Tarbert House is on the road to Tarbert Island Car Ferry and is among the most unique survivals of early 18th century domestic architecture in Ireland. Even more extraordinary in historical terms is that it remains in the continuous ownership of the Leslie family, having been built by John Leslie in the early 1700’s and it has remained the Leslie family home to this present day. Located in ancient parkland, many of Tarbert House’s original internal features and decorative forms survive and testify to the importance of this house in Ireland’s architectural heritage. The building is still preserved in its original form with furniture and pictures from the same period.
Distinguished visitors have included:
Daniel O Connell, the Irish patriot
“The Liberator “ was a friend of the family and amongst the House records is an historic parchment which is a plea to the British House of Commons in 1813 for Catholic Emancipation signed by bishops, politicians and other notables, including Daniel O’Connell & his brother.
Charlotte Bronte, authoress of Jane Eyre
The famous authoress spent part of her honeymoon at Tarbert House.
Benjamin Franklin, American President
Mr. Franklin came to visit Sir Edward Leslie as part of his effort to rekindle trade between Ireland and America. Mr. Franklin presented Sir Leslie with a type of rose which, when planted in the gardens of the house, became the inspiration for the famous Rose Pattern which was woven in to curtains for use in Tarbert House (which hang to this day) and then used in curtains as far away as the White house by Nancy Regan, who also visited Tarbert house.
Lord Kitchener, British Secretary of State World War 1
Lord Herbert Kitchener lived on the estate. Correspondence relates how, as a boy, he came to the shore to gather seaweed for his mother’s bath to help relieve her arthritis.
Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of UK, 1940-1945 & 1951-1955
Mr. Churchill’s aunt Leonie Jerome married John Leslie and as a boy, Winston spent some of his school holidays at Tarbert House.
Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels
Dean Jonathan Swift. After a visit to Tarbert House, the famous Dean wrote these memorable words- “The Leslies have lots of books upon their shelves. All written by Leslies about themselves.”