DiCamillo Companion

Knockdrin Castle (High Park)

  • Earlier Houses: The current house replaced a Norman castle that was destroyed by fire in the late 18th century.

    Built / Designed For: Sir Richard Levinge

    House & Family History: Knockdrin is a castellated house that replaced a Norman castle that was destroyed by fire in the late 18th century. The new House was then redesigned and enlarged in the Gothic Revival style, circa 1830, by James Shiel for Sir Richard Levinge, 6th Bt., and lord lieutenant of Westmeath. The first Sir Richard Levinge was lord chief justice of Ireland and a member of the lords commissioners, who were appointed by the crown to settle all the land questions which had arisen in Ireland after the Cromwellian Conquest, the Restoration, and the Williamite Wars. Sir Richard purchased the Knockdrin Estate from the Tuites, a Norman-Irish family (the Levinge family came to Ireland with the Williamites in the late 17th century). During the late 19th and early 20th centuries Lord Randolph and Lady Churchill were frequent visitors to Knockdrin. During the Emergency (World War II), the House was taken over for troop accommodation and was occupied by a company of the 6th (Dublin) Infantry of the Irish Army. The Army left in 1945 and returned the House to the Levinge family, who sold up in 1946 to Paddy Dunne-Cullinan, who made the House his seat until 1961, when he sold the Estate to a German couple, Hans and Irene von Prondzynski. Until the mid-19th century Knockdrin was known as High Park; the property was renamed Knockdrin after a hill on the Estate.

    Collections: A pair of George III Irish giltwood girandoles, circa 1780, likely made for Sir Charles Levinge, 5th Bt., of Knockdrin, sold at Christie's at the Glin Castle sale of May 7, 2009 for £20,000, against an estimate of £15,000-25,000.

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The Estate ran to 12,000 acres when the Levinge family purchased it from the Tuites in the late 17th century; today the Estate encompasses 1,000 acres, laid out as a hunting ground (the arable land is leased).

  • Architect: James Shiel

    Date: Circa 1830
    Designed: Enlarged House in Gothic Revival style for Sir Richard Levinge, 6th Bt.

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  • John Bernard (J.B.) Burke, published under the title of A Visitation of the Seats and Arms of the Noblemen and Gentlemen of Great Britain and Ireland, among other titles: 2.S. Vol. II, p. 163, 1855.

  • Title: Christie's Auction Catalog: Glin Castle: A Knight in Ireland, May 7, 2009
    Author: NA
    Year Published: 2009
    Reference: pg. 65
    Publisher: London: Christie's
    ISBN: NA
    Book Type: Softback

  • House Listed: Unknown

    Park Listed: Unknown

  • Current Seat / Home of: Ferdinand von Prondzynski

    Past Seat / Home of: Tuites family, until 18th century. Sir Richard Levinge, 18th century; Levinge family here until 1946. Paddy Dunne-Cullinan, 1946-61.

    Current Ownership Type: Individual / Family Trust

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Private Home

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No


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