Farmleigh House is a historic Irish estate which now serves as a State Guest House. Formerly, it is one of the many residences of Guinness family. The house is located towards the north-west of Phoenix Park, above the River Liffey. The estate is made of 78 acres of land. All the land is in the form of extensive and vast private gardens with collections of oaks, pines and other varieties of trees. Other amenities and features include a sunken garden, a walled garden and a pond for boating and relaxation. To give the gardens the feeling that they have been inhabited, a herd of cattle is also kept there.
Farmleigh House is a symbol of the grandeur of Irish aristocracy and the marvels the built in the centuries past. It takes a lot of capital and investment to sustain such an elaborate and vast tourist attraction. The government of Ireland continues to do that and the residents of Dublin as well as tourists are grateful for that.
There are many reasons why a visit to the Farmleigh House is necessary to be counted among the things to do in Dublin. Farmleigh House keeps surprising kids and all the family by amazing free events and activities and is one of the Top 10 Venues in Dublin for free events.
A Brief History of Farmleigh House
Farmleigh used to be a small Georgian House, but it was Edward Guinness who purchased the house in 1873. He married his cousin Adelaide and inhabited the house. They lived there for many generations. Edward’s great-grandson Arthur Guinness who became Baron Iveagh and then Earl of Iveagh in 1919. Major and extensive renovations of the house were done.
The house was extended to a third floor, new extension was added towards the west and the grounds were prepared and transformed into gardens. It was the Irish Architect James Franklin Fuller who was hired by the Guinness family to plan and design the renovations. Since it was Edward Guinness who commissioned all the renovations and the establishment, tourists gain a deeper insight into his character than the rest of his family and descendants.
Most of the renovations were commissioned between 1881 and 1884, but some extra features like the ball room were added as late as 1896.
The library is an asset on its own because it contained some of the earliest books of Irish printing. The library is on loan to the state. The library is where the Benjamin Iveagh collection of books and manuscripts has been kept. Much of the contents of this collection are treasured and revered rarities.
The 4th Earl of Iveagh sold the estate to the State on 1999 for a price of 29.2 million euros. An additional 23 million euros was spent of refurbishments to deem it worthy for state use. Since its acquisition by the State, many dignitaries and prominent figures have stayed in this house. They include the Chinese Prime Minister, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Tony Blair and also the Governor General of New Zealand. The house has also been graced with a stay by the Queen Elizabeth. The estate is growing in its popularity and public recognition every year. In 2009 along, 246,000 people visited the estate. The number keep growing every year. New renovations are being made continuously. It was announced as recently as 2006 that the Stewart’s Lodge is being renovated. This lodge is often used by the Taoiseach and many others before him as an occasional retreat.
Farmleigh House Tours
There are guided Farmleigh House tours every day. Tours run every hour from 10.00 to 17.30 and last about 45 minutes. Each tour is limited to 25 people. Last admission to Farmleigh House is @ 16.30. Photography and Video is not allowed. Special Farmleigh House tours can be arranged by appointment with the Librarian only. Please contact the Librarian on +353 (1) 815 5908 for more details.
Guided Harmleigh Tour Admissions Charges 2018:
Adult: €8.00 Senior (60+)/Group (20+ Adults/Seniors): €6.00 Child (12-17)/Student (ID required): €4.00 Child under 12: Free Family (Two adults, max five children): €20.00
Administration of Farmleigh
The Farmleigh House is currently being operated by OPW. Much of the estate and the gardens are made open to the public. The house is off limits for the tourists except for guided tours which are frequently conducted through the residence. The estate has maintained to remain alive because the OPW frequently hosts events like farmers markets, food markets craft displays and even art exhibits. The Farmleigh Gallery is frequently open for fashion shows by designers from all over the world. Art exhibitions are also organized. If you happen to be in Dublin during such an exhibition, consider it your lucky day!
The pleasure gardens are packed with things to do. There are scenic and calming walks during which you can enjoy the fresh open air. Victorian and Edwardian era ornamental figures and statues are scattered all over the grounds. There are all types of gardens and botanical displays to mesmerize anyone who has an interest in botany and agriculture. If you are that man, then a visit to the Farmleigh House must be on your list of things to do in Dublin. The working and self-sustained farm adds a touch of originality and organicity to the entire establishment. There is so much to see and do that it is very easy to spend an entire day exploring the area. One of the best and public favorite features of the house is the beautiful sunsets that you get to see from the pond-side restaurant and many other locations across the estate.
Facilities at Farmleigh
Though the Farmleigh Estate is the house where dignitaries stay on their visit to Dublin, it is on other days open to public. Public guided tours are available which will take the tourists across the gardens and through the residence. There is a Boathouse restaurant along the ornamental lake which caters to the public and it is a very romantic and scenic location to have a meal.