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The Swiss Cottage in County Tipperary

During their time in Co. Tipperary, most tourists will visit Cahir Castle, but they will postpone their visit to The Swiss Cottage, a tourist attraction found nearby, for later. This is due to the belief that The Swiss Cottage is less interesting than Cahir Castle.

Of course, most people think castles are more interesting than cottages simply because castles cannot be found in our modern life. But in fact, The Swiss Cottage is far from ordinary. The thing is that the Swiss Cottage, much like the Casino Marino in Dublin, was built as a holiday retreat and wasn’t used as a permanent residence.

The Swiss Cottage was built in the beginning on of the XIX century, in a Georgian style, which was the main building style in Britain and Ireland at that time. However, its main feature is that it was built to look like one of the rural houses located on the grounds of the Royal Palace of Versailles in France.

During the rule of Queen Marie Antoinette, it became fashionable, for purposes of entertainment, for nobles to dress up and act like peasants/ordinary folk. This is why, on the grounds of the Royal Palace of Versailles, an area with roughly 20-30 houses, similar to those in which peasants lived at that time, was built and in it, the nobles of the palace would dress up and act like pheasants for entertainment.

Perhaps, this is what inspired Richard Butler, 12th Lord Caher, to build such a cottage. If you read our post about Cahir Castle, then you will know that the Butler family owned Cahir Castle for centuries.

The Swiss Cottage was built on land that belonged to the Butler family, on a beautiful little place beside the river of Suir. In those days, this cottage’s second floor balcony offered a wonderful view of Cahir Castle. Currently, large trees deprive us of such a view.

Even now, after almost 200 years the location of the Swiss cottage amazes us because of how everything looks so natural and untouched by man. We can only imagine how this place looked when the cottage was first built.

Now we will talk a bit about the actual cottage. Surprisingly, in spite of its rather large size, the Swiss Cottage only has four rooms, not counting the basement, which was previously used as a kitchen. However, on both the second and first floor, the rooms are separated by spacious halls and the two floors are connected to each other by a beautiful spiral staircase.

On the outside, this cottage is styled like a country house with a thatched roof, but the interior décor of the Swiss Cottage amazes us even now. For example, the Salon is decorated by wallpaper manufactured by the Dufour factory in France.

The small amount of well-preserved furniture will also impresses you; on account of how intrinsically it is decorated. For example, each individual chair was made from one solid block of wood, and it took a woodsmith two years to turn that block of wood into a beautiful chair. The music room is also very interesting; it has a very original design and holds various antique instruments.

The numerous balconies and verandas that surround the Swiss Cottage on all sides give the illusion that the cottage is very large. In our opinion, this only adds to the charm of the Swiss Cottage.

Sadly, during our visit to this cottage, all we could see was a fraction of what was left over from the early 1800’s. After all, at the end of the 20th century the Swiss Cottage was left without an owner, and it was only thanks to patrons that it was restored and given to the public in its current form.

To conclude our story about the Swiss Cottage we will note that in the Irish county of Tipperary, there is yet another tourist attraction worthy of attention. It is called Mitchelstown cave. Mitchelstown cave is located 15 kilometres south-west of Cahir and someday in the future we will tell you all about it.

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