The tradition of the 'Big House' in Ireland has had a long and fascinating history and remains a glittering testimony to the richness of Irish culture and architecture. While many of these castles and houses have been demolished or fallen into decay, others still stand. Here, in this practical guide, the author describes over 20 country houses that are open to the public on a regular basis. From Palladian glories of Castletown and Russborough to the Gothic style of Castle Ward and Lismore - whose sumptuous interiors and splendid contents are as much a part of their fabric as the buildings themselves - the reader is given a lavish tour. Full-colour photographs and descriptive text, combine to make this an indispensable guide.