Shell Cottage, Carton House Estate. County Kildare    1750

This stunning little house was built in 1750 for Emily Fitzgerald. She was a great granddaughter of Charles II who married James Fitzgerald in 1747 who resided in Carton House. It originally had a thatched roof however nothing from the outside can hint at the amazing décor inside. Emily decorated the cottage with marine life that had collected from all over the world. When friends would go sailing abroad, they would bring back bits of shells, crystals, sea urchins, sea weed, birds eggs, basically any pieces of memorabilia they could gather. She would then fix these items to the walls, windows and furniture of the cottage creating an incredible visual display. The centre piece is a beautiful dome which is lined with thousands of tropical shells of every size. Emily also created the famous Chinese room that was later used by Queen Victoria in the main Carton House. One of her 23 children was the famous Irish Patriot Lord Edward FitzGerald, leader of the 1798 rebellion. The cottage was also the home of Marianne Faithful for a time and has welcomed guests such as Princess Grace of Monaco, Queen Victoria and Peter Sellers.