The Home of Somerville and Ross : Irish Writers


We were lucky enough to have a guided tour of Drishane House in Casteltownshend in West Cork, with its many portraits and mementoes of the Somerville family, and which was the home of the writer and artist, Edith Somerville and her companion and cousin Violet Martin Ross.    Together they wrote many books, two of the most famous being Experiences of an Irish R.M. and The Real Charlotte

Edith Somerville was born in 1858 at Corfu, where her father, a Colonel Henry Somerville, was stationed.   She grew up, and lived most of her life in Drishane House, which was built by one of her ancestors, Thomas Somerville, who made his fortune importing spices into Ireland in the 18th century.   He built Drishane House and many other buildings in the village, and his descendants still live in the house today.

There is a museum at the house where Edith and Violet did most of their work, and after Violet’s death in 1915, at the age of 53, Edith continued to write as ‘Somerville and Ross’.   As well as being a talented writer, Edith was also a painter, illustrator of childrens’ books, a farmer, and a sculptor.

She knew many of the famous writers of the time, including Oscar Wilde, Lady Gregory and J.M. Synge, and we also saw some correspondence between her and Rudyard Kipling.   Imagine corresponding and rubbing shoulders with all these equally talented people.

She also played the organ in the local St Barrahane’s Church (with it’s wonderful stained glass windows) for 70 years!

She died at age 91, and is buried in St Barrahane’s graveyard, next to her cousin, Violet.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Roy McCarthy
    Sep 22, 2015 @ 19:37:05

    Well I never knew Somerville & Ross were ladies. I’m presently enjoying The Irish R.M. and the writing is both beautiful and humorous.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

  2. Janet
    Jan 21, 2016 @ 15:34:34

    Reblogged this on Janet’s thread.

    Like

    Reply

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