Wednesday 21 August 2019

Mary O'Sullivan

Safe harbour: Montenegro was one of the 'sail-ins' on the cruise itinerary.

Travel: Into the Mystic with the sea and the sky 

A lot of holidays can be summed up in three words - sun, sea, shopping. And three lovely words they are too, suggestive of a foreign location, catching the rays, relaxation and retail therapy. My most recent holiday had those three Ss in spades, but there were a further three which added hugely to our enjoyment of the holiday - sail-ins, sail-aways and sunsets. My companion and I were on a cruise, and every morning the ship, the Thomson Majesty, would sail into a new location and every evening we would leave and begin our journey to our next port of call.

Darren and his wife Lorraine in the living room of their home in Dublin 8. Photo: Tony Gavin

My Favourite Room: Man of marbles 

'This is the head of a Tasmanian devil, they became extinct in the 1920s; and these are two leopard heads," Darren Robinson explains, as he points out the three heads above the door into his living room. He adds, "The Tasmanian devil is a really early one because it's got a lead mouth, one of the leopards has a Bakelite mouth, and the other is early too, because it's got a clay mouth. You can date them by the type of mouth they put in, and, of course, the eyes are glass. The teeth are real."

Artist John Graham in the eating area of his extension. The walls are concrete, as is the floor. The chairs are by Arne Jacobsen. Frankie the whippet is his daughter Rachel’s dog, but John is a big fan

The art of design: Artist John Graham's newly renovated home 

Over the years these pages have featured a wide variety of houses, including restored buildings that started life as stables, barns or even cow sheds, and were transformed into comfortable, often elegant homes. This week, however, is something of a first, where the home owners actually wanted to incorporate into an extension a particular element, and it turned out this element was sourced from manufacturers of farm buildings, specifically pig sheds.

Costume designer Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh in the living room extension, which was added to her 19th-Century cottage in 2004. The extension, which includes a bedroom, was designed by the architect Simon Walker. The double bass belongs to Eimer's daughter, Iris; the family
photos are by Eimer's husband, photographer Bernard Walsh

Stage drama 

Though a yellow kitchen is a lovely thing, and cheers up a typical grey day enormously, we Irish haven't taken to yellow in a big way. Only a really creative person used to taking risks with colour would venture into such a prominent yellow and, sure enough, Eimer Ni Mhaoldomhnaigh – owner of this successfully yellow kitchen – works in design. As one of Ireland's most celebrated costume designers, Eimer has a profound knowledge of the power of colour, texture and pattern, and uses them to great effect in her lovely home in Co Meath.