Minister Seán Canney receives donation to the State of historic Castletown House documentation.

15 December 16

The Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Flood Relief, Seán Canney, today (15th December 2016) accepted the donation of a collection of historic legal papers to the State.

The papers are associated with the history of Castletown House, Celbridge, Co. Kildare and the Conolly family of that house.

The Minister thanked the three finders of the papers, who have preserved them for forty years and who donated them to the State when their significance became clear.  The Minister said “I would like to thank Richard Gorman, Robert Maharry and Ruary Ó’Síocháin for their very generous donation to the State.  The papers will be conserved and returned to their home in Castletown House adding to our knowledge of that wonderful place.

The Minister referred to the importance of Castletown House, to the architectural heritage of the State and to the local economy and amenities of North Kildare.  He detailed the new initiatives currently being undertaken to add to the facilities of the Castletown Estate to enhance the visitor experience.  He outlined the importance of these papers in the ongoing work of research being carried out by the OPW on the history of the Estate and the Conolly family.

After conservation, it is the intention of the OPW to house the collection in Castletown for the benefit of historians and also to exhibit some of the documents to the public.

For further information please contact Ciaran Conroy, OPW Press Office at


Photography from the event will be available afterwards from Leon Farrell from Photocall (

Notes for Editors:

Some forty years ago three young men, Richard Gorman, Robert Maharry and Ruary Ó’Síocháin were walking in Fitzwilliam Square when they discovered in a skip, an old metal footlocker filled with a huge collection of legal documents associated with the Conolly family of Castletown. The name painted on the footlocker was that of Captain Edward Michael Conolly R.A. The papers lay in an attic for decades and their historical significance was not known. When, many years later Mr. Gorman, came into contact with Castletown House, he realised that the spelling of the name Conolly was the same as that of the Conollys of Castletown. The original metal box was brought into Dublin Castle in December of 2015 and given over to the charge of National Historic Properties, within the Office of Public Works. The collection was then catalogued and among the ancient leases, licences and tenancies were discovered some very fine royal letters patent together with wax seals, some wills and codicils of members of the Conolly family and some interesting maps.  Some of these documents date back to the sixteenth century and will be of great interest to scholars and researchers on the history of Castletown.