When I was a child of about 8 years old, a photo album someone had given me as a gift developed a tear on its cover.
To my amazement, when I looked closer I saw that, underneath the cover image, there was a selection of newspaper pages with Japanese print. I was fascinated by this discovery and felt I must be the only child in Tipperary with a real Japanese newspaper in my possession.
Why this story in the introduction to my blog about Greenville, our home in Tipperary, Ireland’s midlands?
Maybe because I have always remembered my intense curiosity and excitement that day, in finding something that was not common, something from another culture and place, something different, that was still very beautiful to my eyes.
My life, the career route I chose in studying Anthropology, and everything I have done to date, have all been about seeking out something different.
Greenville, while an almost 200-year-old conventional Irish home ( with all the problems that come with an old property) still has a very cosmopolitan ambiance and is full of things that are either from or represent other cultures, places, people’s (mostly artists) different perspectives in life. I think of Greenville as a place apart, a space that is colorful and interesting and not typically Irish.
Twists and Turns
Looking back, I never intended to base myself in rural Ireland, or indeed here at Killough, but life takes its twists and turns and, well here I am, here we are.
Had I made different choices, I expect I would have settled in Paris, a city I loved when there as a young adult working as an au pair and studying.
I returned to Tipperary from Maynooth where I was studying for a PhD in Cultural Anthropology in 1996, for what I intended to be a short while, to complete my research and write up my doctoral thesis. It was during that time that I visited my maternal grandparents’ home, the Cottage here in Killough, and had a burning desire to bring it back to life.
That project led to different avenues opening up and I worked in a voluntary capacity in tourism in Tipperary, and for a few years at Tipperary LIT in Event Organisation and lecturing in Sustainable Rural Development.
My heart, however, lay in the Arts and, in 2004, I opened a café-boutique in Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, called ‘The Business’. I also started to restore – with my then partner, now husband Seosamh – the second house here at Killough, which is our family home.
My Own Personal Tastes
The project of building a fashion business over a decade ago, I now realize, was for me, a creative exercise in designing a shop interior, filling it with things I loved, and marketing it. In many respects it was too personal a retail project to sustain as a business venture given that it so completely reflected my own personal tastes.
At Greenville, that same taste abounds, but it works because our home is not obviously a shop trying to sell its contents. People who visit here enjoy their stay precisely because the atmosphere and design is different.
So the buzz and the exhilaration, for me, comes not just from bringing something old back to life, but the creative process of designing each room to make it different, filled with character, love and individuality. And, I hope, with style!
In the posts that follow, I will go out and about in Tipperary and sometimes further afield, to find out more about what people working in the Arts, Crafts, Food and Drink businesses are doing.
I hope you enjoy it.
Welcome to Greenville, welcome to my world in Tipperary – my style.
Several images used in the initial posts on this blog were taken either by Tom Doherty or Ramona Farrelly. A huge thanks to them both for allowing me to reproduce their work.