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Press Release

Official Opening of The Lady Kildare Room at Castletown House

Published: 6 March 2020
From: Office of Public Works

The Office of Public Works (OPW) together with the Castletown Foundation, are delighted to officially open The Lady Kildare Room at Castletown House as part of its programme to open additional spaces within the House and to further enhance the visitor experience to this magnificent architectural gem located only 30 minutes from Dublin. Castletown House is considered by many to be Ireland’s grandest Palladian mansion and is a flagship property in the OPW Heritage Services portfolio.

The room, aptly named, will house a portrait of Emily FitzGerald, the Duchess of Leinster along with an important collection of portrait miniatures, silhouettes and drawings.

The portrait of Emily by Sir Joshua Reynolds was painted in 1774 and shows Emily looking stately in a pink dress and ermine shawl, within a painted oval. Lady Emily had a fascinating life, married to James FitzGerald the first Duke of Leinster, she was referred to as the “Queen of Ireland” for her role as a political influencer. The painting originally hung in the Dining room of Carton House, and will now be displayed in Castletown House, home of her sister Lady Louisa Conolly.

The collection of portraits miniatures, silhouettes and drawings consist of predominantly Irish personages from the 18th and 19th centuries which has been generously loaned by the Irish Georgian Society and includes such interesting characters as Frances Edgeworth and Marguerite Gardiner, Countess of Blessington. The portrait miniature was a personal item, often given as a gift and, in an age before photography, were often used as a visual memorial of a loved one which could be carried on the person. These were mostly designed to be worn as a piece of jewellery and often incorporated a lock of hair. They could be worn on a chain as a locket, hanging from the waist on a chatelaine or even on as small an item as a ring.


For further information contact OPW Client Services and Communications Unit on 087 147 0617 or opwcsc@opw.ie

Notes to the Editor:

Castletown House is now open to the public since Friday 5 March 2020.

The House will be open daily from 10am to 6pm. Last admission is at 5pm.

Guided Tours are available, Monday to Saturday, at selected times.

The Parklands and Café open all year around.

Please see Castletown House for further information on our opening hours, forthcoming events and on the History of the House and the Family.

Follow us on Twitter @opwcastletown.

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