The Wonderful Barn

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Where: Kildare, Ireland

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When: 01 January 1900

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This striking structure at Leixlip in Co. Kildare really does look wonderful…

Photographer: Almost certainly Robert French of Lawrence Photographic Studios, Dublin

Date: Circa 1900??

NLI Ref.: L_ROY_09084

Info:

Owner: National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Source: Flickr Commons
Views: 58284
wonderfulbarn leixlip kildare ireland leinster horse cart robertfrench williamlawrence lawrencecollection glassnegative nationallibraryofireland barn rronaldson

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  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 07/Jan/2014 08:50:09

    Google Streetview (a distant view from the Motorway).

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    Niall McAuley

    • 07/Jan/2014 08:51:30

    And on the GeoHive 25" OSI map.

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    Niall McAuley

    • 07/Jan/2014 08:53:59

    It has a little cousin in Churchtown: the Bottle Tower. Early Paxette shots: The bottle tower

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    Niall McAuley

    • 07/Jan/2014 09:04:38

    The house doesn't look good, but the barn itself is in good shape: Restored Wonderful Barn

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    DannyM8

    • 07/Jan/2014 10:03:49

    Why this shape for a barn?

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 07/Jan/2014 10:39:47

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Lovely that it's still there, and also that it was called the Wonderful Barn on the OSI 25".

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    DannyM8

    • 07/Jan/2014 10:49:00

    Castletown House & The Wonderful Barn. Located off the main street of nearby Celbridge, Castletown House is the first grand Palladian House in Ireland – the design of the building led to the construction of Leinster House and from thence to the White House in Washington, D.C.. Begun in 1722 by Speaker William Conolly (1662–1729), Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, the lands and the house itself lie in Celbridge, however there is also an entrance from Leixlip, hence there are two modern estates bearing the Castletown name, one in each town. To mark the eastern vista of Castletown a conical shaped building – The Wonderful Barn – was constructed in 1743 with the stairs ascending around the exterior of the building. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leixlip

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    guliolopez

    • 07/Jan/2014 10:56:51

    [http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]] I researched this building a few years ago (for the Wikipedia article on the structure) and essentially the unique shape is the subject of some discussion - because the purpose of the "barn" itself isn't 100% established. There doesn't seem to be any remaining documentation (from the time - that I could find at least) which explains the original intent. More recent theories suggest the barn was either (1) largely a folly on the Connolly estate (so the unique shape was just for the fun of it), (2) a dovecote (given that there is a similarly shaped but much smaller dovecote nearby - without really explaining why a dovecote would need to be so big or require the odd external spiral stairs) or (3) a grain store (as evidenced by some of the internal structures). The last of these seems to generally accepted as the most likely. (Though I also read a theory which suggested that the external stairs were used for hunting purposes - either as a lookout or shooting platform for game birds. But there wasn't really anything to back that up. So I actually removed that unsupported theory from the Wikipedia article at the time.)

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    guliolopez

    • 07/Jan/2014 11:06:27

    I forgot to mention that it's also (somewhat) accepted that the construction (along with Connolly's Folly which was built around the same time) was a relief works project. But again, no estate docs to back that up. Just based on the timing of construction

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    DannyM8

    • 07/Jan/2014 11:06:50

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Interesting

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    DannyM8

    • 07/Jan/2014 11:11:56

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gnmcauley Niall, a big welcome back to your buddy icon - much preferred

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    derangedlemur

    • 07/Jan/2014 11:23:15

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Interesting. I'd have assumed from the shape that it was either a grain drying silo (as per your 3 above) or a malting tower. The shape should get you a warm updraft through it on sunny days, the same way that power plant cooling towers do. I'd be interested to know if it actually does.

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    John Spooner

    • 07/Jan/2014 11:29:58

    I'm pleased to see that it's still there. Furry animal death klaxon The Wonderful Barn gets a mention in account of a meeting of the "Killing Kildares" in February 1880, attended by no less a personage than the Empress of Austria. Also attending were Lady Georgiana Spencer Churchill, Lady Blandford, Lord crofton, Lord and Lady Drogheda, and Prince Lichtenstein. After a long description of the assembled gentry and what they were wearing, Freeman's Journal's special correspondent finally got to the chase.

    The hounds had hardly proceeded in search of Reynard, when their welcome notes proclaimed the presence of quarry. He tried to dodge about, but matters getting too warm to be pleasant, he hardened his heart and attacked for the open, selecting a course in the direction of Parsonstown, and apparently as it he purposed making a visit to Cullen's Gorse or Lorah. Changing his tactics however, he swung to the right, and finding the way back to the demesne barred, held on to the New Barn straight to the ancient structure known as the Wonderful Barn, and the leaving Leixlip Castle to the left, pushed round for Weston Park, where he was worked to ground. The country traversed was big and deep, but still the field maintained very compact order. The next move was to Cullen's gorse, a well-known hault of the fox family. Having proceeded at a quick trot, the place was quickly reached, Castletown demesne being re-crossed on the way to it. The gorse held a rather dodging customer, and he required an amount of persuasion before he could be forced to leave. He did so after some very pretty covert hunting, and broke down hill in the direction of Lorah. Just before reaching the road he went back, no doubt scared at the crowd of vehicles which had taken up position on it. Wheeling to the right and describing a narrow circle he returned to the gorse, but was again dislodged, and having repeated his previous performance was finally despatched.

