Pinkies up now
Much as it conflicts with our national identity, which is definitely and emphatically not English. The faintest wisp of an empire line or a bone china tea set and we forget all about the years of oppression. We have a soft spot for this period in history, no doubt helped along by the rise of shows like Bridgerton and the omnipresence of Jane Austen in Western film production.
Once a country home, Carton House was the ancestral seat of the Earls of Kildare and Dukes of Leinster. Adjacent to Maynooth, the grounds of Carton (all 1,100 acres) sprawl around the town. Walking up the tree-lined avenue from Maynooth and catching a glimpse of the Richard Cassels-designed property, the same architect who worked on Leinster House, Powercourt and parts of Trinity, it's easy to imagine life as either a waif-like heroine or a dashing gentleman on horseback.
These luxuriant surrounds are the setting for Lady Emily’s Afternoon Ritual, an experience that brings in two things a Lady living at that time would no-doubt love: R&R. Inspired by Emily FitzGerald the Duchess of Leinster, the experience kicks off with an hour-long spa treatment in Carton House Spa & Wellness, followed by classic afternoon tea in the very rooms Lady Emily would have entertained visitors to Carton House.
Sitting below the high gilded ceiling, by walls decorated with gold leaf and cherubs, taking in the view of the Rose Garden outside, it's easy to imagine the same setting 250 years previous.
The concept of afternoon tea first became a popular custom during the Georgian period, considered a most stylish way for the lady of the house to entertain. The traditional afternoon tea, is a nod to the original spreads that would have been provided for the ladies of Carton House, finger and open sandwiches, buttermilk scones with clotted cream, organic jam and Irish butter, and an array of exquisite sweet treats. There's also vegan, gluten-free and vegetarian, options available on request.
The Lady Emily’s Afternoon Ritual includes a 55-minute spa treatment with access to the relaxation room, swimming pool and thermal area in Carton House Spa & Wellness followed by afternoon tea and is available Thursday-Sunday, priced at €150 per guest, for more info click here.