Conolly's Folly

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Conolly's Folly
Baois Uí Chongaile
Conollys Folly - the obelisk.jpg
Conolly's Folly is located in Ireland
Conolly's Folly
Location in Ireland
Location Barrogstown West, Celbridge, County Kildare, Ireland
Type Arch structure with Obelisk
Height 42 m (138 ft)
Completion date 1740
Dedicated to William Conolly

Conolly's Folly (Irish: Baois Uí Chongaile), a.k.a. The Obelisk or originally The Conolly Folly, is an obelisk structure and National Monument located near Celbridge and Maynooth, both in north County Kildare, Ireland.


The folly was built within Castletown Estate (containing Castletown House), which contains two follies, both commissioned by Katherine Conolly, the philanthropic widow of Speaker William Conolly, to provide employment for hundreds of the poor of Celbridge when the famine of 1740-41 was at its worst. The Obelisk was built in 1740 after a particularly severe winter. As a folly, it could be seen from the back of Castletown some 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) away and it is built exactly perpendicular to the house. It was intended to mark the rear entrance gateway to Castletown house in conjunction with an avenue leading to the house.

The folly was built on land that was near to, but not on, the Conolly estate. It therefore belonged to neighbouring Carton, the home of the FitzGerald family, Dukes of Leinster.

Designed by Richard Castle, it is 42 metres (140 feet) high and is composed of several arches, adorned by stone pineapples and eagles, topped by a massive obelisk pillar. It was restored in 1965 by the Irish Georgian Society, and nearby is the grave of Mariga, first wife of the Hon. Desmond Guinness of Leixlip Castle.

It is currently[when?] undergoing restoration work by the OPW as it has fallen into disrepair.


The name Conolly is used, rather than the more common spelling Connolly, as it was the spelling used by William Conolly and by all his descendants. It derived from the Irish 'Ui Conghaile'.[1][2][3]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 53°22′09″N 6°33′38″W / 53.369076°N 6.560519°W / 53.369076; -6.560519