CAPPOQUIN — “You found us all right?” said a beaming Barbara Grubb, extending one hand over the doorway while restraining her Jack Russell, Millie, with the other. In truth, my journey to Dromana House had been as serendipitous as it had been circuitous. On the search for self-catering treasures across Ireland, I discovered that across the border from my native Cork, in the ancient oak forests of west County Waterford, lies the most remarkable of Irish country manors, steeped in a richness of family history. Twenty-three generations to be exact.
It was a blustery winter’s eve when I arrived at Dromana, which is sequestered along a remote bank of the majestic River Blackwater. Grubb welcomed me into the kitchen, where her mother, Emily Villiers-Stuart, was having tea with a young French seasonal worker, just in from a day in the orchards. After Grubb hastily poured me a brew she fetched a collection of sepia images, which cataloged the family home through the years.