Situated on the 16th Hole of the O'Meara Course, overlooking the bridge across the River Rye, the Shell Cottage is a very special, entirely unique example of what luxury hotels in Ireland, try to achieve.
Decorated with an endless assortment of different shells of all shapes and sizes the beautiful little cottage was originally built for the arrival of Queen Victoria to the luxury Carton House Hotel and later used as a reception lodge for "luncheon" on fishing afternoons.
With many quaint and quirky additions including narrative stained glass, old church seats and small gothic doorways, the cottage appears suddenly from one of the many meandering nature trails - belonging it would seem, to the stuff of fairytales and times long forgotten. The hotel is located near Dublin, ideal for midweek and weekend hotel breaks in Ireland.
Queen Victoria's "Bedroom", the beautiful Chinese Room is in its original state and once housed the four poster bed in which the Queen slept. Hugely extravagant, Lady Emily specially commissioned gilt-wood and hand-drawn papyrus wallpaper from China for the walls.
The intricate wallpaper has been delicately restored by historians. It is extremely sensitive to light and kept at a different temperature and light-setting to the rest of the luxurious house. Another reason for a short hotel break in Ireland.
*Viewing by appointment.
The original and beautifully ornate room, the Gold Salon heralds "pomp and splendour", a barrel vaulted "Occasion" room that signalled the highly fashionable "Baroque" ornate style throughout, with commissioned stucco work by the famous Franchini Brothers of Switzerland - the room's soaring ceiling is covered in intricate gold swirls and motifs with a continuing set of French doors which open out to an uninterrupted view across the golf course; a view which, Queen Victoria once remarked, "should never be spoiled".
Rebuilt in famine times as a famine relief project, the Tyrconnell Tower is the symbol of Carton House Hotel Kildare and is thought to have Medieval origins.
Sitting on the edge of the River Rye on the approach, the Boat House is thought to have been built for one of Queen Victoria's visits to Carton. The Fitzgeralds were informed that the Queen had a dream that she was rowing on the lake at Carton House so it is said they built the Boat House and commissioned a special boat for her visit.
Near the Club House, in a walled off garden, members of the Fitzgerald family are buried here.
The Carton Estate was lost by the Fitzgerald family in the 1920s after over two centuries of ownership when the 3rd son of the 6th Duke sold his birthright to Lord Brockett to pay off an immense gambling debt.
Carton house was a favourite of Queen Victoria and counts Princess Grace, Prince Rainier and Peter Sellers as its one-time inhabitants.
Lady Emily is credited for converting the Carton Demesne parkland.
Lady Emily Fitzgerald was very fond of spotted cows and kept a collection of them so she could watch them grazing on the land.
Carton Estate has Special Area of Conservation Status and is home to a herd of red deer, badgers, otters, foxes, owls, buzzards, kingfisher, hawks, falcons, bats and many rare species all of which add to the hotel's fine reputation as being one of the most unique luxury hotels in Dublin, Ireland.