Historic Buildings of County Kildare
Republic of Ireland
Image right - The Wonderful Barn
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The object of this project is to provide information about historic buildings in County Galway, with links to sub-projects for specific buildings as appropriate. GENi profiles of people associated with those establishments can be linked to this project and/or to individual projects where they have been set up.
Castles, Baronial and Historic houses
... in alphabetical order
Including Castles, Abbeys, Manor Houses, Mansions, Stately Homes, Country houses, Estate houses, Courts, Halls, Parks and other listed buildings of historic interest
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● Ballindoolin - lodge; built around 1822 for the Bor family
● Ballysonan Castle
○ Birthplace of The Hon. John Annesley
● Ballitore Quaker Village and associated buildings - see Ballitore, County Kildare sub-project
● Barberstown Castle, Restored Castle
● Belan - Mansion House, seat of the Stratford family, Earls of Aldborough. All that remains of Belan’s former resplendence are the stables, the shell of an octagonal tea house, a few obelisks and a small domed temple. the Stratfords seem to have settled in Ireland about the time of Charles II’s restoration in 1660. Robert Stratford had acquired land around Baltinglass, County Wicklow. By 1690 they already owned property at Belan, as in July of that year Col. Edward Stratford entertained the two rival Kings James and William, his personal sympathies lying with the latter. Edward Stratford’s third son John Stratford, 1st Earl of Aldborough (made first Earl of Aldborough shortly before he died in 1777) inherited Belan around 1740. The Edward Augustus Stratford, 2nd Earl of Aldborough developed Stratford Place in London and immense Aldborough House in Dublin in the years preceding his death in 1801. Although he married twice, he had no children and so a younger brother Benjamin O'Neale Stratford, 4th Earl of Aldborough inherited. He was the last member of the family to live at Belan, he was also childless meaning everything passed to another brother, who preferred to occupy a house elsewhere on the estate, Stratford Lodge (subsequently destroyed by fire) and who abandoned Belan to an agent. The next heir, Mason Gerard Stratford, 5th Earl who was a spendthrift; when short of funds he would visit London money lenders with a gun and threaten to shoot himself if they did not give him cash. He was also a bigamist, possibly even a trigamist, and on his death the eldest son from one of these marriages had trouble claiming a right to the title and what remained of the family property. Benjamin O'Neale Stratford, 6th Earl of Aldborough died without heirs in 1875, by when Belan was already in poor condition. About thirty years later Mrs Sartoris, who remembered the house intact, could write that ‘Beautiful Belan lies in ruins, the wind blowing where it listheth, sighs over the desolate grounds and gardens once so beautiful, a herd lives in the yard, sole occupant of that once lovely demesne.’ As late as the 1940s the main walls of the house still stood, but this shell was subsequently swept away.
● Blarney Castle The first stone castle on the site was built in 1210. In the 15th century a new castle was built on it’s foundations by Cormac MacCarthy, one of Ireland’s greatest chieftains. Many tried to take the castle including Queen Elizabeth I but it was eventually invested by a general of Cromwell. When his men arrived however the garrison had already fled via underground caves and tunnels. In 1688 the castle was sold to Sir James St. John Jeffreys and at the beginning of the 18th century he built a house against the keep and landscaped the gardens. In 1820 the house was destroyed by fire and in 1874 a new Scottish style castle was built south of the keep. The Blarney Stone was said to have been a gift to the MacCarthy family after sending 5,000 soldiers to help Robert the Bruce or it was the stone that gushed water after striking Moses. Its name was said to come from Queen Elizabeth I who commanded the Earl of Leicester to report on the progress of taking the castle. She was so irritated by his ‘stories’ that she was reported as saying “this is all Blarney, he never means what he says and he never does what he promises”. The word Blarney means ‘the gift of the gab’.
