1776 Celbridge features in Arthur Young’s Tour of Ireland

June 25. To Mr Clements, at Killadoon, who has lately built an excellent house, and planted much about it, with the satisfaction of finding that all his trees thrive well. I remarked the beech and larch seemed to get beyond the rest He is also a good farmer.

Tea Lane (Kildrought) church as drawn by Austin Cooper in 1781

Tea Lane (Kildrought) church as drawn by Austin Cooper in 1781

June 26. Breakfasted with Colonel Marlay, at Cellbridge, found he had practised husbandry with much success, and given great attention to it from the peace of 1763, which put a period to a gallant scene of service in Germany. Walked through his grounds, which I found in general very well cultivated; his fences excellent; his ditches five by six and seven by six; the banks well made, and planted with quicks; the borders dug away, covered with lime till perfectly slacked, them mixed with dung and carried into the fields, a practice which Mr Marlay has found of very great benefit.

Viewed Lucan, the seat of Agmondisham Vesey, Esq., on the banks of the Liffey. The house is rebuilding, but the wood on the river, with walks through it, is exceedingly beautiful. The character of the place is that of a sequestered shade. Distant views are everywhere shut out, and the objects all correspond perfectly with the impression they were designed to raise. It is a walk on the banks of the river, chiefly under a variety of fine wood, which rises on varied slopes, in some parts gentle, in others steep, spreading here and there into cool meadows, on the opposite shore, rich banks of wood or shrubby ground. The walk is perfectly sequestered, and has that melancholy gloom which should ever dwell in such a place. The river is of a character perfectly suited to the rest of the scenery, in some places breaking over rocks, in other silent, under the thick shade of spreading wood. Leaving Lucan, the next place is Leixlip, a fine one, on the river, with a fall, which in a wet season is considerable. Then St Wolstan’s, belonging to the Dean of Derry, a beautiful villa, which is also on the river; the grounds gay and open, though not without the advantage of much wood, disposed with judgment. A winding shrubbery quits the river, and is made to lead through some dressed ground that is pretty and cheerful.

Mr Conolly’s, at Castle Town, to which all travellers resort, is the finest house in Ireland, and not exceeded by many in England. It is a large handsome edifice, situated in the middle of an extensive lawn, which is quite surrounded with fine plantations disposed to the best advantage. To the north these unite into very large woods, through which many winding walks lead, with the convenience of several ornamented seats, rooms, etc. On the other side of the house, upon the river, is a cottage, with a shrubbery, prettily laid out; the house commands an extensive view, bounded by the Wicklow mountains. It consists of several noble apartments. On the first floor is a beautiful gallery, eighty feet long, elegantly fitted up.

June 27. Left Lord Harcourt’s, and having received an invitation from the Duke of Leinster, passed through Mr Conolly’s grounds to his Grace’s seat at Cartown. The park ranks among the finest in Ireland. It is a vast lawn, which waves over gentle hills, surrounded by plantations of great extent, and which break and divide in places so as to give much variety. A large but gentle vale winds through the whole, in the bottom of which a small stream has been enlarged into a fine river, which throws a cheerfulness through most of the scenes: over it a handsome stone bridge. There is a great variety on the banks of this vale; part of it consists of mild and gentle slopes, part steep banks of thick wood. In another place they are formed into a large shrubbery, very elegantly laid out, and dressed in the highest order, with a cottage, the scenery about which is uncommonly pleasing: and farther on this vale takes a stronger character, having a rocky bank on one side, and steep slopes scattered irregularly, with wood on the other. On one of the most rising grounds in the park is a tower, from the top of which the whole scenery is beheld; the park spreads on every side in fine sheets of lawn, kept in the highest order by eleven hundred sheep, scattered over with rich plantations, and bounded by a large margin of wood, through which is a riding.

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