Carton Lecture Series 2015-16

LECTURE 2 Monday 16 November 8.00 pm

Jeanne Meldon (Castletown Foundation) From green pastures to designed landscape: ...

Jeanne Medon is vice-chair and a director of the Castletown Foundation and will present a paper entitled,

From green pastures to designed landscape: new reflections on the evolution of the Castletown demesne and the role of the forgotten Conolly

Castletown today comprises a large demesne with parkland, riverside walks, woodland and areas under tillage. In the 17th and 18th centuries the Castletown lands were much more extensive and included much of the town of Celbridge as well as lands to the north and west of the current demesne. The mid to late 18th century period in the history of the designed landscape is well known. This presentation covers the earlier period of William (Speaker) Conolly and Katherine, and also of his eventual heir, William Junior, in many respects the ‘forgotten’ Conolly. It attempts to map the outline of the demesne lands at the time of the acquisition of Castletown and the surrounding lands, and charts the accompanying story of growth and shrinkage as fortunes changed and resources dwindled over the centuries.

How extensive were the lands purchased by Conolly in 1709? It has previously been suggested that the demesne did not extend to the Liffey until after the 1760’s; this paper suggests that this was in fact not the case. Were the 1740’s and 1750’s the fallow period that has often been suggested or did the Speaker’s nephew have a greater role than has hitherto been believed; to what extent were the influences of his wife, Anne Wentworth, brought to bear on the Conolly landscape of Castletown? These are some of the questions explored in this presentation, which uses much of the documentary evidence that survives in the Castletown papers in the Irish Architectural Archive.

Light refreshments served each evening from 7.15 pm

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