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'It's a money pit and is a nightmare to maintain. It's a constant battle' - meet the families running Ireland's great country houses during the pandemic

Sky-high running costs, a never-ending cycle of maintenance and a torturous daily cleaning schedule - living in one of Ireland's great houses is both a constant battle and a labour of love. Four families tell Alex Meehan how they are rising to the new set of challenges posed by the pandemic.

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Catherine FitzGerald and Dominic West with their children Cristabel, 5, Francis, 9 and Senan, 10 at Glin Castle, County Limerick. Photo: Tony Gavin

Catherine FitzGerald and Dominic West with their children Cristabel, 5, Francis, 9 and Senan, 10 at Glin Castle, County Limerick. Photo: Tony Gavin

Edward Walsh, Constance Cassidy, Eddie Walsh and Constance Walsh, at Lissadell House in Sligo. Photo: James Connolly

Edward Walsh, Constance Cassidy, Eddie Walsh and Constance Walsh, at Lissadell House in Sligo. Photo: James Connolly

Patrick and Miriam Mulcahy of Ballinwillin House Farm, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork. Picture: Clare Keogh

Patrick and Miriam Mulcahy of Ballinwillin House Farm, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork. Picture: Clare Keogh

Lord and Lady Ardee [Fionnuala and Anthony]  pictured with their children , Aldus [10] ,Evelyn [4] , Aileen [6] Nora [13] and Louis the dog in the Orangery at Killruddery House in Bray Co Wicklow. Picture Credit:Frank McGrath

Lord and Lady Ardee [Fionnuala and Anthony] pictured with their children , Aldus [10] ,Evelyn [4] , Aileen [6] Nora [13] and Louis the dog in the Orangery at Killruddery House in Bray Co Wicklow. Picture Credit:Frank McGrath

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Catherine FitzGerald and Dominic West with their children Cristabel, 5, Francis, 9 and Senan, 10 at Glin Castle, County Limerick. Photo: Tony Gavin

'I don't believe in people martyring themselves for a house'

Killruddery House and Gardens, Bray, Co Wicklow

Best known for its historic gardens and the fact that it's been used as a filming location for everything from the TV series The Tudors and the movies Excalibur and The Turning, Killruddery is an 800-acre estate located between Bray and Greystones in Co Wicklow.

It has the distinction of having the only surviving 17th-century formal gardens in Ireland, along with an equally impressive 17th-century house.