I lived abroad but returned to Ireland. New York, London and Manchester hold dear memories and dearer friends to this day. As a Designer I loved the excitement of time spent travelling for work to great cities and out of the way places to check progress on a menswear or a ceramics collection. I wanted to return, live in the Irish countryside and this is exactly what I did.
In many ways the Inn @ Ballilogue Clochán has evolved from the love of Design and Irish craft and tradition. My dream was to find a place in the countryside that I could make my own. The inspiration has always been time spent in at the country retreat of the artist, Patrick Scott, deep in the Wicklow hills. For a time I made it my own, often spending solitary time there for days on end in all weathers, just my Tibetian Terrier, Po and I. I worked on my menswear collections from the studio, sat by the cottage fire and walked the heather filled hills to where the Liffey rises before meandering it’s way to the Irish Sea at Dublin. Great memories that instilled in me that longing to find my own retreat in the heart of Ireland.
Finding a place in the Kilkenny countryside.
Initially I was pipped at the post, as it were, in a Wicklow property that had been of interest. This led to a wider search that brought me to the beautiful villages and countryside of the south east. St. Mullins, Graigenmanagh, Inistioge and the forests and river valleys were a revelation to me. I’d no idea that the area was such a beautiful, unspoilt and special place. In addition, Kilkenny had a long and rich history of innovation in architecture, craft, art and creativity which appealed greatly to my creative self. Kilkenny Castle, Rothe House, the original Kilkenny Design project, Butler Gallery and the National Craft Gallery are all testament to that.
A country road led to a small hamlet and cluster of barns and farmhouses in the south Kilkenny countryside. Time had stood still or so it seemed. A walled garden, a simple but perfect formation of stone houses around a courtyard, galvanise hay barns, peace and tranquility. It was a revelation! The townland was Ballilogue and the Clochán was that wonderful cluster of cottages, barns and farmhouses dating back to 1670.
Imagining the future.
Working with the London based, Irish architect, Mark Guard, I restored the Clochán, re-imagining the interiors as light filled contemporary spaces, modern and luxurious with architectural details. The oldest house, Mrs. Meaney’s Cottage, was restored but retained the interiors as it had been for centuries, including it’s wallpaper and artifacts.
The Inn @ Ballilogue Clochán.
Today the Inn @ Ballilogue Clochán, Inistioge and south Kilkenny welcome visitors from around the world to experience the rich history, culture and tradition of the area and stay for awhile in the comfort and tranquility of Ballilogue Clochán. They experience the interesting combination of craft, design, tradition and simplicity, of great architecture in a sustainable community in Ireland’s south east. It’s been a terrific journey and really is a world apart.