A story that’s 1,000 years in the making…
Every single beautiful and unique Bunbury Board, Bunbury Bowl, or other item we produce at historic Lisnavagh in County Carlow has its own individual story.
That story can go back a century or more – and the story of the Bunburys who produce it, can be traced back almost 1,000 years.
The first Bunbury Board was crafted in 2007 as a result of the Lisnavagh Timber Project. The project was established by William Bunbury in 2001 after he returned from work in Lancashire to manage the Lisnavagh Estate. His vision was to sustainably protect the estate’s hundreds of acres of woodland for future generations, by finding creative uses for fallen timber and embarking upon a re-planting programme to ensure new growth.
At first, the Lisnavagh Timber Project produced items of furniture, such as bookshelves, worktops, and mantelpieces – all crafted by William with part-time help in his workshop. Always thinking of new ideas for new products, he began to produce the first Bunbury Boards in late 2007. The reaction was so instant and so positive that there was an immediate demand for more, and so Bunbury Boards were officially launched the following year.
The range of range products evolved into more than 35 different types of board, as well as other kitchen items such as magnetic knife holders, pizza oven shovels, rolling pins, bread boxes and bowls.
All our products are created from timber that can be more than century old, and which is sourced mainly from Lisnavagh Estate itself or other historic and sustainably-managed Irish woodland. Even after the timber comes to our workshop, it takes years of care, patience and love before we bring a Bunbury Board or other item to market. That’s because the timber is first air-dried for a year or more, depending on size, before spending time in our kilns to further reduce moisture content and to ensure an end product that is as durable as it is beautiful. Only then do our skilled craftspeople begin the intricate work that results in a unique and elegant Bunbury product.
Bunbury products are only available directly from us here at Lisnavagh through this website or by calling in to our workshop (by appointment).
As well as the reknowned boards, Bunbury continue to produce commissioned worktops, tables, bookshelves, cake stands, doors, kitchen units and many other bespoke joinery items.
We take many things very seriously at Lisnavagh, and traceability is one of them.
We believe we are selling the most traceable commercially-available timber products anywhere in the world. That may seem a big boast, but it’s one we back up with a thorough traceability system that sees each tree we use and each piece of timber it produces being given a unique identifying number.
That number is then traced through every single stage of the crafting process, and you’ll find it stamped on the back of every Bunbury Board or the bottom of every Bunbury Bowl you buy.
This allows you or the person you are buying a beautiful Bunbury Board or Bunbury Bowl for as a thoughtful gift to go to our Tree Report page, enter that number, and get a complete history of the timber used in what they now hold before them. The report includes details of:
- The type of timber used
- Where exactly it came from
- Why and when the tree came down
- What’s been done to replace that tree
- Information on that type of wood in general
- And more
We know of nobody else in the world offering such a thorough traceability service. It means that if you want the full details of the history and heritage of a thoughtful gift or beautiful addition to your own kitchen, you should look more at what we have to offer. Visit our online shop now.
Sustainability is something else we take very seriously at Lisnavagh.
The Lisnavagh Timber Project is not just about creating beautiful hand-crafted Irish goods – it’s also about maintaining our beautiful Irish woodlands for future generations. We work constantly and diligently to ensure there is new growth to replace the trees that nature has taken from us.
We achieve this through allowing and supporting natural re-growth, and also through a carefully-managed re-planting process. Any given year sees hundreds of new trees take root in our 200 acres of woodland – the past five years alone have seen more 3,000 new trees begin to grow.
We also ensure that nothing from our trees goes to waste. Pieces of timber left over from our crafting process are used as firewood logs, passed on to schools and other places for woodwork projects, or turned into chippings for use in our eco-friendly heating system.
We believe in the power of nature, and we make good use of every part of it.
We love our trees at Lisnavagh. We’re sad when one falls, but in another way, we’re glad too – because it gives us more beautiful material for what we do, and gives us the chance to bring new life to our woodlands too. Like our Boards, Bowls, and more, our woodlands will last for generations to come.
The history of the Bunbury family can be traced back almost 1,000 years to Baron de St. Pierre, a Norman knight who served with William the Conqueror at The Battle of Hastings in 1066.
The family was granted land in Cheshire, in a place known as St. Boniface’s Borough, from where the name ‘Bunbury’ itself evolved. They remained there for centuries, until the English Civil War (1642 – 1651), where they found themselves on the opposite side of Oliver Cromwell, who stripped them of their land and titles.
Members of the family then moved to Ireland and County Carlow, where they settled as tenants of the Butler family – the Dukes of Ormonde, who controlled almost the entire south-east of the country and whose seat was at the magnificent Kilkenny Castle. They purchased Lisnavagh from the Butlers in 1702, and over the centuries that followed, the estate grew until at its height it comprised some 6,000 acres and a house of approximately 30,000 square feet.
The changing social and political landscape in Ireland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries saw estates such as Lisnavagh face challenging times and several changes, but loving care and careful management helped it to survive them all.
The Lisnavagh Estate today comprises a house of some 10,000 square feet and 600 acres of grounds, of which approximately 400 are in agricultural use and 200 in woodland. It is managed by William Bunbury and his wife Emily, who are dedicated to continuing to protect its history and heritage, and restoring it to its status as a valued community employer.
Lisnavagh today is a popular wedding venue, yoga retreat centre and event space as well as a centre of excellence for hand-crafting beautiful Bunbury Boards, Bunbury Bowls, and more. The Bunbury family remain proud of their home, and rightly so.
To order any of our products with your very own engraving, visit our online shop or give us a call.