In 1775, the Dutch author Richard Twiss remarked that Castletown House “is the only house in Ireland to which the term palace can be applied.” Though not to detract from the country’s other standouts, it’s indeed true that the Castletown House is a piece of architectural wonder. Situated in County Kildare about 30 minutes west of Dublin, this palatial, Palladian-style mansion was constructed during the 1720s for William Connolly—who, in addition to being the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, was also the wealthiest Irish commoner of the time. It was Ireland’s first and largest Palladian-style home—an architectural style inherited from the grandeur of Renaissance-era Italy. On a guided tour of the historic home, stroll beneath towering Ionic columns that connect the adjacent wings, and peruse the artifacts of one of Ireland’s most political and military families. When finished exploring the regal interior, enjoy a peaceful riverside walk on the sprawling grounds of the estate—which occupy 550 acres of pristine Irish countryside.
Admission to the estate is from 7am-8pm on every day of the year. Tours of the Castletown House interior are from March 15-October 31, and there is admission fee of approximately $9 for adults and $5 for children.