Working with a new can vas

Russborough House has suffered art thefts, declining visitor numbers and a collapsed roof – but now the estate is bouncing back as a tourist attraction, thanks to grant aid and a sustained local campaign

15th January, 2015
24

We first meet blacksmith Michael Calnan in the forge at Russborough House. It’s an autumnal Sunday afternoon and, instead of hammering iron, he’s leisurely chopping apples to make cider.

The cider-making represents a full circle, he says, with apples and pears picked from the estate. In the 1740s, Russborough was bought by Joseph Leeson – later the Earl of Milltown, whose family fortune came from brewing.

Calnan and his wife, Gunvor...

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