● Burtown, originally built for the Quaker Robert Power in 1710 and marked on early maps as Power’s Grove. William James Fennell who inherited the property in 1890 was a keen horseman, was ‘asked to leave the Quaker persuasion because of his fondness for driving a carriage with uniform flunkies on the back.’ William James was a direct descendant of Colonel John Fennell and came to live at Burtown through his mother, Jemima Wakefield. The Wakefields had married into the Haughton family who in turn had married members of the Power family, Burtown passed several times through the female line. Jemima Wakefield had not expected to come into the property until her brother died after being hit by a stray cricket ball. William James Fennell was the great-grandfather of Burtown’s present owner, photographer James Fennell who lives in the house with his wife Joanna and three children. The latest generation has added its own mark while preserving the property’s character and cherishing its history. In particular Burtown’s gardens, which are now open to the public, continue to be expanded and developed. Across three hundred years and four different but inter-related families Burtown has acquired a patina only possible provided there is sufficient time and care. As had that visitor to the area in 1748, today it is still possible to be charmed here when ‘through lofty trees, we beheld a variety of pleasant dwellings.’ Few such houses as Burtown remain in Ireland and it is therefore fortunate that the current owners bring such enthusiasm and commitment to the task of preserving the place into the future.
● Carbury Castle, Castle Ruins (notes from Abandoned Mansions of Ireland, by Tarquin Blake), Ancient castle on a hill. Colley coat ocentury, King of Ireland, Noall) Castle originally early Anglo-Norman. English Barons 'within the Pale' at war with W,Irish clans. 1475, Red Hugh O'Donnell demolished and burnt the castle. Plundered in 1546 by Irish insurgents: O'Kellys, Maddens and O'Connors,. 1541 Baron's son, Sir Edward de Bermingham, died without an heir, title extinct. Colley family granted the castle in 1562 (result of Queen Elizabeth's Irish army participation). Modernised, and extended, added wings & four remarkable chimney stacks, large mullioned windows. Via marriage- passed to Pomeroy family. Abandoned late 1700. (to build modern house: Newberry Hill, existing now, at edge of estate,by Lord Harburton, 1787 (he was Viscount in 1791). Castle left to crumble, though chimneys can be seen still.(Colley family mausoleum nearby). Foot of the hill: Trinity well, on River Boyne (named after Queen Boan). - Many superstitions and legends remain attached.
○ Richard Colley-Wellesley born in Carbury Castle circa 1690, was her 5th great grandfather of Queen Elizabeth on her mother’s side. Sir Henry Colley acquired a leasehold of Carbury in 1538 during the reign of King Henry VIII. In 1569 he was granted the Manor of Carbury by Queen Elizabeth I. He remodelled the Castle in the style of the Elizabethan period. Sir Henry also built the Colley Mortuary Chapel (below) close to his residence, and it is here where he is buried.
● Carrick Castle about 3 miles from Edenderry town, tall square tower which in its original condition would have been 90 feet long and 32 feet in length. This was the castle built by Sir Pierce Bermingham in the 13th century and is the site of the O'Connor massacre. The view from Carrick is very impressive and its elevation, as with Carbury would have been used as a strong means of defence. Unfortunately it is in very poor condition with only two main walls remaining. However, some of the detail is still visible as in the window and chimney detail. To the left of Carrick is an abandoned church and graveyard.
● Carton House, Carton Demesne, Maynooth. The first record of a house at Carton was in the 17th Century when William Talbot, recorder of the city of Dublin was given a lease of the lands by the 14th Earl of Kildare. The house and lands were forfeited to the crown in 1691 and in 1703 sold to Major General Richard Ingoldsby, Master General of the Ordnance. In 1739, the lease was sold back to the 19th Earl of Kildare who employed Richard Castles to build the existing house. Carton remained unaltered until 1815 when the 3rd Duke decided to sell Leinster House to the R.D.S. and make Carton his principle residence. Carton remained in the control of the FitzGeralds until the 1920s when the 7th Duke sold his birth right to a money lender Sir Harry Mallaby Deeley in order to pay off gambling debts of £67,500. He was third in line to succeed and so did not think he would ever inherit, but one of his brothers died in the war and another of a brain tumour and so Carton was lost to the Fitzgeralds. Lord Brockett purchased the house in 1949 and in 1977 his son David Nall-Cain sold the house to its present owners Lee and Mary Mallaghan.
