The Castletown House, located in Cellbridge is referred to as the greatest representation of Palladian architecture in all of Ireland. This house was built in 1722 and today sits only twenty miles from Dublin.
Castletown would be the perfect reflection of the man for whom it was built. The home was built for William Connoly who had experience in most prominent careers of his time. Although he is best known for his political associations and offices, most notably as Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, he also practiced law and accumulated a large amount of wealth from being a landowner. At the time of his death in 1729, Connolly was estimated to be the wealthiest man in Ireland.
The house is renowned for it’s Palladian architecture which again would represent the man for whom it was built. This style of architecture is very distinctive being that it is a descendant of Greek and Roman influence. Palladian architecture is named for Andrea Palladio who inspired designers to create like works after seeing his designs. He is notorious for helping to establish Western architecture.
He was from Venice so it is clear that his creativity stemmed from the ancient works that surrounded him in Italy. He sought to create buildings that exemplified that style, but were of a more modern time. The cores of his designs were symmetry and perspectives taken from some of the most classical pieces. This style was popular from the seventeenth to the eighteenth century as it was starting to become more identifiable. Since that time, it has still been a well-known architecture going through different evolutions although maybe not as popular.
With one look at Castletown, it is clear that the home looks like a derivement from a classical temple in Greece or a similar era. The home is perfectly symmetrical although Palladian architecture in Ireland had to be to altered slightly to accommodate the wet and colder climate because where it originated was more sunny and dry. The sides of Castletown’s face feature several columns that resemble the pillars that have been used in classical architecture.
The distinctiveness of this home speaks of a style and elegance that is almost universal and timeless. It is also made of such quality materials that most people could not have afforded to build the home unless they were extremely wealthy. Castletown also has the distinction of being known as one of three houses that inspired the design of the White House.
Today it is managed by the Office of Public Works and it is opened all year long for tours although times may vary depending on the time of your visit. When you do go, allow an hour for the tour. For more information on Castletown see this link here.