Looking for something a little different to photograph, then check out the Wonderful Barn in Leixlip. Built in 1743, this corkscrew barn was commissioned by Katherine Conolly on the family’s Castletown House Estate following the famine of 1740-1741. It’s purpose was to provide employment for the poor as part of a famine relief scheme and to store grain should there be future food shortages.
The Castletown Estate is now maintained and run by the OPW but does not seem to include the poor old barn, which is now separated from the rest of the estate by the motorway. It’s a shame as this is such a unique and unusual building and should really be a celebrated local landmark. So while it’s located just off the M4 and is pretty easy to get to, there are no signposts or markings for it, making it a little tricky to spot the entrance!
Access to the Wonderful Barn is via a gated entrance for allotments from Celbridge Road. Oh and we learned the hard way that it’s pedestrian access only! Someone visiting the allotments had left the gate open, which is apparently a no-no and meant we couldn’t see the sign saying there was no entry for unauthorised vehicles. So we drove on in and stayed there shooting till after sunset. Then we got a nice surprise when we tried to leave and found that the gate was now locked and we were stuck inside the grounds with no idea who to contact to get out!
Thankfully we bumped into a lovely local guy walking his dog and he managed to get us in touch with someone who had a key, so we had a lucky escape. There is plenty of parking available in the nearby housing estates so don’t risk getting your car stuck for the night!