Russborough was built between 1741-1750 and is regarded as one of Ireland’s most beautiful houses. It has magnificent views of the Blessington Lakes and Wicklow Mountains .
In 1978 Sir Alfred Beit opened the house for guided tours and there have been over 1 million visitors since. The house which is beautifully maintained and lavishly furnished contains fine furniture, tapestries, carpets, porcelain, silver and much of the Beit collection of paintings. It also has beautiful ceilings, plaster work and a fine mahogany staircase.
From Easter 2011 there is a new extensive self guided exhibition which includes interactive touch screens, audio listening handsets, cinema projections and films in the original cinema. Special features are wonderful 3D photographs and 2D films from the 1920s and 1930s taken by Sir Alfred Beit on his world travels. A selection of his extensive vinyl record and sheet music collections from the 1920s are also on display. Part of the exhibition is devoted to the 6 Earls of Milltown who each lived at Russborough plus local history stories about Poulaphouca Reservoir and the Blessington Tramway.
A parkland walk with magnificent views of the house takes about half an hour. In addition a 20,000 sq. feet head high Beech hedge Maze is very popular with children and adults alike. There is also a 150 year old ‘Hippodrome’ building used for training horses in past centuries. A number of craft workshops are open at various times including a blacksmith with working forge and a weaver with working looms. Also a wood turner and a silversmith show how these ancient crafts are still undertaken today.
The Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland’s garden in Russborough’s 18th century walled garden is being restored by volunteers managed by the RHSI. This long term project includes reinstating the garden paths to their original layout; repairing the surrounding brick and stone walls using traditional building techniques, and restoring the curvilinear glasshouse. Hornbeam hedges have been planted already in anticipation of the development of individual gardens designed to demonstrate a variety of garden styles and techniques. In the summer months, the reinstated garden area is a riot of colour and productivity, with surplus flowers, fruit and vegetables offered for sale at the garden entrance. See www.rhsi.ie for opening times and about volunteering.
The Kitchen Garden Cafe is available for snacks and light lunches and a souvenir shop is also on site. Disabled access , toilets & free parking. See www.russborough.ie for more information.
Russborough House is one of Ireland’s Ancient East top attractions