Castletown is Ireland’s largest and earliest Palladian style house and is significant in terms of European architectural heritage. It’s façade was almost certainly designed by the Italian architect, Alessandro Galilei and the Irish architect Sir Edward Lovett Pearce added the wings. It was built between 1722 -29 for William ‘Speaker’ Conolly. Conolly was ‘Speaker of the Irish House of Commons’ and the wealthiest commoner in Ireland owning over 100,000 acres of land. It remained in the hands of Conolly’s descendants until 1965 when it was purchased by a property developer Major Wilson. The house was saved from demolition in 1967 when it was purchased by the Hon. Desmond Guinness, founder of the Irish Georgian Society for £93,000. It was then opened to the public in the same year when restoration work began. It was eventually transferred to State care and it is now managed by the OPW.

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