The Wonders of Mount Stewart
Not many people are aware of that the National Trust actually has properties and landscapes in Northern Ireland. It does, in fact, own many and one of those is the certainly one of its best the property of Mount Stewart. To be honest I would go as far as to say it’s worth looking at Log Cabins for sale NI (Northern Ireland, it’s quicker if I write it that way) just so that you could be nearer and have a longer time. The property is next to Strangford Lough and the whole area is wonderful so check out http://logcabinsnorthernireland.com/ for some great ideas.
Mount Stewart is one of those National Trust places that still has a member of the family living on site. As is the usually the way, they were unable to pay the huge running costs of a stately home and garden, so they went with the “give it to the National Trust” option as they generally allow the original owners to stay until they pass on and live it to the Trust in their wills as a legacy. It means that as you are casually wandering the homes you suddenly come across few rooms or a wing that you can’t access. At Mount Stewart this is limited, and you can see all of the house except a few private rooms. Inside is a marvellous collection of Marble and alabaster to start you off. There are some beautiful worked statues of Greek figures and some Doric columns supporting the upper floors. Further along we have the famous Stubbs painting of the race horse Hambletonian getting a rub down after a training session. It’s one of his finest works and as always captures the horse in all it’s glory. Anther exciting feature is the chance to view the actual chairs used to debate the future of what Europe was going to look like after the battle of Waterloo. Work can see where the Duke of Wellington sat along with Blucher and feel the sense of relief and the knowledge of the long debates to come.
The real majesty of the site is its fantastic garden. This is by far the best feature. It is split into 2 parts, a landscape garden set around a lake and containing the family vault (a curious building called the temple of the winds) and a formal Italianate garden. The formal is the most interesting as it has many quirky features and sculptures. The Gurning Monkeys and Noah’s Ark (surrounded by Dodo’s!) draw you around the beautifully appointed flowers. There are some excellent topiary figures including an Irish Harp and a jumping Horse and jockey. There is also a red hand of Ulster (Geraniums are now used as opposed to the politically sensitive original red roses). Hidden away is a lovely little Sundial that has the best inscription on it ever written on a Sun dial “Serene I stand amongst the flowers and only count life’s sunny hours. For me dark days do not exist, I’m a brazen faced old optimist.”