● Castletown House Palladian country house built in 1722 for William Conolly, the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons. Castletown House & The Wonderful Barn (below). Located off the main street of nearby Celbridge, Castletown House is the first grand Palladian House in Ireland – the design of the building led to the construction of Leinster House and from thence to the White House in Washington, D.C.. Begun in 1722 by Speaker William Conolly (1662–1729), Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, the lands and the house itself lie in Celbridge, however there is also an entrance from Leixlip, hence there are two modern estates bearing the Castletown name, one in each town. To mark the eastern vista of Castletown a conical shaped building – The Wonderful Barn – was constructed in 1743 with the stairs ascending around the exterior of the building.
● Colley Mortuary Chapel - burial place of Sir Henry Colley
● Donadea Castle granted to the Aylmer family in 1597 and remained in their possession until the death in 1935 of the last descendant, a Miss Alymer, who bequeathed the estate to the Church of Ireland who sold it and in the 1950s the main house was unroofed. Since 1981 the demesne, much of it woodland, has been a public park. The lodge echoing the design of Donadea Castle which has an early 17th century tower house. It may have been Sir Richard Morrison who in the early 1800s was employed by Donadea’s then-owner Sir Fenton Aylmer of Donadea, 7th Baronet; the latter’s wife was Jane Grace Evans-Freke of Castle Freke, County Cork which Morrison castellated around 1807. Donadea Castle is now a shell.
● Donore Estate - 5000 acres.(notes from Abandoned Houses in Ireland by Tarquin Blake). Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Stafford, Lord Deputy of Ireland, in 1633 bought up lands in Co. Kildare, eg Donore Estate - called to London 1641 on charge of Treason, executed 1641 at Tower Hill. Properties to son William " castle with Hall", 1750, Walter Hussey Burgh built a magnificent u-shaped Mansion House/fine furnishings. He took the name Burgh, for property exchange. A lawyer, he became Chief Baron of the Exchequer, but lived expensively; House mortgaged, then had to be sold 1800. (bought by own family, ancient mortgage repaid) Roche family rented the house - Philip Roche died, son took over, until his death in 1830. Too expensive to run by 1850 - left empty, or re-let to James Kelly, 1874. Land Purchase Act, in 1911, divided house and sold to tenants. 1956, mansion too large - abandoned. *** Farming continues on Donore Estate, by Morrin family - 434 acres.
● Furness, has changed ownership on only a handful of occasions over the past eight hundred years. The re are the remains of an old church (a nave and a chancel separated by an arch) built on the site of an earlier religious establishment nearby. In 1210 this church was granted with tithes to the Regular Canons of St Augustine based in the Abbey of St Thomas, Dublin who were considerable landowners in the neighbourhood. They remained in occupation for over three centuries until the advent of the Reformation in the 1530s. The Augustinians were replaced by the Ashes, a mercantile family from nearby Naas who were kinsmen and friends of the powerful Eustace clan. Then, most likely in the 1670s, Furness passed into the hands of the Nevilles a.k.a.Nevills). Arthur Jones Neville, born c.1712, who in 1743 appointed Surveyor General, having purchased the office for £3,300 from its previous holder Arthur Dobbs. In 1751 entered the Irish House of Commons as MP for County Wexford. In August 1752 he was dismissed as Surveyor General on the grounds of maladministration and was expelled from the House of Commons 1n 1743. He returned to represent the same constituency in 1761 (and continued to do so until his death a decade later), and became Sheriff of County Kildare in 1762 Arthur Jones Neville built a house at 40 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin in 1746. He built another building at 14 Rutland (now Parnell) Square. When he died Arthur Jones Neville was succeeded by his eldest son, Richard Neville, also a Member of Parliament for Wexford, holding this position with intervals even after the Act of Union until 1819. He was also Teller of the Exchequer under the Irish Parliament. He died in 1822. Richard Neville left two daughters, Henrietta and Marianne dividing his property equally between the two although ‘Furnace, house, offices, garden, front lawn, and back lawn to the river, cottage, and thirty acres’ were bequeathed to Marianne, with an option to take over the demesne at a valuation. The place was sold to another family, the Beaumans who remained there until they sold it in 1895 to Nicholas Synnott whose wife Barbara was a granddaughter of the seventh Viscount Netterville of Dowth Hall, County Meath. The Synotts continued to live at Furness until the late 1980s.
