Castletown House Parkland

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Location: Celbridge, Kildare

Located in County Kildare, Castletown House and Gardens is Ireland's largest and earliest Palladian-style estate. It was built between 1722 and 1729 for William Connolly, speaker of the Irish House of Commons and the wealthiest commoner in Ireland. Visit Castletown House to explore the beautiful 18th-century parklands, with river walks, a temple and the remains of a bathing house. Castletown Gardens in the 18th century was not designed with formal flower gardens, instead formally laid out landscapes in the French Baroque style were popular at the time. The historic landscape of Castletown has survived to the present day—modern visitors can wander along the river walks of Lady Louisa Conolly (resident in the house and responsible for decorating it in the 1760s and 1770s) and see the remains of her bathing house. In the 19th century, restoration efforts were focused on the immediate surroundings of the house; a formal garden was built behind the house and yew trees planted in front. The break up of the estate in the 1960s meant that the immense walled gardens, formerly situated to the north-west of the house were developed. These kitchen gardens were by the early 20th century the most profitable aspect of the estate, and a great source of local employment, though today only the farmyard beyond the west wing remains.