The last butler of Curraghmore house

Last weekend I went for a walk along the river Clodiagh in the Curraghmore estate to take pictures for this blog dedicated to the last butler of Curraghmore and his lovely wife who finally retired and left for Portugal this summer.

Who says you cannot change your career and your whole life at the age of 50+? “Born and raised” in Transvaal, South Africa”, Basil Croeser moved to Ireland in 1998 and got a job as butler to 8th Marquess of Waterford. Good old times when the notorious “work experience” was not required: there were no butlers in South Africa, not at that time anyway.

Curraghmore

Basil served as butler for 12 years. Some of his duties included “seeing to His Lordship’s general well being; preparing and serving light meals; maintaining stock and equipment; maintaining and winding 17 antique clocks”. When His Lordship’s health started to deteriorate, Basil retired from his butler’s duties, and a new, younger butler was hired. Basil was offered the role of a tour guide in the Curraghmore estate.

Old Lord Waterford passed away in 2015, and is remembered as a good and kindly neighbor. Current Lord Waterford doesn’t have a butler. That era is gone.

I have been in the House before, and I know the script, but that was a special day, and sadness was in the air as the last butler took us on his farewell tour.

Curraghmore

Basil’s tours and his unique knowledge will be missed.

The bags were already packed, as well as twenty years of memories. I wish them both a long and happy retirement!


These photographs I took for Basil and Colleen with a huge thank you for all they have done! 🙂 I came there early, less than an hour after the sunrise last Sunday, and parked outside the gate. The air was crisp and the sun just showed up from behind the forest.

Curraghmore

Suddenly the mist started to rise, first from the river, then from just about everything!

Curraghmore

In front of my eyes, the rippling steam rose from the grass. It was so thick that the sun rays couldn’t get through it.

The tree branches covered with moss started steaming too!

The sun rose higher and lit the tree tops.

What a magnificent morning!

Curraghmore

I crossed the bridge and walked along the river. A strange object caught my eye. It’s a tail! I quickly checked my settings.

squirrel

Red squirrel run too far and too high from me, but I noticed a big sweet chestnut in his mouth. I only know one such tree nearby, but it is on the other side of the river. What a brave little fella.

squirrel

Young pheasants are having a double date. There are hundreds of them in the woods.

pheasants

This one started to walk towards me – for a treat or for a fight?

pheasant

He stood just a few steps away, looking at me with one eye then the other before slowly walking away across the road.

pheasant

I walked across the bridge again to see the sweet chestnut tree ( and may be another squirrel) and visit the House. The other side of the river looked warm and welcoming.

Curraghmore

The pale yellow Ferns seem so fragile.

ferns

ferns

The sweet chestnut tree provided me with a lot of entertainment and some fifty pictures of its cute fruits. No squirrels though.

Sweet chestnut

sweet chestnut

The House is closed for public tours until the Easter 2019, but you can try to make an appointment.

Curraghmore

I turn to the road that would take me to the King John’s bridge. I still don’t give up hope to get a picture of Kingfisher, but apparently not today as a young couple with an off-leash dog turns into the same road. I let them pass, and dive into the dark side path that takes me in the opposite direction. A natural arrangement of sun-lit leaves in the puddle draws my attention. When I look at the picture, I am very pleased to see a hovering tiny bonus Syrphid fly and its shadow.

The path is quite dark, and I am not surprised that the only sunny spot is occupied. Young pheasant female doesn’t consider me a threat and makes herself cozy in the sun.

pheasant hen

No Kingfisher in sight, but a plump Dipper with a bright white bib looks over his shoulder at me with disapproval. Sorry, pal, my camera does make loud noises.

Dipper

The next stretch is a bamboo ‘forest’. After I finally emerge from the greenery, I step on my favorite ‘fairy path’ 🙂 It is all for today.

Curraghmore

Hope you all enjoyed the morning in Curraghmore as much as I did.

Here are more links to the Curraghmore stories : The Stag and the Dragon I ; The Stag and the Dragon II  ; The Tower  ;  Lady Florence ; Clonegam  There are many other related stories in this blog.

 Have a wonderful weekend!

121 comments

  1. Thank you for your blog the beautiful pictures and interesting storys, Inessa! With each one i love ireland and his culture more☺️

  2. Thanks for your blog and all the beautiful pictures and interesting storys, Inessa !! With each one i love ireland and his culture more.☺️

  3. A lovely tribute, Inese. Basil’s unique perspective and knowledge will be missed, I’m sure. That stuff can’t be learned from books. I loved this nostalgic post and beautiful, peaceful photos.

    1. Thank you so much, Diana! They left in the end of August, and Basil has trained a new guide 🙂 I think they will have more tours in the future as the place is crying for money to keep it preserved.

  4. Looks like a wonderful day out. Always love your pictures. There is always something sad about the end of an era. Doesn’t seem to matter what it is, but it would be a neat place to set a story.

  5. Lovely scenes you did capture of the place. I really love your pheasant pictures. They are beautiful. I have never seen chestnuts on the tree before. They have spikes around. I could not imagine that a bit.

    1. Thank you! 🙂 I know you love pheasants, and I was thinking of you. I brought home many pictures, and simply enjoyed watching them, their mannerism and routine.
      This is an edible chestnut. Its leaves are very different from the horse chestnut with the cream and pink flowers, and the fruits are smaller. The spiky balls look very cute 🙂

      1. You have sparked an interest about pheasants. I have not seen them in real life. Googled about them some more and watched few video, they are quite cute. A little sad to learn that they are game bird. By the way, the wiki page says they are rare in Ireland?

        1. No they are not rare. They are everywhere in the woods and fields. Pheasants are game bird, and the hunting season starts in November… I knew you would love them. Gorgeous bird, all shiny and colorful. To tell the truth, there is nothing much to eat, in my opinion. Once I picked up a killed pheasant female to take it off the road in a nicer place, and I was surprised how light she was. It is only feathers, the body is very small, nothing like a chicken.

  6. No matter how many times I visit your site, I am always left impressed by your talents as both photographer and storyteller. Always a pleasure.

    1. Thank you Syd! When I entered the estate there was no fog, but after minute or so, suddenly everything began steaming 🙂 It was like somebody waved a magic wand.

  7. A wonderful offering, Inese, thank you.

    May i ask you something? Have you ever been to Anamult House in Stoneyford, Kilkenny.
    i ask because my family owned it at one time

    Big hugs

    john

    1. John, I used to drive past Stoneyford, but the Annamult house is off the big road, and no one would go there without a good reason, as the road is suitable for only one car. I just messaged to the Nore valley national park and asked for assistance. If they answer my message I might know more next week 🙂

      1. You take photo’s people can see stories in. I’ve tried, but can’t do that unless occasionally I get lucky – but still not very often! Keep blogging ~ George

  8. How magical! I love adventures like tours. And bonus unwitting subjects in photos. Bugs are everywhere. 😊 I would love to tour that house. Looks amazing.

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