Abandoned ireland


Donadea Castle,


Documenting our Heritage

Many thanks to Ger McCarthy, Chairman of the County Kildare Federation of Local History Groups for his help with Donadea. Ger has been researching and photograph Irish Country Houses for more than thirty years and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject.

In 1356 John De Birmingham held the manor of Donadea until his son was accused of treason.

The lands were then confiscated by Richard II and granted to the earls of Ormond. The Ormonds in turn granted the lands to the Aylmers of Lyons in 1597.

Donadea Castle was then home to the Aylmer Family until 1935.

The original Tower was built by Sir Gerald Aylmer in 1624. Gerald Aylmer had been knighted in 1605 and became a Baronet in 1621.

The castle was extensively damaged in the 1641 rebellion, then rebuilt in 1773, and gothicised in 1827 by the architect Sir Richard Morrison.

By the mid 1800s the Donadea estates were one of the largest in Co. Kildare, amounting to almost 16,000 acres. It was around this time that extensive development occurred in the grounds surrounding the castle. The works included the construction of a stone wall surrounding almost 600 acres, the development of an artificial lake, a massive programme of tree planting within the demesne and the realignment of existing roads.

Wings were further added to the castle in the 1830s.

Caroline Maria Aylmer, who was the daughter of Sir Gerald George Aylmer the 9th Baronet, was the last Aylmer to live at Donadea.

Caroline Aylmer died on 13 May 1935 leaving the estate to the Church of Ireland, who in turn passed it on to the Irish state. The castle remained unoccupied and was de-roofed in the late 50's.

In 1981 Paddy Power T.D. for Kildare and Minister for Fisheries and Forestry opened Donadea Demesne to the public.

Donadea Forest Park: