The social, economic and political upheaval of the early twentieth century left the Irish country house adrift in a changed land. Once symbols of wealth and power, many of these buildings lie in ruins today; some have survived and have been transformed into hotels and public buildings, such as Lough Eske Castle in Donegal or ?ras an Uachtar?in. These great houses arouse curiosity but it is easy to forget what architectural masterpieces they once were. David Hicks was granted unprecedented access to these houses, castles and previously unpublished photographs to produce this visual record, which chronicles their social, political and architectural history. By mirroring period photographs with contemporary images, he illustrates the changes that have been wrought on these buildings and provides a glimpse into a now vanished golden age.