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As you walk along the road to Stack’s Cross, you will cross over a deer pass. This runs under the road to the deer park at Castlehyde House, which can be seen in the distance.
Castlehyde House is the ancestral home of the first president of Ireland, Dr. Douglas Hyde. In later years, it was owned by an American couple who, in the late 1950s, brought the entire Boston Symphony Orchestra over to perform at one of their parties.
Designed circa 1750 by Davis Ducart, with later additions by the elder Abraham Hargrave of Cork, the stunning house is built in the Georgian style, with Palladian accents, and is only improved by a sprawling and attractive demesne, containing the ivied ruins of the castle that gives the property its name. The house’s interior is beautifully appointed, and features long, wide corridors and a cantilevered staircase of stone, decorated with an elegant balustrade.
The grounds were the site of a duel, fought with pistols in 1832 between Dr O’Brien and ‘The Councillor’ O’Mahony over an insult thrown at a local priest. O’Mahony, the insulter, was the first hit and later succumbed to his wound.
The Hyde motto, inscribed the family tomb, reads as follows: ‘De Vivis Nil Nisi Verum De Mortius Nil Nisi Bon’ – ‘Speak only truth of the living and good of the dead.’ Words as true today as they were when first spoken.
The house is currently inhabited by Michael Flatley, famed for his performances in Riverdance and later Lord of the Dance shows.