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Interested in Antique Furniture and Art? What are you doing on Thursday, May 7, 2009?

 Interested in Antique Furniture and Art? What are you doing on Thursday, May 7, 2009?

Some wonderful examples of antique Irish furniture and art will go up for auction at Christie’s in London, England on Thursday, May 7, 2009.  What makes this a story I’d be interested in is that the pieces represent a lifetime of collecting by Desmond FitzGerald and are the  family’s heirloom pieces that are being removed from their family home, Glin Castle,  in County Limerick, Ireland. Desmond FitzGerald, the 29th Knight of Glin, and his gracious wife, Olda, who reminds me of Glynnis Johns who played the mother, Mrs. Banks, in the film, “Mary Poppins,” are trying to save Glin Castle which has been in the FitzGerald homestead for 800 years.

While I hope that the pieces will be bought by Irish collectors who keep the items in Ireland or by wealthy art collectors who might buy pieces and put them on loan to Irish museums, the important factor for the owners of Glin Castle is that the sale of the art and antique furniture creates enough revenue to allow the family to continue to own and maintain the castle in the style to which all have become accustomed.

I have enormous affection for Desmond and Olda and regard them as friends.  They have put so much of themselves into preserving Glin Castle’s contribution to sustaining the heritage of Ireland’s historic past through allowing travelers to experience Irish gracious living. I have great respect for the body of work Desmond FitzGerald has produced in the form of studies and books he has published about antique Irish furniture and great Irish houses, particularly of the Georgian Period.  While ‘stiff upper lip’ is the only way to approach the serious economic downturn that makes the sale of their precious collection of art and antique furniture necessary, I feel their pain.   This has to be enormously difficult for them because they are not just at risk of parting with objects that have meaning to them and their family, they are at risk of losing the castle if the sale does not put them firmly into a financially secure position to maintain and sustain Glin Castle for the family and, hopefully for visitors in Ireland who want to experience living in a fairytale as  guests at the FitzGerald’s wonderful home.

Glin Castle, whose documented history begins in the 1400’s, opened its huge front door to travelers in the early 1990’s.  With 15 bedrooms, Glin is the perfect size for families to take over the castle for special events and offered individual travelers to Ireland a memorable experience on a nightly basis.

I’ve had the extraordinary privilege of being a guest at Glin Castle four times.  The front of the castle faces the Shannon River Estuary, a narrow portion of the Shannon that leads out to the Atlantic Ocean, about 20 minutes from Foynes where you’ll find the famed Foynes Flying Boat Museum, a tribute to the Pan Am Clipper, British Overseas Airways, and American Overseas Airlines.  The ferry across the Shannon Estuary that takes you to the most western parts of Ireland, making the trek to the Cliffs of Mohermost enjoyable with the water crossing that cuts at least an hour’s driving time from the trip, is only minutes down the road from Glin Castle.

You can plan to be in London for the May 7thauction at Christies or you might want to arrange to be a phone-in bidder.  Either way, for some lucky bidders you may just come home with the ultimate souvenir of Ireland and, at the same time, assure that Glin Castle stays in the FitzGerald family.  I’m hoping that the latch of hospitality on the front door of Glin Castle stays forever open for discerning travelers to Ireland.

And to Desmond and Olda FitzGerald, here’s wishing you all the best! 

Your personal travel expert,
Stephanie Abrams

--Gotta Fly Now!sm
Your Personal Travel Expert
Nationally syndiated radio show host
Stephanie Abrams

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