○ See The Irish Aesthete for many internal images
● Grange Castle, Castle Ruins. - situated a mile or so from Carrick Castle, a late 15th century (1460) tower house built by the de Bermingham family. The tower was embellished with ornate Jacobean chimneys and battlements in the early 17th century. In 1735 Walter Bermingham sold Grange to Thomas Tyrrell in whose family it remained until in 1988. The late Robert Tyrrell transferred ownership of the tower to Dúchas, the then Office of Public Works. The remaining buildings and grounds were handed down to Hugh Tyrrell who lives in England and from whom they are leased by The Tyrrell Trust Ltd. From 1460 onwards successive generations have added to or changed the character of Grange, with the building of a great hall now fully restored and named as Fallon Hall, with a walled garden, a cow byre and various stables and courtyards which have yet to be restored.
● Great Connell Abbey - a religious house belonging to the Augustinian canons, originally one of the wealthiest and largest monasteries in Ireland Original burial place of Walter Wellesley Founded in in 1202 by Myler Fitzhenry for the an Augustinian order from Wales, built near a ford in the River Liffey called Connell Ford. The Abbey was dedicated to St Mary and St David and was to become the principal Abbey of The Pale acquiring a great deal of land and wealth. Fitzhenry spent the last four years of his life within the monastery until his death in 1220. In 1380 Richard II passed a law which forbade Great Connell from admitting any Irishmen into it's order but there is evidence that this was not always the case. When the Suppression of Abbeys arrived in 1541, Great Connell was dissolved and the lands passed to John Sutton. The Abbey slowly fell into a ruins and is documented in 1781 to have little of note upstanding. Within 20 years most of the stone remaining was removed to construct the British Cavalry barracks in nearby Newbridge. The remains of the Abbey today are scant.
● Griesemount House Mary Leadbeater wrote in in “The Annals of Ballitore.” 1766-1824. "On the 22th day of the sixth month this year, (mid-summer’s day) 1817 the first stone of George Shackleton’s house at Griesemount was laid by his little niece Hannah White. Her father had written a date, etc. in Latin, which he wrapped in lead and put in a bottle, with coins of the present date, sealing it with the seal of Ballitore post-office. This was placed under the foundation stone. When this bottle shall be opened, where shall we be who stood around to witness this pleasant ceremony? Our places shall know us no more!” Hannah was five when her mother, Lydia White neé Shackleton, died in 1811 and was the daughter of James White who was the last Master of Ballitore Quaker school. Four years after the house was started George Shackleton married Hannah Fisher and they raised thirteen children there. They lived here until his death in 1871 and hers two years later.
● Jigginstown Castle (a.k.a. Sigginstown House), Castle Ruins; at Naas, County Kildare, on the periphery of an area known as The Pale, which was on the ouskirts of Dublin. A tower house and National Monument constructed in the late 1630s when Ireland was under the reign of Charles I (1625-1649). At the time it was one of the largest buildings in Ireland, and the first to be constructed of red brick: the plans provided for a pavement and columns of Kilkenny marble. Wentworth, 1st Earl of Stafford and Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in the 1630s was responsible for the construction. His intention was for the castle to be a place where the King could reside on royal visits to Ireland. Lord Stafford's downfall and execution for treason in 1641 meant that the house was never completed, and it was destroyed during the civil strife of the 1640s, although, according to Strafford's biographer, the foundations were still visible in the 1950s.
● Kildare Castle, Castle Ruins - located at Kildare, built in the 12th century as a motte and bailey castle by Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke. The remains of a tower are the only above ground remains of the castle.
