Captain Richard White and his family moved from Limerick to Whiddy Island in Bantry Bay in 1690 and purchased Bantry House (then called Blackrock House) in 1739. Today, the eighth and ninth generation of the family still own, manage and live on the estate.
The original house was a much smaller “Queen Anne” -style building. The second Earl of Bantry, also named Richard White, and his wife Mary O’Brien of Dromoland Castle, Co. Clare, embarked upon a grand tour of Europe and Russia in the 1820s, collecting the furniture, paintings, tapestries, carpets, and artefacts that are still in the house today. It was during these inspiring travels that they came up with their vision for the layout of the garden and the extension of the house with bay windows, the library, two wings, two stables (east and west), five gatelodges, and a walled garden.
More recently Egerton Shelswell-White (8th generation) worked for a time as a teacher at Indian Springs, Alabama in the late 1960s and 70s. He came back to Ireland and inherited the estate on the passing of his mother, Clodagh, in 1978. His 2 oldest children schooled at Indian Springs and still live in the States. Egerton passed away in December 2012 and is survived by his wife Brigitte and 6 children, Edward, Janie, Sophie, Sam, Anna and Julie. Sophie has been running the estate since 2010.