The history of Shell Cottage relates directly to one of the former inhabitants of Carton House, Emily Fitzgerald. She was the great granddaughter of Charles II, and married James Fitzgerald in 1747, the 20th Earl of Kildare who resided in Carton House. This pretty cottage was built for her and it originally had a thatched roof however nothing from the outside can hint at the amazing décor inside. She decorated Shell Cottage with marine life that had been collected from all over the world. When men 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 centerpiece is a beautiful dome which is lined with thousands of tropical shells of every size. Emily also created the famous Chinese room (bedroom to 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 throughout the years.

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