Russborough House is a stately house is located near the Blessington Lakes in County Wicklow, Ireland, between the towns of Blessington and Ballymore Eustace and is said to be the longest house in Ireland, with a facade measuring 210 m / 700 ft. It is an example of Palladian architecture, designed by Richard Cassels for Joseph Leeson, 1st Earl of Milltownoch built between 1741 and 1755. The interior of the house contains some ornate plasterwork on the ceilings of the Lafranchini brothers, who also collaborated with Cassels on Carton House.


The Leeson family has its origin in Northamptonshire and had moved to Ireland in the second half of the 17th century. A sizable fortune made in brewing and property in Dublin on to Joseph Leeson, who bought the land at the former Russell Town. He became an MP and was made Earl of Milltown 1763. [1]

Russborough House was designed for Joseph Leeson Richard Cassels and was built between 1741 and 1755. It remained in the possession of the Earl of Milltown until the sixth jarlen.På death of his widow in 1914 it passed to a nephew, Edmund Turton, who rarely stopped. In Turton’s death in 1929, his widow sold the house to the Captain Denis Bowes Daly, 1931. Sir Alfred and Lady Beit bought Russborough in 1952 from Captain Daly to house his art collection and in 1976 established Alfred Beit Foundation to administer egendomen.Stiftelsen opened the historic mansion and its collections to the Irish public in 1978. Beit died in 1994, but the Lady Beit remain in the home for his own death in 2005. [1]

On 7 February 2010, a fire severely damaged the west wing and caused part of the roof to collapse. No art was damaged, deleted, along with furniture to allow for restoration of the west wing. Initial investigations of the damage suggested an electrical fault from the pipes in the ceiling may have triggered the fire. [2]

In recent years, locally advertised Farmers Markets have been held on a regular basis in the grounds of the house.

Art Collections

Russborough has housed two art collections, begun with the Milltown estate, whose collection was donated to the National Gallery of Ireland by the widow of the sixth Earl.

Sir Alfred Beit bought the house in 1952, where he housed his own family collection of the works of many great artists, including Goya, Vermeer, Peter Paul Rubens and Thomas Gainsborough. This collection then stolen four times: in 1974 by an IRA gang, including British heiress Rose Dugdale, [3] in 1986 by Martin Cahill (nicknamed “The General”); 2001 and 2002 by Martin Cahill associate Martin Foley. Two paintings, Gainsborough’s Madame Bacelli and Vermeer’s Lady writing a letter with her Maid , the latter is probably the most valuable painting in the collection, were stolen twice of theft, even though each subsequently recovered (the latter in 1993, the same year as the recovery of Goya portrait of Dona Antonia Zarate [4] ). Beit collection has donated many of his works to the State but significant proportion of the paintings have been returned and made available for viewing by the owners, Alfred Beit Foundation. Other paintings have returned four Joseph Vernet paintings titled “Morning”, “Midday”, “Sunset” and “Night’- these actually painted Russborough in the 1750s and had stayed in the house for most of the last 260 years .

popular culture

Russborough House was used as a setting in the 2011 movie Haywire .

Russborough House was used as a setting in the 2016 film Love & Friendship , directed by Whit Stillman. [5]

It was featured in Travel Channel mysteries of the castle , retells the story of the 1974 art robbery.

See also

  • Palladian architecture
  • Blessington
  • Poulaphouca Reservoir


  1. ^ Jump up to: ab “Russborough County Wicklow CONSERVATION PLAN” (PDF). Pulled 12/18/2012.
  2. Jump up ^ Russborough House damaged in the fire, the Irish Times,February 8, 2010. Taken presented on 26 August 2010.
  3. Jump up ^ “No regrets for renegade IRA art robbers Rose Dugdale”. Irish Independent.
  4. Jump up ^ Dolnick, Edward. “How Ireland regained its Vermeer”. The Times , 31 July 2005. Retrieved on 24 May 2009.
  5. Jump up ^ . McGrath, Meadhbh (27 May 2016) “” I loved places, they were perfect for us “- the director Whit Stillman talks filming Love & Friendship in Ireland”. Irish Independent. Retrieved July 15, 2016.