Castletown House in Kildare is Ireland's largest and earliest Palladian style house. Built between 1722 and 1729 for William Conolly, Speaker of the Irish House of Commons and the wealthiest commoner in Ireland. The façade was almost certainly designed by the Italian architect, Alessandro Galilei, while the Irish architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearce added the wings. Fortunately the house was saved in 1967 when along with 120 acres of the demesne lands it was purchased by the Hon. Desmond Guinness.
Coolcarrigan is a hidden oasis on the edge of the Bog of Allen.A small area of fertile land surrounded by peatland. A farming estate of 1200 acres, with wonderful parkland, avenues of overhanging beech and chestnut trees, lakes and wildlife sanctuaries. 14 acres of gardens and arboretum with one of the best and most unusual collections of shrubs and trees in Ireland. Open to visitors and groups by appointment.There is a small private Church of Ireland church in a lovely woodland setting surrounded by a moat on the estate. The church is available for hire on request.
The house is now occupied by the 6th generation of the same family. An attractive Georgian house built in the 1830’s , originally used as a shooting lodge. There was a large area of the surrounding peatland owned by the estate. This was taken away when the government set up Bord na Mona and started harvesting peat for electricity generation in the 1940’s.
Irish National Stud & Japanese Gardens established in 1946, Tully is home to both the Irish National Stud & the Japanese Gardens the finest in Europe. Also to be seen at Tully is Saint Fiachra's Garden for its woodland and lakeside walks. The Japanese Gardens at Tully were created between the years 1906-1910. Devised by Colonel William Hall-Walker (later Lord Wavertree), a wealthy Scotsman of a famous brewery family and laid out by the Japanese Eida and his son Minoru.
The Gardens, planned to symbolise the 'Life of Man', are now of international renown and are acclaimed as the finest Japanese Gardens in Europe. The gardens at Tully are a living monument to the meeting of Eastern and Western cultures in a Western setting. The symbolism of life the garden portrays traces the journey of a soul from Oblivion to Eternity and the human experience of its embodiment as it journeys by paths of its own choice through life.
Typical ambitions toward education, marriage, or a contemplative or carefree life, achievement, happy old age and a gateway to Eternity are portrayed. Furthermore as an example of Japanese Gardening of its period, it is perfect - a Japanese Garden with a hint of Anglicisation about it, was precisely the type of garden being made in Japan at that time.
Lodge Park Walled Garden with brick lined north wall of 18th century origin is a plantsman's delight. From the axis of the long walk it features garden rooms, extending to a delightful rosarie. The Steam Museum is housed in the Great Southern & Western Railway Church, re-erected here from Inchicore, Dublin. The Richard Guinness model hall displays his collection of historic prototype locomotive models. The Power Hall displays restored stationary engines working in steam. Interactive area for educational use.
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