Tag Archives: Ireland

Home renovations: restoring heritage properties

imageRestoring a heritage building requires unwavering faith, but the results can be heavenly. Genevieve Fox meets two visionary homeowners who’ve taken on the renovation challenge and won.

It breaks the heart to see them. Hidden away in city centres, standing in the middle of the countryside, or lurking in dark woods, wrecks are out there, wanting someone to love them. They come in hundreds of different forms: abandoned follies, ruined churches or deserted lighthouses. But they all have one thing in common: potential.

Mail order flowers

imageMail order flowers: get ready for some colourful arrivals
Using mail order is a great way to add variety to your floral collection with minimal fuss – provided you know what to look for.

It’s always tempting to try something new – a new holiday destination, the new beaujolais. And in recent years the number of new plants appearing at mail-order nurseries seems to have become a flood; it can be hard to distinguish between what is just a “me too” version of an old favourite and what is both new and actually worth growing.


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Fasten your seat belts. Chelsea’s finest garden is about to take off

imageBryony Gordon visits Diarmuid Gavin’s much-talked about Irish Sky Garden.
Honestly. Anyone would think there was an ash cloud hanging over the Royal Hospital in Chelsea. I had been hoping to go up in the air in Diarmuid Gavin’s much-talked about Irish Sky Garden, but when I get there I am told that for the time being all flights are grounded. Chaos! Dismay! A sea of disappointed faces stare glumly at the flower show’s star attraction: on previous days Gavin had treated Chelsea Flower Show-goers to some pantomime cheers from the pod in the sky (and, fittingly, Christopher Biggins has been for a “flight”).

Ford Madox Brown, Manchester Art Gallery, review

imageA new show captures the brilliance of Ford Madox Brown, says Richard Dorment

Ford Madox Brown is the odd man out among the Pre-Raphaelites. Born in 1821 to English parents in Calais, he learnt to paint in the academies at Antwerp, Ghent and Paris. But from the beginning Brown was a paid-up member of the awkward squad. He rejected the academic systems and conventions he’d been taught at these institutions in favour of the archaic purity of line he found in the work of the German Nazarene painters, and although he shared the ideals of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, he never felt the need to became a member.

40 years of Queen: Brian May interview

imageAs a lavish new history of one of the world’s greatest rock bands is published, Queen’s guitarist Brian May grants a rare interview to tell Peter Stanford about his fight with depression, and the long shadow cast by Freddie Mercury’s death

‘It’s like looking through a family album,” Brian May muses softly as he turns the pages of 40 Years of Queen, the sumptuously illustrated new history of the legendary rock band. “But where’s Freddie on this one?” he puzzles, coming to double page photograph, taken from the back of the stage in a stadium in Ireland in the summer of 1986.

Dublin city break: an insider’s guide

In the latest of our series of destination guides, Geoff Wallis offers tips on how to make the most of Dublin as the city gears up for St Patrick’s Day.


Why go?

The Irish economy may be a bit of a dampener, but Dubliners will doubtless ensure that March 17 is marked in the usual fashion. In the city of black pints and polished prose, there is no party quite like the one for St Patrick’s Day.

If you can’t make it then (and accommodation will be filling up), there are plenty of excuses at any time of year for a parade of your own, whether you’re intent on exploring those famously numerous bars, the influence of the city on Joyce, Swift and Behan, or the chic stores of Grafton Street.

Chillingham castle: A splendid recovery


A crumbling northern castle with a proud history has been rescued by an English eccentric, whose whimsical collections have breathed new life into the building

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