace then toured the world, raising money for children’s charities.

- Titania's Palace-

Unfortunately, by 1967, the owners were no longer in a position to tour with the Palace so it was put on the auction block, through Christie’s in London, with the funds raised from the sale once again being donated to children’s charities.

The purchaser offered it to the Irish Government but the offer was not followed up on at the time so, sadly, Titania’s Palace left Ireland and remained in England for many years.

In 1978, the Palace was once again being offered for sale at Christie’s Auction House. Ron McDonnell, head of the Irish Antiques Dealers Association, led an Irish delegation at the auction, confident they could buy the Palace back for Ireland. They had not allowed for the deep pockets of Legoland, Denmark, who paid £135,000 for this incredible example of miniature artistry. Once again, Tatania’s Palace was lost to Ireland.

However, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a great true story with a fairy tale ending began. Ron and his colleagues decided that “If Irish craftsmen could build one miniature palace, they could build a second one.” They commissioned the building of a new miniature palace and named the new building “Tara’s Palace”, in honour of the fairy princess, Tara.

Tara’s 22-room Palace has been meticulously constructed by some of Ireland’s finest craftsmen and has taken over twenty years to complete. Designed and built to one-twelfth scale, it encapsulates the grandeur and elegance of three great 18th century Irish mansions; Leinster House (Kildare Street, Dublin), Castletown House (Celbridge, County Kildare), and Carton House (Maynooth, County Kildare).

Tara's Palace - Leinster House Facade

Each room is furnished with exquisite miniature furniture, many of them priceless antiques. Paintings by leading Irish Artists, including Tom Ryan R.H.A. and miniature furnishing masterpieces by Fed Early, Paul Geoghegan, Michael Walton, John Hodgson and others adorn the State Rooms and private apartments. The magnificent Cantilever staircase is by Christopher O’Neill & Sons, while rare examples of glass, porcelain, silver and ivory in miniature have been collected from around the world.

Among the fascinating furniture is a collection of carvings made by Napoleonic prisoners of war, carved from bone pieces they kept from their scarce rations.

Following the tradition of Titania’s Palace, Tara’s Palace, Museum of Childhood is a small registered charity dedicated to helping the children of Ireland. The Palace itself forms the centre piece of the Museum and is augmented and supported by a collection of historic doll’s houses including “Portabello,” circa 1700, possibly the earliest surviving doll’s house in Ireland or the U.K which was collected by Vivien Greene. The museum has also acquired a doll’s house from the family of Lady Wilde (Oscar’s Mother), a very rare and small 18th century doll’s house for use in a carriage to amuse children when travelling and others in various styles and periods.

The rest of the story will be told through the many pictures I took while at the museum. I probably could have taken more but it was very busy the day we were there and it was difficult to get into a good position. Also - the room that houses the Palace has very large windows on both sides of the room which caused so many reflections on the glass protection in front of each of the doll house rooms that there are many photos with the reflection of people and other things - so sorry but I was pretty sure they wouldn't take kindly to being asked to remove the glass fronts! :-)

Here are a few pictures to get you started and I will post the rest that I have tomorrow. Today I'll start with the front of Powerscourt Estate itself, then give you some pictures of the overall 1" scale Tara's Palace. Tomorrow I'll show pictures of individual rooms.

Powerscourt Estates (The building is beautiful but the acres of gardens are spectacular! - I didn't get pictures of those.):

Tara's Palace (The outside walls for the Palace are sitting on top of the building so you can see what the exterior would look like if they were put in place):

The main garden:

So - if you're interested - pictures of the individual rooms will come tomorrow. Enjoy! TTFN!!! - Marilyn

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

I found my craft room!!!!!

I can't believe it's been over three months since I've been able to post anything here! Yup - my life is totally out of control!

Since my last post our F.A.M.E. group displayed at the Moncton Miniature show. We had several of our club projects on show, plus Louise's Via Rail train station - fabulous!

Here's a look at the inside of Garry's Old West Bath House - isn't it fantastic?

