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Castles of Ireland
Glenart Castle Co. Wicklow

Ashford Castle A historic castle estate set amid 63 acres of ground and woodland. Glenart Castle was originally built around 1750 and was formerly the Irish Residence of the Earl of Carysfort. Around 2 km from Arkiow on the road to Woodenbridge in the picturesque Avoca Valley just 44 miles from Dublin & 1.5 hours drive from Dublin Airport.

Glenart Estate goes back to the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland which began in 1169. Between 1177 and 1185 large quantities of land were granted by Prince John acting on behalf of his father King Henry II to Theobald Walter from whom were descended the Butler Family and the Earls of Ormonde. The Butlers held their possession in this area for the next 500 years.

In April 1714 James, Duke of Ormonde, granted the fee-farm to John Allen of Stillorgan, Co. Dublin for �1,140.00 containing 8528 acres which had been demised on the 2nd March, 1713 for lives renewable forever, at a rent of �380.00 and two fat beevers or �3.00.

The first Allen Family to settle in Ireland was John Allen who came over from Holland near the end of the 17th Century. He was made Baron Allen of Kildare and Viscount Allen of StiIlorgan. He was succeeded by his son John who was a member of the Irish Parliament for 25 years representing in succession Counties Dublin, Carlow and Wicklow His second son, Robert became M.P. for the Borough of Carysfort in Co. Wicklow. John died unmarried in 1745 and he also had three sisters.

In 1750, the eldest sister Elizabeth Allen was married to John Proby who was raised to the peerage in 1752 as Baron Carysfort of Co. Wicklow. Through this marriage John Proby came into possession of Glenart Castle and this Arkiow Estate. He died in 1772 and was succeeded by his only son John Joshua who was created the 1st Earl of Carysfort in 1789, and also a Peer in the UK in 1801 under the title of Baron Carysfort of the Norman Cross. John Joshua died in 1828 and succeeded by his second son John who was born in 1780.

John Proby, 2nd Earl of Carysfort joined the British Army and reached the rank of a General. He died in 1855 unmarried. Succeeded by his brother Granville Levenson Proby, who became the 3rd Earl of Carysfort.

Granville Levenson Proby, the 3rd Earl joined the royal navy and became admiral in 1857. He was M.P. for Wicklow from 1816 to 1829 and Sheriff of Co. Wicklow in 1831. He married Isabella Howard, a granddaughter of the 1st earl of Wicklow in 1818 He died in 1868. He was succeeded by Granville Levenson as the 4th Earl of Carysfort.

Granville Levenson the 4th Earl became a member of Parliament in 1858 until he succeeded to the title in 1868. He died in 1872 and was succeeded by his brother William Proby, the 5th Earl of Carysfort.

William Proby, the 5th Earl of Carysfort was born in 1836. He was captain of Wicklow military in 1861, high Sheriff in 1866 and Lord Lieutenant of Co. Wicklow from 1890 until his death in September 1909. William Proby was Senior Magistrate of the Arkiow Bench and always presided when he was resident in Glenart Castle. In 1860, William Proby married Charlotte, daughter of Rev. Robert Booshy but had no children. After his death, as the male line of the Proby's had ceased, so also did the Earldom.

Glenveagh Castle, Co. Donegal

Glenveagh Castle, Co. Donegal The rugged donegal highlands may be one of the bleakest places in Ireland, but in a secluded valley beside a mountain lough is a most remarkable garden.

The garden was begun in the 1870s by Mrs Adair, a rich American heiress, following the construction of Glenveagh Castle on a bare hillside. After her death in 1929 the property was acquired by Mr. Kingsley Porter, Professor of Art at Harvard, and later in 1937 by another American, Henry P. McIlhenny.

Tantalising glimpses of the castle greet the visitor along the winding lough shore road from the heather roofed reception centre. The large tree rhododendrons and Scots pine, planted over a century ago, provide the area with shelter and help to create a microclimate that is suitable for growing a range of tender plants.

Colour is all important. One of the border shrubs in the Pleasure Ground, Senecio greyi, was planted by McIlhenny for its lovely grey foliage - he hated its yellow blooms which he had removed each year.

Running above the Pleasure Ground to the Walled Garden is the Belgian Walk, laid down in 1915 by Belgian soldiers who were convalescing here during the war. Giant-leaved rhododendrons thrive in this area. The formal Walled Garden beside the castle provides a striking contrast to the informal planting elsewhere. It is divided into squares and contains, in addition to herbaceous borders, a mixture of fruit, vegetables and flowers in the jardin potager style.

There is much else to see at Glenveagh and visitors will probably want to spend the whole day here even if it is raining. It is located 15 miles north west of Letterkenny, outside of Churchill.