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    Longford Library, Heritage & Archives

    • 07/Jan/2014 12:24:10

    I always assumed it was intended as a granary given the shape.

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    TEXASJOHN

    • 07/Jan/2014 15:25:13

    How is it used today?

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    Joefuz

    • 07/Jan/2014 15:52:11

    Leixlip (and the Wonderful Barn) are in Kildare!

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 07/Jan/2014 16:13:22

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/joefuz I do apologise - of course it's Kildare (which I had correct in the tags and on the map)! Just blindly copied the text from the glass negative... P.S. Pleased that you read what I write, even when it's wrong! :)

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 07/Jan/2014 16:14:10

    Wonderful Cowhouse too, according to GREAT FIRE IN LEIXLIP from the Freeman's Journal, 29 April 1904:

    CATTLE AND FARM IMPLEMENTS DESTROYED Early Wednesday morning Mr. R. Ronaldson, owner of the "Wonderful Barn" Farm, about a mile outside the village of Leixlip, was informed that his cowhouse and several of his cattle were destroyed by fire. The cowhouse, better known as the "Wonderful Cowhouse", was all in ruins. In the fire perished three calves and five milch cows and a threshing machine and engine, only repaired a few weeks ago for the coming harvest, and also a binding machine. Carts and several useful farm implements, about four tons of hay, and a like quantity of straw, a large quantity of stored corn, etc., were also destroyed. How the fire originated, Mr. Ronaldson informed our correspondent, that he was unable to form any opinion, as he had examined the night before, at 11 o'clock, his premises, and found everything in order. Mr. Ronaldson lost no time in sending to Leixlip Barrack a messenger for the Constabulary. Sergeant M'Murray and a constable made all possible haste to the place, which was at this time in ruins, nothing standing but the bare walls, which measured about one hundred feet long, sixty feet wide, and forty feet high. The damage done must be considerably over one thousand pounds, which, it is stated, is covered by insurance.

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    DannyM8

    • 07/Jan/2014 16:37:21

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland Was the house called the Wonderful House?

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    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 07/Jan/2014 16:50:44

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected] Well, it is a fairly nice house alright, so why not?

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    DannyM8

    • 07/Jan/2014 19:11:21

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland Why not indeed

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    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 07/Jan/2014 22:00:01

    Interesting that there was also a wonderful cowhouse - the GoogleMapsSatellite shows evidence of a much grander plan, with the smaller dovecotes, a semi-circular thingummy, and an avenue connected to Castleton House. Oddly, this does not show up on the old maps. What was going on .... ?

  • profile

    dutkasam

    • 08/Jan/2014 01:00:22

    Looks like the old days again love it :)

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    ccferrie

    • 08/Jan/2014 23:53:14

    my understanding was that it was built as s folly by Speaker Connolly, for his wife, and could be viewed from a particular window in Castletown House. The view is protected and part of the nearby Hewlett Packard site includes a line of trees delineating the sightline from Castletown to the Barn. There was a proposal at one stage to develop the buildings as a visitor attraction as part of a larger residential development.

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    MickBarry.com

    • 10/Jan/2014 06:34:44

    Living nearby, I have photographed the barns many times in its current run-down state (which is an awful shame) it is great to see, here, how it looked in its prime.

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    ccferrie

    • 10/Jan/2014 15:04:57

    Incidentally, Connolly's Folly, located here forms a right angled triangle with the Wonderful Barn and Castletown House. Here's a streetview of the Folly

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    pedrodaniel382

    • 11/Jan/2014 19:44:03

    Es hermoso poder trasmitirlo hermoso en vdd. Grandioso

  • profile

    Niall McAuley

    • 11/Jan/2014 23:34:39

    The Obelisk aka Conolly's Folly

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    nannyjean35

    • 18/Feb/2014 08:05:32

    beautiful building, lovely scene

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    MickBarry.com

    • 23/Feb/2014 22:47:37

    Here is a view of how it looks in 2013 http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbe21/12509540225/

  • profile

    Kamenjack

    • 31/Dec/2014 10:25:20

    very interesting image here!

  • profile

    National Library of Ireland on The Commons

    • 15/Nov/2016 22:28:37

    I have just added this photo to our 50,000+ Views Album. https://www.flickr.com/photos/nlireland/sets/72157651136879037

  • profile

    BeachcomberAustralia

    • 18/May/2017 09:54:20

    DRONEVIEW !! in 2016 - youtu.be/f2cx12cw8Mk