The Mammy has been telling me about a house and garden in County Waterford for a while now so last week we went on a wee excursion to see it. Strangely, a few days before that I saw a post on a local art website about an exhibition there. I say strangely because I had never heard of the place let alone the artist who owns it, Clary Mastenbroek.
The route there is very straightforward, the house is off the N25 but to my mother’s lasting dismay, I like taking circuitous routes to places as you never know what you might see and how can you get lost on an island? I tried to explain this to her, illustrating it with the harrowing example of a family who disappeared in Death Valley in 1996-if you have a couple of hours you can read about it here and its one of the best pieces of investigative writing I have ever read. After recounting it in detail I explained that you would never end up like that in Ireland. This did not seem to comfort her. When we arrived, despite having seen a wee rabbit and a pheasant and lots of lovely countryside, she seemed very relieved.
A cup of tea was in order and so the first stop was the little terrace where we had tea served in a lovely old china teapot as well as a delicious scone and some cheesecake as the sun rippled through the trees and an old jack russell staggered around our feet. Then we went for a stroll around the gardens.
Fairbrook isn’t a large house but I liked the intimate scale. The gardens include a couple of ponds, a wisteria walk (it was ‘Wisteria Week’ there), a kitchen garden and a beech tree maze which we wandered into unawares. The paths are meandering and uneven with steps up and down to different levels, which might pose a problem for some walkers, but which my mother negotiated like a goat and a young goat at that.
While the garden has been thoughtfully laid out, it is also pleasingly untidy (partly I think because three students who were due to help did not turn up for three-week stint there) and there are lots of nooks and crannys and old benches as well as statues and sculptures as both Clary Mastenbroek who lives there, and served us our lovely tea, is an artist as was her late husband, Wout Muller. It is a garden (and tea room) which I know will return to.
There is a smalll museum attached to the house which is currently displaying Clarys and Wouts work along with the work of one of their daughter. I will do a post on those when I get a chance.
Fairbrook is right beside the new Greenway cyvling route and there is a bike parking area was well as a car park. Admission is €7. There are also events during the summer, including a concert in August.