Friday, September 07, 2012

Shell House at Ballymaloe

I have a long list of things that I want to do "someday", and one of those desires is to attend classes at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland. Really, it's more than a passing fancy. I am positively dying to enroll there before actually someday dying.

Of course, it's the esteemed cooking instruction that is Ballymaloe's big draw, but I recently learned of something else that has intrigued me. There is a Shell House, reminiscent of follies from the olden days, on the Ballymaloe property. I'm not sure how I have overlooked this design tidbit after my many visits to their website, but better late than never. The Shell House was constructed in the mid-1990s by
Blott Kerr-Wilson. According to Ballymaloe's website, the roof is entirely covered in scallop and mussel shells that were once served at Ballymaloe House and Ballymaloe Cookery School. That's one clever way to use leftovers.

I found these photos of the Shell House on the
Blott Kerr-Wilson website, and I urge you to visit the site as you'll find amazing examples of their shell houses. For more information on the Ballymaloe Cookery School, click here.


  1. I need to get back to Ireland last time I was there I was 12! This would be an amazing trip along with seeing all of my relatives! What a beautiful post!!!

  2. Despite the console table with flowers, this appears not to be an interior space to be really used, but more to be looked into from the doorway. But what a look none the less. I love shell follies and grottos, too, and was thrilled to see this one.

  3. The house is petit, but I am sure that thousands of hours were devoted to the decoration. Definitely a labor of love. Thanks. Mary

  4. Being originally from N. Fla. there is a special place in my heart for shells + these are stunning.

  5. Ooohhh... I stayed a week there at Ballymaloe in August of 2000. Loved every minute of it, but I didn't take any cooking courses. I did visit the shell house, but I don't think it looked as finished as these photos show. And a couple of the gardens were brand spankin' new with tiny plants--not nearly as mature as the above photos show.

    I do hope you can plan a trip there some day. It was by far my favorite stop in Ireland. The dining there was exceptional. And in the evenings Rory Allen would invite some of his musician friends over, and we were treated to their Irish music in the comfy drawing room while sippin' after-dinner drinks. Myrtle Allen was so sweet. I was there on my own--she must have felt sorry for me--so she invited me over to her tiny cottage by the sea with other guests for evening drinks and hors d'oeuvres. Such fun times!

  6. I've eaten there! A few years ago, on a tour of Southern Ireland. It's a classic Anglo-Irish country house. There are various Ballymaloe cookery books you can buy; I expect you've already got these? There's something very romantic about Anglo-Irish Country Houses. And the food they serve is very much The Greasy Spoon thing: Ballymaloe Irish Stew is well worth making...

    Incidentally, I've posted up a fab photo of the Old Original Bookbinder's Restaurant, Philadelphia, circa 1965. And guess what- the waiter is serving up bouillon from a silver tureen. Currently working on my own recipe for this....

  7. Ballymaloe is the best, I grew up eating there as a little girl on special occasions with my family. There is something magical about the gardens and the aura that surrounds the grand old house. I do hope you get a chance to take a class there and see the shell house.