DiCamillo Companion

St. Anne's (Thornhill)

  • Earlier Houses: An earlier Georgian house, Thornhill, was pulled down circa 1850 by Benjamin Guinness to make way for St. Anne's.

    Built / Designed For: Sir Benjamin Guinness

    House & Family History: Millard of Dublin built an Italianate house for Sir Benjamin Guinness, head of the Guinness brewery, post 1850, replacing an earlier Georgian house called Thornhill. Sir Benjamin's son, Arthur, 1st and last Lord Ardilaun, supervised the doubling in size of St. Anne's, circa 1880. The architects James Franklin Fuller and George Ashlin provided the plans for Lord Ardilaun, the exterior being clad in Portland and Bath stone transported from England. St. Anne's had very grand Beaux-Arts style interiors: the Ballroom had a gallery supported by Ionic columns made of different colors of Irish marble; the double staircase was of marble in the Renaissance style; the Drawing Room had a coved ceiling with ornate plasterwork and an organ in the apse. After the death of Lady Ardilaun in 1925, the Estate was inherited by The Most Rev. Hon. Benjamin Plunket, the former bishop of Meath, nephew of Lady Ardilaun's husband. In 1939 the Dublin Corporation purchased St. Anne's; in 1943 it was partially gutted by fire while being used as an ARP store. The House stood derelict until it was completely demolished in 1968. James Joyce considered Lord Ardilaun to be a prime example of Irish Victorian conventional respectability and includes several references to him in "Ulysses."

    Comments: Mark Bence-Jones, in his book "A Guide to Irish Country Houses," says of St. Anne's: "The most palatial house to be built in Ireland during the second half of the 19th century."

  • Garden & Outbuildings: The grounds contained a lakeside temple and an alley lined with statues.

  • Architect: Millard of Dublin

    Date: Post 1850
    Designed: House

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    Architect: James Franklin Fuller

    Date: Circa 1880
    Designed: Rebuilt House for Lord Ardilaun

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    Architect: George Ashlin

    Date: Post 1880
    Designed: Completed rebuilding of House for Lord Ardilaun

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  • Title: Guide to Irish Country Houses, A
    Author: Bence-Jones, Mark
    Year Published: 1988
    Publisher: London: Constable and Company
    ISBN: 0094699909
    Book Type: Hardback

  • House Listed: Demolished

    Park Listed: Destroyed

  • Past Seat / Home of: Sir Benjamin Guinness, 1st Bt. 19th century; Arthur Edward Guinness, 1st Baron Ardilaun, and 2nd Bt., late 19th century. The Most Rev. Hon. Benjamin Plunket, 1925-39

    Current Ownership Type: Demolished

    Primary Current Ownership Use: Demolished

  • House Open to Public: No

    Historic Houses Member: No


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