From the mid-eighteenth century Irish country houses flourished. Landowners generated easy income leasing land to tenants. As their wealth increased, so did the size of their country mansions. But factors such as the Great Famine, land reforms, the increasing expense of maintenance and the IRA targeting the houses during the War of Independence took their toll. Gradually, abandoned and forgotten, the houses sank into decay. In 2008 Tarquin Blake found his first abandoned 'Big House' and so began exploring the lost architecture of Ireland. Here, he documents what is left of fifty mansion houses with brief histories and beautiful photographs of the haunting ruins. Included are Mountpelier Lodge (Dublin Hellfire Club), the birthplaces of Daniel O'Connell and the Duke of Wellington, and the one-time homes of Grace O'Malley and of brewing family the Smithwicks of Kilkenny. The inclusion of details from the 1911 Census offers a glimpse of the closing days of the aristocracy and their mansions.