Two weeks ago, Jon and Robbie and I joined my in-laws on the southwest coast of Ireland for a very meaningful occasion: a final celebration of Jon's late father's life.
Schull, in County Cork, has been part of the Purves family history for decades. Jon's paternal grandparents first brought their four children out when Jon's father was a teenager; they spent every summer in Schull after that, and Jon and his sister made annual trips there when they were growing up, too.
While the main event of the week was the scattering of Mike's ashes at sea, it was such a treat to hear more stories of Jon's childhood - and to relive some of them ourselves! Most of their time in Schull was spent sailing, but one regular bad-weather activity was a visit to Bantry House, a historic home overlooking Bantry Bay. I'm told that Jon's granny, Peggy, would hold court in the tea room while the kids were dragged around the gardens, so we recreated the experience for ourselves on an overcast afternoon!
Bantry House, originally called Blackrock House, was built in the early 18th century. The White family purchased it in 1739, and the eldest son born there was elevated to the peerage in 1816. The first Earl of Bantry expanded the house, filling it with an exquisite collection of furniture and art. The second Earl and his wife developed the gardens, which have slowly been undergoing restoration over the last twenty years after suffering decades of neglect. The family still lives in and manages the house and grounds so photos aren't allowed inside, but I took lots of pictures of the exterior and gardens - it's absolutely beautiful, and I can only imagine when the property will look like when returned to its original splendor.