Farmleigh House, County Dublin
Farmleigh was formerly one of the Dublin residences of the Guinness family. It is situated in the civil parish of Castleknock on an elevated position above the River Liffey to the north-west of the Phoenix Park. The estate of 78 acres (32 hectares) consists of extensive private gardens with stands of mature cypress, pine and oak trees, a boating pond, walled garden, sunken garden, out offices and a herd of rare native Kerry cattle.
It was purchased from the 4th Earl of Iveagh in 1999 for €29.2 million. The Office of Public Works (OPW), a state body, spent in the region of €23 million restoring the house, gardens and curvilinear glasshouses, bringing the total cost to the state to €52.2 million. Farmleigh was opened to the public in July 2001. It is now the official Irish State Guest House.
Visitors to Farmleigh gain some insight into the character of Edward Cecil Guinness, first Lord Iveagh, from the landscaped gardens, the classical architecture, and the symmetrical, sober layout. There are also many tapestries on display, which Guinness collected as historic and unusual textiles while travelling through Europe as a young man. The earls' library, on loan to the state, contains some of the earliest books printed in Ireland.
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