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County Kildare History and Heritage

Celbridge Abbey, County Kildare

Celbridge Abbey was built by Bartholomew Van Homrigh, Lord Mayor of Dublin, in 1697. It was his daughter, Esther Van Homrigh who has been immortalised as ‘Vanessa’ by Jonathan Swift, who came regularly from his deanery to visit her.

Photo of Celbridge Abbey

An annual seminar is still held at the Abbey, at which matters concerning Swift are discussed. Chief Justice Marlay bought Celbridge Abbey in 1723. It was his son, the bishop of Waterford, who gave the abbey its present Gothic character. Also, his grandson, Henry Grattan, famous orator and parliamentarian lived here for a time. The Rock Bridge, situated in the grounds of Celbridge Abbey, is reputed to be the oldest remaining stone bridge that crosses the River Liffey.