Conservation Kildrought House

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Historical background:

Kildrought House was built by Robert Baillie in 1719 to the design of Kildare architect Thomas Burgh who also designed the Library of Trinity College, Dublin. Baillie was responsible for bringing tapestry weaving to Ireland. The house became the Celbridge Academy in 1782 and subsequently served as a fever hospital, vicarage and dispensary. By the 1850s the house was in poor condition and suffered from decay, though it was soon renovated. However, by 1985 the house was awash with inappropriate alterations and cement pointing, and its outbuildings were scheduled to be demolished. The new owners took it upon themselves to begin a programme to authentically restore the house to its original form in order to create a comfortable family home. In 2003 they applied to the Irish Georgian Society for funds to defray the cost of the large restoration programme. The Society contributed over €12,500 to a broad range of repairs.

Brief description of project:

These repairs included reinstating the original lime-based wet dashed walls which, in addition to being the historically accurate finish for the walls, will also contribute to the elimination of damp. Other works funded by the Society’s grant included removing inappropriate additions, repairing roof slates and making the building watertight, as well as removing the concrete pointing to prevent future damage. The most recent project was the dismantling, underpinning and restoring of the carriage entrance opening onto Celbridge main street.

Architectural description:

Set back from the street, Kildrought House is a magnificent mid-sized urban home of two storeys to the front elevation and three to the rear (including a basement) set within its own grounds. It is five bays wide with a central entryway on the front facade with six-over-six sash windows to the basement and ground floor levels. The first floor sash windows are of a three-over-three configuration except for the central Palladian window, all of which are set into lime-based, wet dash rendered walls. There is a slate, hipped roof with a facade gable. In addition to the gravel forecourt, there is also a detached three-bay, single-storey, curvilinear and gable-fronted outbuilding with attic which is seven bays wide on its northeast elevation. Beautiful terraced gardens with stone retaining walls run to the rear of the property down to the River Liffey, which are complemented by a red brick summer house of one storey and three bays. Kildrought House is unique because it boasts a level of refinement and grandeur ordinarily reserved for houses and estates of much larger scale.