October 21, 2009

Kevin Ffrench, Shell decorated house

pictures from websites that in the past
 advertised the cottage as a holiday home

The cottage depicted above has been decorated with shells by Kevin Ffrench (1921-2003), which -as has been said-took Ffrench over thirty years.

These decorations show a variety of lozenge-shaped, circular and other geometrical patterns, interspersed with some scenes that refer to local events or famous buildings.

The internet has no biographical details about the author of this art environment.

Following Ffrench's death, the cottage in 2006 has been renovated with financial assistance of the Irish Heritage Council and for some years it was exploited as a holiday home. However, as far as I understand, it currently is inhabited by Kevin Ffrench's grand daughter.

In August 2019 it was announced that the thatched roof of the house, that over the years had been damaged will be repaired with financial support of the Irish government,

The scene on next picture represents Tuskar Lighthouse on Tuskar Rock, off the Irish south-eastern coast.

This part of the coast around 1200 has been raided by the Normans, who built a stronghold over here near the community of Bannow.

a picture made in summer 2019 by Tiramisu Bootfighter
on his trip through "Grande Bretagne Insolite"
the photo shows a part of the dark blue cover applied on
the house's roof in anticipation of the upcoming repair

* The page of the Shell Cottage on Facebook
* Pictures (made in 2012) on the weblog Les grigris de Sophie (may 2015)
* Description of the house on the website of the (Irish) National Inventory of Architectural Heritage
* A 1.43 min video on YouTube of interesting places in the Bannow and Cullenstown area also has some pics of the shell cottage (at 1'20")

first published October 2009, last revised August 2019

Kevin Ffrench
Shell Cottage
Cullenstown, Co Wexford, Ireland
can be seen from the street, no public visits


  1. There are quite a few of these types of houses in ireland. There was one not so far away from us in the mountains which was decorated with loads of cheap ornaments and gnomes all over the garden etc. The old guy let anyone in and made you tea and let you take photos and you could buy postcards (unfortunately I don't have any). Sadly the people who own these houses pass away and the houses are usually sold and re-built a lot of the time. I'm glad to see this one being utilised! If I hear of any more details of this house I'll pass it on, cheers!

  2. Hi Watercats, Thanks for the comment. It would be nice if you would trace new info on this house. In general the info you come along on the internet is rather incomplete (compared of course with what I consider to be elementary, i.e. who, where, when).
    Have a good weekend!

  3. Hi my name is Leon Ffrench and I am Kevin Ffrenchs grandson. Infact the house is still owned by the family and a preservation order has recently been placed on the house. If you would like any more information please do not hesitate to contact me. If you leave another comment with your e-mail we can make contact if you like.

  4. Hello Leon,
    I sure would like to know more about life and works of your grandfather. Please contact me on henkvanes@yahoo.com and I will be pleased to mail you back with some questions.
    All the best

  5. Hello Leon, Henk and any other people fascinated by the decorative shellwork done by Leon's grandfather, Kevin Ffrench. Like Henk, I would also like to know if there are any other examples of his art. Although I have lived in Ireland for many years I visited Cullenstown for the first time today and was thrilled by the man's eccentric inventiveness. Could we please have some more biographical information. Judith Robinson

  6. Hi Leon,

    I would also love to know about the history of the cottage. It is a beautiful landmark and a tribute to your grandfather and family. I am showing the house to my friend tomorrow evening and I would be most grateful if you could email me on m.smith12@nuigalway.ie I cannot believe the lack of information on the web!

    Many thanks


  7. I am Kevin Ffrech's nephew, I have been at the Cullenenstown house that my father was born in. My father was Tom Ffrench please reply to me as we are related. Whose son are you?

    1. Unsure if this will land anywhere lol but was just reflecting on our trip to Europe 20 years ago and we had lunch with Kevin at the house as im the grandson of Sean French who was Kevins brother who moved to Australia where we currently reside. Would be great to hear from you.

  8. Hi, Leon
    I knew your grandfather very well, my family used to visit Cullenstown every weekend, and sit with your grandad and nana and have great chats, i was only around 6 or so when we first went there.. In face once we lost our terrier, and your grandad found him, and minded him till we arrived the following weekend, i was delighted to have him back, and delighted your grandad minded him, as he was indeed a great man!!! their daughter lived with him also, although i cannot remember her name, we lived in New Ross, the St Ledger family :D

  9. Hi I am Kevin Ffrench's grand daughter Chloe. I am currently living in the Cullenstown house. My mother was Kevin's daughter Kathleen. If anyone is wanting any current information on the house just leave your email.

  10. Hello Chloe, thanks a lot for the commment. I have revised my post and sure would appreciate to have more information about your grandfather, such as what was his profession and when did he begin decorating the house.
    All best, Henk van Es (henkvanes@yahoo.com)