Castletown House

castletown

I fell in love with Andrea Palladio on our first trip to Venice.  Being the daughter of Interior Designers I think I went to every historical home and museum in every place we traveled.  At times I would drag my feet but when we went to the Veneto region of Italy and saw some of Palladio’s designs I was captivated.  So when the rents surprised us with visiting the largest and earliest Palladian style home in Ireland, we were in love!

Castletown was built in 1792 by William Conolly, the speaker of the House and the wealthiest man in Ireland at the time.  The main building was designed by the Italian architect Alessandro Galilei and the wings were added by the Irish architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearce.  The estate remained in the family until the 1960s and eventually was in ruin and saved by the Guinness family.  Luckily, throughout Ireland historic sites and classic Irish businesses have been saved by the Guinness family.

The house has been decorated to period with a few surviving pieces and has been restored beautifully.  We can cheers a Guinness to that!

The entrance hall, large enough to host small concerts today.

The entrance hall, large enough to host small concerts today.

The dining room

The dining room

Red reading room

Red reading room

This room was especially fascinating.  It is one of the only print rooms left in Ireland.  At the time the women would purchase large print magazines and cut out the prints that they liked and glue them to the wall with a flour paste.  They would take up to 10 years to complete a room.  They fell out of fashion, which is why they are so rare today.  You could literally see the layers of paper pasted on the walls.

Print room

Print room

The tour finished in the Grand Hall with the most beautiful Morano glass chandeliers any of us had seen.  There were three total in the room and were absolutely jaw dropping.  Castletown House flew in experts from Morano to wire them for electricity in the past few years and even they were impressed.  The chandeliers took four years to arrive via ship in the late 1700s and not a single piece was broken!

The grand hall

The grand hall

We tried to take a panoramic, it makes the wings look like they went off in an angle, they don’t, but it gives you an idea of how large and perfectly symmetrical the building is.

panoramic

 

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