West Cork on menu for ‘Lords and Ladles’ series

One of Cork’s most beautiful ‘Big Houses’ is to appear in the popular RTÉ TV series Lords and Ladles.

West Cork on menu for ‘Lords and Ladles’ series

A film crew, along with celebrity chefs Catherine Fulvio, Derry Clarke, and Paul Flynn, travelled to the picturesque village of Castletownshend last week.

The 19-member crew spent several days in the area, staying in local B&Bs and filming an episode of the series in Drishane House, where the author Edith Somerville lived and worked.

Derry Clarke foraged for mussels and seaweed, visited a local smokery and explored the mansion’s kitchen garden. A delicious meal was prepared in the kitchen of the house by chef and author Catherine Fulvio and her assistant, for a nine-strong group of Somerville family members and friends.

The film crew was principally centred around the kitchen, which was refurbished and upgraded five years ago by owner Tom Somerville and his wife Jane. During the visit, Tom was interviewed by Derry Clarke about the history of Drishane House, which was built by his ancestors in 1780.

Tom’s family is the ninth generation to occupy the house, which sits on about 120 acres on the outskirts of the West Cork village.

The house is the latest in a long list of Irish stately homes to be featured in the programme — Birr Castle in Co Offaly and Tourin House in Co Waterford were among those previously featured.

The family’s youngest son Hal, 10, was filmed in the kitchen with blackberries he had collected on a picking expedition, while the TV crew also sent a drone overhead to get aerial shots of the house and grounds.

“It was a very interesting experience. I’ve seen some episodes of Lords and Ladles before now, and to see it being done in your own house is fascinating,” said Tom, a former barrister.

“It was extraordinarily professional and very cleverly done. I knew what was going to be involved — I was well briefed — but the reality of your house being used as a stage set, and the knowledge that household objects that one has known for years and taken for granted, are being shown on TV gives one a slightly funny feeling,” he said.

The house has some quirky touches.

Edith Somerville, Tom’s great grand-aunt — spent her life there and her initials, scratched with a diamond on the dining-room window, are still to be seen in the house, whose wallpaper dates from the 1840s, and where curtains from the 1820s are still to be seen. Tom said: “I have never been on TV before, so it was very interesting.”

He hopes the appearance of the house on TV will raise public awareness of the mansion itself — which is open to visitors 60 days a year — and of Castletownshend as an enjoyable place to visit. “Hopefully this episode of Lords and Ladles will create more awareness of the beauty of the house and of the area,” he said.

An early 2018 airing of the episode is expected.

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