Decadent dinner at Ballyfin provided by
Baz Luhrmann rarely shies away from glamor.
Strictly Ballroom, Moulin Rouge, Romeo + Juliet – he even managed to mould scenes of decadence from the desert dust in Australia.
This time, F Scott Fitzgerald’s most elegant character is his project. View the two minute trailer and you know Fitzgerald and Luhrmann is a marriage made in heaven, and the roaring twenties never looked better or more intriguing.
Still, there is no reason that DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan should have all the fun. We have some real treats for you in Ireland – a country house, a manor house or a castle, you just choose! From banquets to suppers, you can be as extravagant and as fabulous as you want! Here are some of our suggestions!
Lisnavagh House, just over an hour outside of Dublin between counties Carlow and Wicklow, will get you into Gatsby style, from its ivy covered portico, period charm and the delights that await you inside. Dressing tables are decked with mahogany mirrors and delicate perfume vials. Sitting rooms are gently jammed with Belle Époque elegance and frosted bottles of Moët recline in wooden champagne bucket.
Host and owner Emily Bunbury understands the attraction of reliving Gatsby glamor in such surrounds:
“Roaring fires; dinner by candlelight for up to 40 guests or 20 guests around a grand mahogany table; cocktails; nostalgic surroundings; manicured lawns; Victorian pleasure grounds; romanticism; many aspects of Lisnavagh House have been brought into the 21st century however sometimes there is a feeling that time has stood still...”
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Size doesn't matter
“And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties there isn’t any privacy.”
The Great Gastby, F Scott Fitzgerald
It’s here that we would have to disagree with Mr Gatsby. Small parties are fine. Small parties are perfect, in fact. You just need the right guests.
And the right setting.
Few people know
Crom Castle better than its manager, Noel Johnston.
According to the man himself, this historic property on the edge of Fermanagh's Upper Lough Erne is perfect for a party of up to 80 guests. That would keep Gatsby happy at least.
For something a little more intimate, let’s venture to Crom’s West Wing. Ensconced in a quaint corner of the lakeside pile, the West Wing is an evocative apartment space with beautifully wallpapered halls, four-poster beds and immaculately upholstered antique furniture. In this part of the castle, a bathroom feels more like a speakeasy than a powder room and a frosted champagne bottle cools itself on a mahogany table.
As you warm yourself by the white marble fireplace frieze, you get the impression that one night wouldn’t suffice for a party here. You may need to make a weekend of it.
Noel is only too aware that a Gatsby-style get together can result in some tired eyes. Should a late night turn find your morning difficult, Noel has the perfect idea
'You haven’t been to Crom if you haven’t been on the lake. We have a boat here that takes 12 to 14 people. Hop on, and just explore the lakes at your ease and leisure. There’s nothing better than lapping water and a sprinkling of verdant islands to clear you head. Trust me…'
Feeding your inner Gatsby
Fancy having your own Gatsby-style experience, here’s more perfect period properties to host a party to remember:
'Lavish' covers Ballyfin nicely. Ensconced in the endless greenery at the foot of
Laois' Slieve Bloom mountains, the first brick on this Regency pile was laid way back in 1820 for the well-to-do Coote family. Today, the interiors sing with chunky Italian marble, vast dining tables and guest rooms flecked with rococo stucco and Diocletian windows. Parties, too, are catered for here with dashes of serious style. You pick the theme, they run with it. A recent family who hosted a gathering there recalled about Ballyfin: "This place needs to be seen to be believed." We would tend to agree.
Chandeliers hang from daintily decorated ceilings, awesome sash windows let in the Tipperary landscape and bathrooms are dappled with Grecian statuary. Could this be Ireland’s most beautifully decorated castle?
The dining room here is made for grand meals. Also, the hosts’ home-grown fruit goes into their Rhubarb cocktails. How’s that for decadent?
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