Bantry House information
With its melancholic air of faded gentility, 18th-century Bantry House makes for an intriguing visit. The house has belonged to the White family since 1729 and every room brims with treasures brought back from each generation's travels since then. The entrance is paved with mosaics from Pompeii, French and Flemish tapestries adorn the walls, and Japanese chests sit next to Russian shrines. Upstairs, worn bedrooms look out wanly over an astounding view of the bay – the 18th-century Whites had ringside seats to the French armada. Experienced pianists are invited to tinkle the ivories of the ancient piano in the library. It's possible to stay in the wings.
Bantry House's gardens are its great glory. Lawns sweep down from the front of the house towards the sea, and the formal Italian garden has an enormous 'stairway to the sky', offering spectacular views.
In the former stables you'll find the 1796 French Armada Exhibition Centre , with its powerful account of the doomed French invasion of Ireland. The fleet was torn apart by storms; one frigate, La Surveillante, was scuttled by its own crew and today lies 30m down at the bottom of the bay.
Bantry House is 1km southwest of the town centre on the N71.