Buildings at Risk
The Wonderful Barn, Leixlip, Co. Kildare
The Wonderful Barn was built in 1743 as a famine relief scheme by Katherine Conolly of Castletown, widow of William ‘Speaker’ Conolly. Described as ‘arguably one of the finest follies to be found in Ireland’, it was conceived not only as a functional grain store but as an architectural eye-catcher which would provide an eastern terminating vista from the grounds of Casteltown.
The eccentrically designed barn, which rises to a height of 70 feet in a tapering cone, is encircled by a cantilevered staircase with a crow’s nest viewing gallery. It is adjoined by a courtyard area in which two conical pigeon houses are found and also by Barnhall House which was constructed shortly before the barn complex.
Today the Wonderful Barn stands sandwiched between the M4 Motorway and a housing estate and, with its associated buildings, is in need of a considerable amount of work to secure its future – made more urgent by a recent arson attack on Barnhall House which fortunately did not affect the Wonderful Bran itself.
The Irish Georgian Society is collaborating with a number of partners in finding a way to secure the Wonderful Barn and the cluster of buildings of which it is part.
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