Posted by: marymarthatours | August 18, 2011

Our Upcoming Visit to Tara’s Palace

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Among the participants on our tours to English Gardens in 2007 and Scotland in 2009 were a number of friends who share my passion for miniatures and doll houses. And although those tours focused on gardens, I tried to find locations along our route that would appeal to this special interest. Martha does the same for travelers who are interested in quilting and fabrics.

At Hever Castle in 2007, our travelers had lots of choices – from the castle interior, to the gardens, to the annual Patchwork and Quilting Exhibition, to the amazing John Hodgson miniature rooms. For our free half-day in Inverness in 2009, I arranged a special afternoon for the miniaturists with a group of their fellow hobbyists from Inverness at Maggie Parks’ Magpie Miniatures shop.

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Our visit to Magpie Miniatures in Inverness, 2009

As Martha and I began planning for this year’s Gardens of Ireland Tour, we started checking for fabric stores and miniature shops along the way. I couldn’t find very many miniature shops, but I did learn about the wonderful Tara’s Palace Dolls House that was housed on the grounds of Malahide Castle just north of Dublin.

Tara’s Palace was built after an effort to return the renowned Titania’s Palace to Ireland failed. Titania’s Palace had been built in Ireland between 1907 and 1922, with 18 rooms and 3000 miniature works of art on display inside. When it was purchased at auction in London in 1978 and moved to Legoland in Denmark, the disappointed Irish bidders began to think about creating a new Irish palace which would highlight the work of Irish craftspeople. Tara’s Palace is the result of that decision.

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Based on three Irish mansions, Tara’s Palace has 22 rooms and includes an “unrivaled collection of miniature furniture of the highest quality by some of the world’s leading makers”. In addition, as news of the project spread, collectors and antique dealers contributed valuable pieces. Tara’s Palace is now the centerpiece of a collection of other doll houses and children’s toys housed in the Museum of Childhood. One of the other doll houses on view was once owned by Lady Wilde, mother of Oscar. The Museum is a small charity dedicated to helping the children of Ireland.

When I first read about Tara’s Palace and the Museum of Childhood, I knew that it would be a perfect place for my miniaturist friends to visit. Malahide Castle isn’t in our itinerary, but we do have a free half-day in Dublin, so we could get there then. But when I contacted the Museum recently, I learned that Tara’s Palace was no longer at Malahide. It had moved to Powerscourt, south of Dublin.

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Powerscourt House and Italian Garden (photo by Paul Leonard)

What a serendipitous change for usPowerscourt, with its marvelous gardens is already on our itinerary, and we’ll be there with enough time not only to see the gardens and have lunch, but now to spend some time soaking up the wonders of Tara’s Palace.

(by Mary)

Photo credits:  All views of Tara’s Palace by permission of Museum of Childhood

Powerscourt: copyright Paul Leonard and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike License 2.0.

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