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A beautiful and historic Irish country house, Borris House is located in some of the most spectacular scenery Ireland has to offer. Known as a jewel in the crown of Carlow, it is popular Irish attraction both locally and across the country.
Situated in the beautiful Barrow Valley in County Carlow, Borris House is one of the more picturesque country houses in Ireland. A stroll through the lush woodlands and gardens and a tour of Borris House will leave visitors feeling like they’ve stepped back in time to their very own Downton Abbey.
Constructed in the Tudor style, Borris House was built in 1731 by Morgan Kavanagh. It is the hereditary home of the MacMorrough Kavanagh family, former Celtic kings of Leinster, and the famous 12th century Kavanagh Charter Horn remains on display in the house today.
In 1798 it was badly damaged but was carefully restored in 1820 by Richard and William Vitruvius Morrison. Visitors can take the Borris House guided tour that covers all aspects of its history, from the original 15th century castle right up to the present. The tour also takes in the rich history of the MacMorrough Kavanagh family who helped shape the house, estate and village of Borris as it appears today.
The ornate Stapleton ceilings and the Chapel of St Moling are both architectural highlights, as is the antique furniture, carpets, porcelain, silver and paintings on display. A not-for-profit famine lace industry was founded at Borris House by Lady Harriet Kavanagh to provide employment for the women of the village during the Great Famine of Ireland in the 19th century—today’s visitors will hear this famous story and see a small selection of Borris Lace for themselves.
A walk through the gardens of Borris House will take in the breathtaking views of Mount Leinster, the Blackstairs Mountains and the Barrow Valley. The newly-established Lace Garden takes inspiration from Borris Lace, using symbols and shapes from the lace as well as a white colour palette of plants.
In the parkland and church paddock, visitors will find a rich selection of stunning trees like the Lebanon cedar, fern leaf beech and tulip tree, as well as some exotic trees, shrubs and flora. Around the house, visitors can walk along the woodland paths, enjoy the fairy trail along the way and visit the 18th century ice house. Borris House is a great destination for the whole family—children can enjoy the educational trails and complete activity booklets, available as part of the entrance ticket.