Meet Designer Orla Kelly

We are thrilled that designer Orla Kelly will be giving a talk about working on heritage properties at 1pm this Saturday 6th August in Clomantagh Castle, Freshford, County Kilkenny. Over the years, Orla has worked on the design, interiors and fit out of 19 of Irish Landmark Trust’s historic buildings. This involved selecting historic colours, fabrics, antiques and vernacular furniture suitable for a wide range of period buildings. Most furniture was bought at auction and in many cases restored, giving Orla extensive experience in this field.

After studying Architecture, Orla Kelly began her career in Milan where she learnt trompe l’oeil techniques, using traditional and modern methods. She worked on the Versace Apartment in Rome, Fila Family Home in Bergamo and Central Park in New York. On her return to Ireland she did stenciled and printed oilcloth floors for the National Museum and many private and public clients. She was also the interiors and DIY expert on RTE television’s Our House with Duncan Stewart. In the last few years Orla has diversified into styling shots for various marketing campaigns and brochures, such as Waterford Stanley and Colortrend and recently moved into exhibition design for trade shows and corporate events – an area she excels at with a skill set that allows her to provide both detailed architectural plans and specifications right up to the final styling of the overall exhibit.

Clomantagh Castle (where the talk is taking place this Saturday) is part of a unique settlement of tower house, farmhouse and bawn. The tower (1430s) and the farmhouse (1800s) are linked by doors allowing guests to wander freely between two periods of history. A mixture of simplicity and rustic charm, Clomantagh also features a Sheela-na-gig (a symbolic pagan nude carved on one of the stones). 
Of outstanding importance because of the collection of buildings spanning the period from the 12th – 19th Century, the complex at Clomantagh includes a 12th Century parish church, an early 15th Century tower house, an almost intact boundary or bawn wall with a medieval dovecote, and a 19th Century farmhouse.

High on the tower house, above the roof of the farmhouse, there is evidence of an external wall, of an earlier attached structure. This is most likely the banqueting hall, which we know from contemporary descriptive accounts of Irish life were used for entertaining, the lord and his family only returning to the safety of the stone castle to sleep. 
On the site of this banqueting hall stands the Victorian farmhouse, which is a fine example of this building type retaining most of its original features, apart from the roofing material, which was changed from thatch to slate.

This house, which is linked to the castle on ground and first floor, was built about 1850 by the Shorthall family. It has been restored and furnished to its Victorian origins, whilst the Tower keeps its medieval character. The limewash on the outside of the house is slightly tinted by using fine particles of red sand. 
The castle kitchen and a bedroom are located in the tower house – a medieval turret stone staircase leads from the kitchen to the main bedroom.

There is no charge for this talk.

Talk with Orla Kelly, 1pm Saturday 6th August 2016, Clomantagh Castle, Freshford, Co. Kilkenny.