We had in mind for ages to visit the Swiss Cottage, outside Cahir, Co. Tipperary, but, as is often the case with attractions more or less on our doorstep, it was put on the long finger with a “sure, we can go there anytime” attitude in our minds. On Monday last, we reached the end of that long finger, the end of procrastination, and headed off on a dampish day to see this famous cottage orné which was built in 1810 on the estate of Lord and Lady Cahir as a place to entertain their guests.
As we approached from the Waterford side, we used a small woodland carpark about two kilometres out from Cahir and crossed the River Suir by an attractive pedestrian bridge. The cottage is not visible at this stage though the signs round about, and a helpful local who was walking his dog, told me that it was on the bluff which overlooked the bridge and river. A few minutes walk brought us round and up to the top of the bluff and to the beauty, and I suppose the incongruity, of a Swiss cottage on a riverside clifftop in the centre of Ireland.
The setting seemed perfect and I was carried away: Julie Andrews pranced across the lawn, followed by Christopher Plummer and his silver-screen children and I sang Edelweiss until a well delivered elbow to the ribs and a “Will you stop making a spectacle of yourself” brought me back to my senses. All of this was only in my mind, of course, and my darling wife neither knew of it nor delivered any blow.
The cottage is very attractive, interesting, even beautiful but it had competition for my attention from the magnificent specimen yew tree growing beside it. Though I can’t be sure, I imagine it may have been planted at the time the cottage was built which would make it 200 years old, a good age. It has grown beautifully over the years as have the trees surrounding the cottage and on the river bank below, something which has obscured the views to the river almost completely – there is still a peephole view through the trees looking north towards Cahir. The site for the cottage was surely chosen for its views of the river and it is a pity that these have now been obscured.
The cottage itself was closed, a necessity in these days of the Covid virus, so we missed the pleasure of seeing the interior which by all accounts is very beautiful. Because of the closure there were very few visitors, literally a handful – two couples, one with a child – and we had the place more or less to ourselves to walk about and enjoy the beauty of the exterior.
Plans to go further, to take the riverside walk back to Cahir or walk along the river in the opposite direction, were scuttled by the arrival of rain so we had no choice but to head back home and leave the riverside walk for another day.
In the meantime, I hope you may enjoy these images of the exterior of the Swiss Cottage and, should you wish to find out a little more about it you can follow these links:
Post Scriptum: Just to spare my ears, even if it is only in an imaginary way in my head, for those unfamiliar with the river above, the River Suir, please pronounce the name as “sure” – be sure you do that now!