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Photographer's Note

Pictured here is Conolly's Folly, a huge obelisk like structure situated near to the towns of Maynooth and Celbridge in Co Kildare.

Designed by renowned architect of his time, Richard Castle, it stands 140 feet high and is an imposing structure in this generally flat landscape. It is clearly visible for miles around. It is made of a number of arches topped by a massive obelisk style pillar. It is decorated with stone pineapples and eagles.

The folly was built in 1740 after a particularly bad winter, and at a time when the famine of 1740- 1741 was at its worst. It was built within the grounds of Castletown Estate and is one of two follies, the other being the rather remarkable and one of a kind Wonderful Barn.

Both of these follies were commissioned by Katherine Conolly, widow of William Conolly; the speaker of the Irish house of commons. Katherine had this huge structure created to provide employment for hundreds of the poor people of Celbridge. Originally intended to be a marker for the rear entrance to Castletown House, it was built exactly perpendicular to the massive mansion which was 2.5 kilometers away. Though considered to be part of the Conolly estate, it was actually built on lands close to the estate but in fact belonging to its neighbor Carton House which was the home of the Dukes of Leinster.

The folly fell into disrepair and restoration work was begun by the Irish Georgian Society in 1965 to restore its glory. This repair work is ongoing today, now overseen by the Office of Public Works.

Castletown House itself was the first Palladian house built in Ireland, with work commencing in 1722. William Conolly decreed that every part of the house must be made from Irish materials. At the time of his death, Conolly was reported to be the wealthiest man in Ireland. The legacy that he left in Carton House is today open to the public and it is possible to view the lavish rooms including the Salon, the Print Room, the State Bedroom and the Long Gallery with its Pompeian decoration and lavish Murano glass chandeliers.

Thanks for looking!

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2711 W: 15 N: 6495] (22773)
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