Video of Leixlip, County Kildare, Republic of Ireland
Leixlip (Irish: Léim an Bhradáin) is a town in north-east County Kildare, Ireland.
Its location on the confluence of the River Liffey and the Rye Water has marked it
as a frontier town historically: on the border between ancient kingdoms of Leinster
and Brega, as an outpost of The Pale, and today on Kildare's border with Dublin
Leixlip was the site of the famous Battle of Confey, in which the Viking King Sigtrygg
Caech of Dublin defeated the Irish King of Leinster around the year 917., The first
settlement at Leixlip was an outpost of Early Scandinavian Dublin, built at the furthest
point where longships could be rowed up the Liffey. The town was also home to Arthur
Guinness's first brewery in 1755, where he brewed ales until he moved on to St. James's
Gate Brewery, Dublin in 1759, where he first brewed Guinness. The first history of
the town was published in 2005.
The population of the town is 15,597. In 2006, it was the fourth largest town in
Kildare and the 26th largest in the Republic of Ireland.
Leixlip Castle. Built on a rock at the confluence of the River Liffey and the Rye
Water, the central part of the castle dates from 1172, just after the Norman Invasion
of 1171 and is one of the oldest continuously-inhabited buildings in Ireland, pre-dating
Dublin Castle by 30 years. It was used as a hunting base by King John when Lord of
Ireland in 1185. It was not of major military importance but withstood a 4-day siege
by the army of Edward Bruce in 1316.
Bought by judge Nicholas White in 1567, it remained in his family until 1728, when
Leixlip and 809 acres around it including the castle was then bought by William Conolly
of nearby Castletown House for £12,000. His family sold it in 1914. Various famous
tenants of the Conollys in the castle included Archbishop Stone, the Protestant Primate
(1750s), the Viceroy Lord Townshend (1770s), Lord Waterpark, and Baron de Robeck.
In the 1920s it was the residence of the first French ambassador to the Irish Free
State. In 1945 the castle was sold to William Kavanagh, prior to the purchase in
April 1958 by The Hon. Desmond Guinness.
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).