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Ardgillan House

 

Ard Choill
 

High Wood

Ardgillen Castle stands near the town of Balbriggan, County Dublin, the present castle was built by the Reverend Robert Taylor in 1738 and remained in the ownership of the Taylor family until 1962, when the house and estate was sold to Heinrick Pott of Westphalia, Germany , although referred to as a castle it could be more properly described as a large country house.

Ardgillan and surrounding area was once controlled by the O'Casey's a native Irish family, later the Earl of Tyrconnell appears to have held it. During the various plantations of Ireland ownership of the land largely passed from the Irish to English and Scottish settlers many of whom were officers or soldiers in the English army. In 1658 it is recorded in the "Down Survey" that Ardgillan was owned by a wine merchant, Robert Usher of Crumlin, Dublin and by 1737, the property had been acquired by the Reverend Robert Taylor.

Taylor was the great grandson of Thomas Taylor (1631–82) of Cheshire, England who came to Ireland in 1653 to take part in a survey of Ireland organised by Sir William Petty, this came to be known as the "Down Survey of Ireland" The purpose of the survey was to catalogue all the lands confiscated in the aftermath of the 1641 rebellion and the Cromwellian campaign which followed. Thomas Taylor sold his estate in England and purchased somewhere over 20,000 acres of which around 7,500 was near Kells County Meath. By the time of Thomas's death in 1682 he had attained the important position of Treasurer-of-War, the estates were inherited by his sole surviving son also Thomas.

The house was known originally as Prospect House, and an early woodcut shows one of the first steam trains passing through the estate in the 1840’s as passing “Prospect House”. Robert Taylor had a marble plaque installed in the drawing room, inscribed in Latin which roughly translated reads.

With the Lord’s favour, Robert Taylor, Dean of Clonfert built this house in the year of Salvation 1738. May falsehood, quarrelling, shouting, grief, anger be far from here. Let friendship, soothing rest, generous plenty, truth unadorned and a wealth of fun be present. Thus dry lipped we pray when day begins and so we pray flushed with wine when the sun sinks beneath the ocean.

Robert Taylor never married when he died in May 1744 Prospect House, together with its estate, went to his eldest brother, Thomas the Second Baronet of Headfort.

Fingal County Council purchased Ardgillan Demesne and it is now managed by Fingal Council

 
To explore the Taylor family history visit this page on Balbrigan.net