The show was busier this year than it has been for the last few years. I had driven to Moncton the night before because they were calling for torrential rains on Saturday and I'm always nervous of hydroplaning on the highway. By the end of Saturday, I admit, I was exhausted.

From then until now I have been so busy with everything else that I have not done any minis. That sucks, big time!! The rest of May was spent on Irish Association items and getting everything settled before our annual trip to Ireland. We spend the month of June there every year so need to make sure all is taken care of before we leave.

We flew out on May 30th, arriving in Dublin on the 31st. We stayed in Dublin for the first night and visited with friends, then started our way south the next morning. Instead of taking our usual route from Dublin down to Baltimore, on the very tip of South West County Cork, we took an alternate route because of something very special I wanted to see. I know you're going to love it too but you'll have to wait until my next post where I will share the story and all of the pictures I took.

So - fast forwarding to the end of our trip - we arrived home on June 28th and, after a couple of days full of laundry and housework, all focus was on preparing the Irish booth materials for the Irish Festival in Miramichi in the middle of July. Miramichi is a couple of hours from where we live so we stayed there for three days, coming home completely worn out but began getting the materials ready again for the following weekend which was the New Brunswick Highland Games. Bruce and I were so tired through that weekend that, when the booths closed for the evening each day, we didn't even take in any of the great bands playing in the evenings - we came home, grabbed a quick bite, and fell asleep in front of the television, woke up, went to bed, got up the next morning and repeated!

With July coming to a close, I knew I had a couple of weeks to catch up on other Irish stuff and get ready for the mid-August "Gathering in Gagetown" where we not only would have our booth but I have to prepare a presentation on Searching Your Family History for Bruce to give. Even so, I felt sure I could get at least a little bit of mini work done. However, I couldn't find anything! Have you ever seen an episode of The Hoarders? That's what my craft room looked like - no exaggeration!

So - last week I was determined I would clean out my craft room, find my materials and tools, and do what I love best - mini work. Have you ever heard of the expression: "the best laid plans of mice and men...". Well, before I could get started on minis, Bruce had gone downstairs to the family room late one afternoon to get something he needed and I heard a loud shout. Running down the stairs to see what the heck was the matter, I was greeted by the sight of the basement ceiling bulging. water streaming out of it where it joined to a side wall, a soaking wet carpet and bits of wall board hanging and falling on everything. What a mess! (whoever finished the ceiling many years ago, managed to put two wallboard screws through a hot water pipe. Apparently the screws acted like plugs for a long time, then finally rusted out enough that the holes just let go)

Needless to say - my craft room and my minis got put on hold while we talked back and forth with our insurance adjuster and a contractor crew arrived, fixed the pipe that had two holes in it, tore out the whole ceiling in the 12 x 30 foot room, ripped up all of the carpeting, and tore the wall board off one of the walls.

So - in addition to the mess in my craft room, the other rooms in the basement, including the spare bedroom and 2nd bathroom have been used to store all of the furniture, electronics and other stuff that we had to remove from the family room. So much fun!!!

Now for some good news!!!! Today I found my craft room!!! Look at it! Doesn't it look all pretty and clean???

You know why it's so clean?? Remember that big 12x30 foot space that is now completely empty while we wait for the insurance company and contractor to get things started? Well, I took the opportunity to empty EVERYTHING out of my craft room in order to organize it. Now I have the joyful task of going through everything, getting rid of as much as I am willing to let go of, and setting my room back up so I can actually get some work done.

Okay - don't be frightened - this is what is now out in the empty family room area that needs to be either put away or gotten rid of.

It feels like a mountain but, hopefully it will be only a molehill in a few days. I can hardly wait to get back to work on my miniatures.

I will keep you posted on my clean up progress as well as any mini work I can actually get done. Also - I won't forget to share my story and pics from something really special in Ireland that I'm sure you will all love. Now, I'm off to bed early tonight - gotta work in the Irish Room tomorrow. TTFN!! - Marilyn