Castledurrow

Castledurrow, formerly the home of the Flower family, Barons Castledurrow and Viscounts Ashbrook, was built in the early-eighteenth century when domestic architecture in Ireland was developing an independence of the need for defence and economy that had characterised earlier construction.

Historians differ on the date at which Castledurrow was begun (the suggestions range from 1712 to 1715), but the period was that in which a new Protestant aristocracy, in ascendancy after the victory of King William at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, was beginning to enjoy the lands they had inherited or had been given in the plantations that followed the Cromwellian and Williamite wars.

The need for extensive fortification had ceased (this was also the period of the Penal Laws, which suppressed both the religious and the political activities of the Catholic population), and the fashion of the age dictated that landed gentry should now separate the encumbrances of agriculture from those of class, and create elegant mansions that could not in any way be mistaken for the farmhouse-type buildings of an earlier age, even if, as in the case of Castledurrow, the farm buildings attached to the new dwelling were often built first so that the income to support the style in which it was proposed to live would not in any way be jeopardised.

And so Castledurrow was planned by Sir William Flower, a young man whose family had divided its time between their properties in Durrow and Finglas in North Dublin, with some time devoted to the fashionable areas of Dublin and London as well, since Sir William was to be created Baron Castledurrow before the final touches had been put to Castledurrow itself almost twenty years later.


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