Castletown Conolly, Celbridge

Map Reference: N978342 (2978, 2342)

Castletown Conolly, Celbridge is a large, cold house. It was built about 1722 for William Conolly, Speaker of the Irish House of commons. The house is three storeys high over a basement.

It has a 13 bay front probably designed in 1719 by the Florentine architect, Alessandro Galilei. It is flanked by curving Ionic colonnades and two-storey 7 bay wings, which were probably designed by Edward Lovett Pearce, as was the entrance hall.

The large dining-room has a devil-cracked mirror and hearthstone. The story goes that the Devil was unmasked at the end of a card game. One of the players was retrieving a fallen card from the floor noticed that one of his fellow players had cloven feet. In the ensuing commotion the Devil stamped on the hearthstone and vanished up the chimney in a cloud of smoke. The cracked mirror and hearthstone remain as evidence of the event. There is a cantilevered stone stairway with a balustrade of brass columns and a unique print-room. From the splendid long gallery on the first floor can be seen, at about 3km distance, Conolly`s Folly, an obelisk raised on arches.

It was built by Speaker Conolly's widow about 1740. The architect may have been Richard Cassels. The basement area of the house has some very fine vaulting and a restored Victorian kitchen.

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