Monday, 12 August 2019

Florence Court

I was very excited to get to Florence Court near Enniskillen as it was property number #190 on this National Trust Scone Odyssey. 

Florence Court

  • The house we see today was built in phases - the central part was created by John Cole in the late 1600. The colonnades and pavilions were added in 1771.
  • It was named Florence Court after Florence Cole, wife of the builder.
  • It was given to the National Trust in 1953.
  • The Earl of Enniskillen had initially refused to modernise the house but eventually relented and had electricity installed. He would have been better off sticking to his guns; faulty wiring was to blame for a huge fire in 1955.  
  • The tour guide described how Lady Enniskillen was asleep and saw a glow under her bedroom door. Thinking a light had been left on, she went out to be greeted with a conflagration. She escaped and raised the alarm.
  • What the tour guide didn't tell us (but I read it on Wikipedia) is that Lady Enniskillen had to go to a neighbouring house to use the telephone and contact her elderly husband (the 5th Earl), who was in Belfast at the time. When she told him the house was on fire he is said to have cried "What the hell do you think I can do about it?".
  • The son of the 5th Earl died young and so the title and estate passed to a nephew, David Lowry-Cole, who was living in Kenya.
  • He and his wife Nancy moved back to Florence Court and lived there from 1964 to 1973. The tour guide commented on the huge change for them in moving from Kenya to Enniskillen, from the African heat to a damp country estate. "So did they move back to Kenya in 1973?" asked a member of the tour group. "No, Scotland."
  • David's son is the 7th Earl but still lives in Kenya.
  • There's a yew tree about a mile from the house which is the mother of every Irish Yew tree in the world.
  • There's also a very beautiful mountain that's visible from the house - it's Benaughlin, or 'peak of the speaking horse'. There's a legend of a white horse that would appear on the mountain on the last Sunday of July and talk to local people. I had missed him by two weeks, which is a real shame:
Florence Court Benaughlin

But let's move on to the Florence Court scone. This was the third scone of my Grand Tour of Northern Ireland Summer 2019. I'd already had a top class scone at The Argory (the first cherry scone I'd had in six years of the National Trust Scone Odyssey). I then had the second ever cherry scone about three hours later at Crom.

It was back to fruit scones at Florence Court (don't worry - Castle Coole just down the road provided the third cherry scone about an hour later). It was light and fresh and very tasty. 

The unofficial motto of this National Trust Scone Tour, which was given to me by one of my loyal Sconepals, is 'Mildly Taken Aback by Icing Sugar' or more grandly 'Alii leniter questi sugar vico per erubuerunt' according to Google Translate (I went to a comprehensive school in the 1980s so please don't shout at me if it actually means something totally different). I know there is a school of thought that is dead against icing sugar anywhere in the vicinity of scones but I don't mind it.

Florence Court scone

Florence Court: 5 out of 5
Scone: 5 out of 5
Taken abackness by icing sugar: 2 out of 5 (mild)

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