This large Elizabethan style house at Gurteen sits picturesquely along the banks of the River Suir. Although situated within the boundary of Co. Waterford, the house straddles the boarder with Co.Tipperary, and the small village of Kilsheelan. The present house, which much resembles a castle, dates from 1866, but the history of Gurteen extends back centuries to the arrival of the Normans in the 1100s. The house owes it history to a Norman family, the Powers, who by the seventeenth century held the titles of Viscount Power and earl of Tyrone. These titles, however, became extinct in 1742. The castle remained in the hands of the de la Poers until 1988, when it was bought by the internationally renowned Austrian artist, Gottfried Helnwein.
The house was designed in the Elizabethan Revival style, combining elements of Gothic. It was built by Edmond de la Poer, with construction commencing in 1863. The architect chosen was Samuel Ussher Roberts, who went on design the castle at Kylemore, Co. Galway, and a number of buildings at nearby Portlaw, Co. Waterford. The house took three years to complete, at a cost of £10,000. Some time after de la Poer received the title of 'count'. This was not a royal peerage but rather a papal title, and was granted to him by Pope Pius X.
The monumental gardens
Mrs de la Poer and child