Places of Interest In Celbridge
Celbridge is steeped in history. It has ties to the Connolly's of Castletown, Arthur Guinness, Hentry Grattan & Dean Jonathan Swift.
There is a walking trail which takes in most of the famous houses based in Celbridge. Here are the main ones that would be of great interest.
Built in 1697 by Bartholomew Van Homrigh who served as Lord Mayor of Dublin. He lived here with his family. His eldest daughter took a shine to Dean Jonathan Swift who unfortunately did not feel the same and she was left broken hearted. A quiet spot that overlooks the weir was their romantic bower. This was destroyed during the construction of the Rockbridge in 1724 and the one you see today is the modern equivalent.
The Rockbridge is the oldest remaining bridge which spans the river Liffey. The views from here are beautiful.
Once a corn & tuck mill, it has proved to be a great source of employment. Over the years it has changed its uses from flour, flax & paper to a textile mill. It was once the largest mill in Ireland but now serves as a community centre housing small businesses & recreational activities.
It also marks the spot where the was once a ford across the River Liffey. If you are lucky, when the river is low you can see one of the last remaining stepping stones of the ford from the nearby bridge.
Birthplace of Arthur Guinness
Across the road from The Mill entrance is a plaque to commemorate the birth place of Arthur Guinness who was born in 1725. After setting up his own brewery in Leixlip he then moved to James's Street in Dublin in 1759 to take over the brewery. Arthur Guinness died in 1803 & is laid to rest in Ardclough which is close to Celbridge.
Just before the bridge you will see a white curved building which was the former Toll House. Travellers were charged here to cross the bridge.
St Patrick's Church
Built in 1859, St Patrick's Church was originally a mass house, where mass could only be celebrated. Other such sacraments & ceremonies took place in people's houses. The foundations for the present church was laid in 1859.
George Finey's House
Opposite St Patrick's church you will find the former house of the Guinness family who occupied it from 1752 to 1766. It is known as the George House, named after the agent to William Conolly who played a significant factor in the development of Celbridge's street-scape. There is also a tablet in the house that confirms between 1724 & 1728 the old Irish name of Kildrought had been changed to Celbridge.
Situated on Main Street you will see the oldest house in Celbridge which is known as Kildrought House. The house as built in 1719 by a Dublin upholsterer & tapestry maker Robert Baillie. From 1782 to 1814 the house was known as the Celbridge Academy. It later became a fever hospital, vicarage & a dispensary. It then reverted to a private residence.
School of Industry
Just before the gates of Castletown on the right towards the river on the left is the School Of Industry. This was built by Lady Louis in 1814. Boys were taught trades here such as shoe-making, carpentry and tailoring. In a school nearby by girls were then taught in how to sew, knit, and plait straw for bonnet making. They were both encouraged to read and write here.
Built from 1722 for William Connolly & his wife Katherine. It is one of the most magnificent examples of a Palladian mansion in Ireland. It is open from March to October and showcases some wonderful collections and has a fascinating history. If there is one place of interest you get to when visiting Castletown make sure this is the one you see.
Batty Langley Lodge
Walking past Castletown House you will see the lodge. The path way along here was used as a carriage way to Dublin. It was eventually used as a gate lodge and residence for the Castletown gardeners.
St Wolstan's Abbey
Past the lodge & continuing up stream at the river you will see the the views of the remains of St Wolstan's Abbey. The abbey was founded in 1202 & later closed by Henry V111 in 1536.
The workhouse was built on 1841 and housed 519 people. Disease and fever riddled the workhouse & the children that were admitted, half of them died within a short period of time. The workhouse was closed in 1922 after the establishment of the Irish Free State. It was then later used a s barracks for the army.
Workhouse Burial Ground
Just up the road from the workhouse is the workhouse burial ground. When workers died they were carted in & buried in a mass grave where no records where ever kept of who they were. A cross was erected in their memory and in 2007 Celbridge Tidy Towns restored the graveyard and erected a memorial sculpture.
Beside Kildrought House there is the former courthouse. It was then used as a cinema and an amenity hall in the later years.
Gate Lodges at Castletown
These 3 adjoining lodges mark the approach to Castletown. These buildings have been authentically restored and are available for holiday letting through the Irish Landmark Trust.