Castletown House

Castletown front 001Castletown House (53°20′53″N 6°31′50″W) Ireland’s original and, at 52,529 square feet, largest Palladian country house, is situated at the end of an avenue extending from the main street.

The main house and entrance hall, which is believed to have designed by Florentine mathematician and architect Alessandro Galilei (1691–1737), was begun in 1722 by William “Speaker” Conolly (1662–1729).

The house was inherited by Tom Conolly (1738–1803) in 1758 and the interior decoration was finished by his wife Louisa Lennox-Conolly, great granddaughter of Charles II of England, and one of three aristocratic sisters who came to live in the district.

Castletown has two signature attractions.

One is the long gallery, is an 80-foot/24m long room believed to have been designed by Edward Lovett Pearce (1699-1733). It is decorated in the Pompeian manner of blue and gold colonnades and wings.

The other signature of the house is the main staircase, cantilevered and made of white Portland stone, which was added by Lady Louisa in 1759, 35 years after the construction of the house. under the direction of the Simon Vierpyl (1725-1811).

A feature of Castletown is the stucco work by Paolo Lafranchini (1695–1776) completed between 1739-65.

Conolly’s Folly or ‘The Obelisk’ was commissioned to provide employment for the poor of Celbridge in 1739 by Katherine Conyngham-Conolly (1662–1752), the widow of Speaker William Conolly (1662–1729). Designed by Richard Castle, it is 42m high and is composed of several arches.

Owners of Castletown

  • 1457 Thomas Fitzgerald
  • 1487 John Fitzgerald
  • 1537 John Alen
  • 1552 Gerald Sutton
  • 1557 David Sutton (executed 1581)
  • 1583 Humphrey Warren
  • 1587 John Dongan
  • 1592 Walter Dongan
  • 1627 John Dongan
  • 1661 William Dongan (brother)
  • 1698 Thomas Dongan (estates restored)
  • 1709 William Conolly (constructed current house 1722)
  • 1729 Katherine Conolly (lived in house until 1752 after death of William Conolly)
  • 1729 William Conolly (nephew)
  • 1754 Tom Conolly
  • 1803 Louisa Conolly (lived in house until 1821 after death of Tom Conolly)
  • 1821 Edward Pakenham (lived in Rockfield during Louisa’s life)
  • 1848 Thomas Conolly
  • 1876 Thomas Conolly (died Uitval 1900)
  • 1892 Let to Peter O’Brien
  • 1899 Let to Tom Kelly
  • 1900 Edward Conolly (brother)
  • 1956 Bill Carew (m Edward’s sister)
  • 1965 James Willson (purchased house, estate sold to Rhatigans)
  • 1967 Desmond Guinness
  • 1979 Castletown Foundation
  • 1994 Dúchas/Office of Public Works

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