● Kilkea Castle, Restored Castle. medieval stronghold of the Fitzgeralds, earls of Kildare. Sir Walter de Riddlesford built a motte and bailey castle there in 1181. A grand daughter of his married Maurice Fitzgerald, 3rd baron of Offaly, and so the Manor of Kilkea came into the possession of the Fitzgeralds and was to remain in the family for over 700 years. Sir Thomas de Rokeby, the Justiciar of Ireland, used the castle as his military base, and died here in 1356. The castle is particularly, associated with Gerald, the 11th Earl of Kildare known as the "Wizard Earl", who became the male representative of the Geraldines when only twelve years of age after his half brother "Silken Thomas" the 10th earl, was executed at Tyburn in 1537. The "Wizard Earl" was sent to the continent to be educated, and following his return to Kildare his interest in alchemy caused much interest among his neighbours around Kilkea Castle and he was said to possess magic powers. The Earl died in 1585 and is supposed to return to the castle every seventh year mounted on a silver-shod white charger. In 1634 the castle was leased to the Jesuit Order by the widow of the 14th Earl of Kildare and they remained there until 1646. That year the order entertained the Archbishop Rinuccini, Papal Nuncio to the Confederation of Kilkenny at Kilkea.In the early eighteenth century the 19th Earl of Kildare decided to make Carton House the family seat and Kilkea Castle was leased to a succession of tenants. One of these tenants was Thomas Reynolds, a Dublin silk merchant, who was a "friend" of the Kildare hero of 1798, Lord Edward FitzGerald, through whom Reynolds had become a United Irishman, only to become an informer. His role as informer did not prevent the castle which had been recently done up in fine style being sacked by military during the rebellion. After Carton was sold in 1949 Kilkea Castle became the seat of the 8th Duke of Leinster.
● Kilteel Castle, Intact Castle; built in the early thirteenth century by Maurice Fitzgerald for the Knights Hospitallers of St. John of Jerusalem. The site upon which the castle was built was once a monastic settlement. There is little mention of the castle in the fifteenth century but in the sixteenth century the lease was given to Alen and his wife. In 1669 Richard Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell Col. Richard Talbot, Earl of Tyreconnell] became the owner of Kilteel. He then sold the castle to Sir William Fownes of Kilkenny. It remained in his family until 1838 when it was sold to the Kennedys of Johnstown-Kennedy. Today the castle is a designated National Monument. It consists of a tower house dated to the fifteenth century, another projecting towerhouse with a spiral stairs and two further rooms at the gate-way.
● Leixlip Castle, Restored Castle. Built on a rock at the confluence of the River Liffey and the Rye Water, the central part of the castle dates from 1172, just after the Norman Invasion of 1171 and is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited buildings in Ireland, pre-dating Dublin Castle by 30 years. It was used as a hunting base by King John when Lord of Ireland in 1185. It was not of major military importance but withstood a 4-day siege by the army of Edward Bruce in 1316. Bought by judge Nicholas White in 1567, it remained in his family until 1728, when Leixlip and 809 acres around it including the castle was bought by William Conolly of nearby Castletown House for £12,000. His family sold it in 1914. Various famous tenants of the Conollys in the castle included Archbishop Stone, the Protestant Primate (1750s), the Viceroy Lord Townshend (1770s), Lord Waterpark, and Baron de Robeck (who drowned at the Salmon Leap). In the 1920s it was the residence of the first French ambassador to the Irish Free State. In 1945 the castle was sold to William Kavanagh, prior to the purchase in April 1958 by The Hon. Desmond Guinness.
● Maynooth Castle, founded in the early 13th century; principal residence of the Kildare branch of the Geraldines. The Kildare FitzGeralds extended their land holdings and influence, emerging as one of the most powerful families in Ireland with Maynooth Castle being one of the largest and richest Earl's houses. Garret Mor, known as the Great Earl of Kildare, governed Ireland in the name of the King of England from 1487-1513 and under his son Garret Og the 9th Earl, the Castle became the centre of political power and culture. The original Keep, constructed c.1203, was one of the largest of its kind in Ireland . Early in the 17th century the castle was remodelled and the main focus of the Castle shifted from the original Keep to the buildings in the east of the grounds. It was vested in the State in 1991 and a programme of restoration commenced in February 2000. An exhibition on the history of the castle and family is housed in the Keep.
