The first ‘Villa’ of Foxrock
Steeped in rich history, Lis na Carrig—originally named Mount Aventine—was built in 1862 and served as the home of John Bentley. Together with his brother William and business partner Edward Fox, John played a pivotal role in the development of the prestigious suburb of Foxrock. Their vision was to create a garden suburb, offering beautiful building sites for grand mansions and charming villas, as advertised in the Irish Times in 1862.
The architectural masterpiece was designed by Edward Henry Carson, the renowned architect and father of Sir Edward Carson, leader of the Irish Unionist Party.
The First Baronet of Lis na Carrig
In 1904, Sir Henry Augustus Robinson and his wife Lady Harriett Robinson took residence in Lis na Carrig, coinciding with the renaming of the house. The Robinson family, accompanied by their three sons and a dedicated staff, including a cook and a ladies’ maid, enjoyed the estate while the surrounding suburb remained relatively undeveloped. Neighboring Lis na Carrig was Kilteragh estate home of Sir Horace Plunkett. Kilteragh was known as a hub for social gatherings, attracting prominent figures such as George Bernard Shaw, W.T. Cosgrave, and Michael Collins, who frequented the house as guests of Sir Horace Plunkett, the owner of Kilteragh estate.
Sir Henry Robinson, a highly influential senior civil servant and vice-president of the Local Government Board for Ireland, played a significant role in the last decades of British rule in Ireland. In 1920, Sir Henry Robinson was honored with the title of 1st Baronet of Lis na carrig, Foxrock.
During the tumultuous period of the civil war, Lis na Carrig faced the danger of attack by the anti-treaty IRA. On August 18, 1922, the house was raided, leading to a confrontation between the raiders and Sir Robinson and his son Christopher, who defended themselves with automatic pistols. The incident concluded with the Robinsons surrendering, fearing the destruction of their cherished home.
In the aftermath of the raid, Michael Collins visited Lis na Carrig in an armored car on August 19, 1922. He alerted the family that the government could no longer guarantee their safety, suggesting they temporarily leave the country. Just three days later, Collins himself was tragically assassinated in Cork.
Following these events, the Robinsons departed Ireland, returning to the United Kingdom. It was not until 1925 that Lis na Carrig found a new owner in Edmund Mooney.
Country life at Lis na Carrig…
In 1938, George C. Byrne, a solicitor, and his wife Marjorie acquired the property, marking a significant shift in ownership dynamics within the predominantly undeveloped area of Foxrock. The Byrne family embraced the spaciousness of the estate, utilizing the land to rear hens and cows and cultivate their own fruits and vegetables—a testament to their pioneering spirit as one of the first Catholic families to own land in the suburb. Their daughter, Joan McLaughlin (née Byrne), and her husband continued to cherish the property with their daughters from 1979 to 1996.
Lis na Carrig opens it’s gates…
Since 1996, Lis na Carrig has been lovingly owned by the McCabe family, who have raised their three sons within its historic walls. Over the years, the family has hosted numerous weddings, parties and get togethers, and now, driven by their desire to share the estate’s beauty and tranquility, they extend a warm welcome to all who seek to celebrate life’s milestones at Lis na Carrig.
Chantal McCabe, matriarch of the family was awarded philanthropist of the year in 2009. Her philanthropic work and passion for personal health and wellbeing led to the formation of Aventine wellness gardens in 2001, a non-profit located on two acres at the rear of the estate.
Community and Healing at Aventine Gardens…
The mission of the non-profit organisation is to allow people to heal and grow through nature, while also opening up part of the estate for community activities. Aventine Gardens core focus is Social and Therapeutic Horticulture, a recognized practice that utilizes gardening and plant-related activities to enhance physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Participants engage in various gardening activities, such as planting, nurturing plants, and maintaining the garden, which can have therapeutic effects and provide a sense of purpose and accomplishment.
By offering these programs, Aventine Wellness Gardens provides individuals with an opportunity to connect with nature, experience the benefits of being outdoors, and engage in meaningful social interactions. Research has shown that spending time in nature and engaging in horticultural activities can have positive impacts on mental health, stress reduction, physical fitness, and overall well-being.
Furthermore, by opening up part of the estate for community activities, Aventine Wellness Gardens fosters a sense of community and inclusiveness. It allows individuals from different backgrounds and age groups to come together, share experiences, and support one another in a beautiful natural setting.
As the McCabe family opens their doors to others, the essence of Lis na Carrig lies in its three pillars:
CELEBRATE, RETREAT, GROW.