It’s hard sometimes to look on the bright side of life. [Amazing how those five words, in any sentence, immediately cue the Monty Python tune in my head.] The daily deluge of atrocities, injustices, and calamities served up to us by the global media challenge the most optimistic of optimists, and the most positive of positive thinkers out there. I lay no claim to being either an optimist or a positive thinker, but I delight in the extraordinary, the quirky, the OTT stuff that brightens up my world.
Heading to Rosslare recently, I detoured through Piercetown following the big signs towards Johnstown Castle as instructed.
I did a double take when I came around the corner at Rathaspeck Manor and saw the gate lodge. Known locally as the doll’s house, this little gem warranted a stop and stare but traffic didn’t allow. So I had to go back the next day to investigate.
Apparently, back in 1900, then owners, the Moody family, bought the house from the Paris Exhibition and had it dismantled. They shipped it to Ireland in pieces, where they put it back together as their gate lodge. It’s been lived in by a succession of families over the years and rumour has it that the lodge will soon be opened to the public.
Renovated a couple of years ago, it’s deceptively roomy with two bedrooms on the ground floor, alongside a sitting room, two porches, and a kitchen in the extension. Upstairs in the attic is another bedroom, with turrets accessed by a wooden stairs and four portholes giving an outlook in every direction. That’s the one I’d choose were it not for the constant stream of tourists pulling up outside to take photos.
In a world blighted by bleakness, it’s nice to revel in the whacky, the zany, the quirky. But on the world’s list of eccentric buildings, this wouldn’t even register. Have you seen the Basket Building in Newark? Or the Mushroom Tree House in Cincinnati? Mad. And brilliant. And guaranteed to make me smile. And that’s something to be grateful for.