● Rathcoffey Castle, Castle Ruins - John Wogan was granted the Manor of Rathcoffey in 1317 and his descendants built a castle there. The Wogans were of Cambro-Norman extraction; the name is believed to derive from the Welsh Gwgan. In 1453 an army led by Richard Wogan attacked and captured Rathcoffey Castle from his cousin Anne Eustace (née Wogan). Anne belonged to a more senior line, but Richard was the senior male heir. The result of this conflict left Richard in control of Rathcoffey and Anne and her successors in the Eustace family in possession of the Wogan lands of Clongowes Wood. In 1580 William Wogan, joined the 2nd Desmond Rebellion in support of the Roman Catholic cause. He was executed the following year and all his lands forfeited. The family regained Rathcoffey soon afterwards. During the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1640s) the Wogans sided with Parliament, and Colonel Monck's army marched on Rathcoffey castle, laying siege to it. In the 18th century the castle belonged to Richard Wogan Talbot. Archibald Hamilton Rowan (later a leading United Irishman) bought it from him in 1785 and built a new mansion on the site of the Castle incorporating the Wogan dwelling in this structure. It later passed between a numbver of owners before coming into the possession of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and then being sold to a local farmer in the 1970s.
● Rheban Castle, Castle Ruins - in 2nd century Rheban was one of the inland towns of Ireland. The castle stands on the western bank of the Al Berba, Birgus, or Barragh, (the boundary river,) now the river Barrow. Rheban Castle It was built, or greatly enlarged, in the early part of the t13 century, by Richard de St. Michael, when this and Dunamase, an adjoining district, were erected into a barony.The first English settlers repaired Rheban and strengthened the castle. The name of this castle was anciently Raiba, or Righ-ban, that is, the habitation of the king; The Richard de St. Michael in question founded a monastery in Athy, on the west (his own) side of the river for crouched friars, under the invocation of St. John. A burial ground and some remains still exist. There was another religious edifice erected by the families of Boesel and Hogan, at the east entrance of the town, and dedicated to St. Michael, which is erroneously stated to have been the one founded by De St. Michael, Lord of Rheban. A coincidence between the names of the supposed founder and the monastery, called as it is St. Michael's, may have led to the mistake. In 1325, in the absence of the English settlers, Rheban, Dunamase, and all their dependencies, were taken by O'Moore. In 1424, Thomas Fitzgerald, Lord of Offaly, and afterwards seventh Earl of Kildare, marrying Dorothea, daughter of Anthony O'Moore, received in dower the manors of Rheban and Woodstock. In 1642, the Marquis of Ormond took Rheban from the rebels. In 1648, it was taken by Owen Roe O'Neill, who was afterwards defeated by Lord Inchiquin, and compelled to surrender Rheban and Athy.
● Straffan House. In 1831 Hugh Barton of the wine firm Barton and Guestier bought land at Straffan and nearby Barberstown Castle from the Henry family and had Straffan House built whilst he and his wife stayed at Barberstown.
● White's Castle Athy, Restored
● The Wonderful Barn a corkscrew-shaped barn built on the edge of Castletown House Estate of the Conolly family, which borders Leixlip and Celbridge, County Kildare, Ireland. It was built in 1743 on the Leixlip side of the Castletown Estate. Flanked by two smaller dovecote towers, it was built with the stairs ascending around the exterior of the building.
● Woodstock a short distance away from the more White's Castle in Athy, and is in open space in the midst of a housing estate. The castle has two wings, the one projecting southeast with gunloops on its upper levels. This may have been added in 1536 by Lord Deputy Grey. Despite the blocked C16 upper windows, there is evidence to suggest the walls may originally have been part of a hall-house of c.1250.
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