VANISHING IRELAND EXHIBITION, 2013
An exhibition of 32 large photographs from the acclaimed Vanishing Ireland series will be on show at Burtown House and Gardens, Athy, Co. Kildare, from Saturday February 9th – Sunday February 24th. The award-winning 'Vanishing Ireland' project began in 2001 when photographer James Fennell and writer Turtle Bunbury embarked upon the first of many extensive tours of Ireland to meet people of senior vintage and chronicle a world that is rapidly disappearing. Twelve years later, the duo have produced three volumes of the best-selling 'Vanishing Ireland' series with sales in excess of 62,000 copies, as well as 'The Irish Pub', which focused on the endangered pub. The project has been universally acclaimed as an invaluable record of times past. This follows on from successful exhibitions of the Vanishing Ireland photographs at Cill Rialaig in Co. Kerry, the Visual Arts Centre in Carlow and the Hunt Museum in Limerick City. A fourth volume of the 'Vanishing Ireland' series will be published in 2013.
Burtown Garden is made up of several areas, including large herbaceous borders, shrubberies, rock garden, a yew walk with dividing pergola, an old orchard, a more formal stable yard garden and a large woodland surrounded on all sides by water, which hosts a collection of candelabra, primulas, hostas, ferns and iris, amongst other plants. There are many old roses, peonies and clematis and a walled organic vegetable garden that has been in continuous production for 150 years.
Isabel Shackleton (married to the present owner's great grandfather and first cousin to the explorer Ernest Shackleton) is responsible for some of the original layout, but over the last 30 years it has been greatly enlarged and reclaimed by the present owner, artist Lesley Fennell and her son photographer James Fennell. The gardens come to life in February with a spectacular show of winter aconites and snowdrops, followed by many varieties of daffodils, hellebores and trillium.
With open artists studios, a Sculpture Trail, a Wendy Walsh exhibition and a Vanishing Ireland exhibition in the Gallery, and with a Cafe / Restaurant and shop, Burtown House and Gardens has much to offer and can accommodate private groups of up to 50 for coffee, tea or lunches sourced from the organic kitchen garden and cooked for you by Joanna Fennell. Groups can also avail of house tours by family members. Burtown is very much a family home and is still within the hands of the family that built it.