History and Heritage of County Kildare

Jigginstown or Sigginstown House as it was also known and one of Kildare’s most prominent ruins, was constructed under the guidance of Thomas Wentworth. Wentworth was Earl of Strafford and was Lord Lieutenant of Ireland during the reign of Charles I. Stafford had planned the building with the idea that it could be home to the king on royal visits to Ireland.

Jigginstown Castle

Jigginstown Castle Photo

Whether this would have been accepted by the king is debatable. Stafford was accused of treason by enemies in the House of Commons never lived to see if indeed he housed a king, as he was sentenced to death and died on the scaffold.

While the building of Jigginstown castle is reputed to be the work of Rev. Mr. Johnson, rector of Dromlease, in the diocese of Kilmore, Cromwell in his ‘Excursions through Ireland’ credits the construction to a member of the Allen family - most likely John Allen, who was noted for his taste in architecture.

A reasonable explanation for this conflict regarding the constructor of Jigginstown, is that Allen was responsible for the planning of the building while Johnson carried them out.

The building itself measures 448ft in length. The main entrance of the castle was the hall door which would have led out on to a balustraded platform. At the back of the house are traces of an old fish pond, a feature was contemporary to country houses of that period. Wentworth estimated that the cost of the construction of Jigginstown amounted to 6,000. There is still controversy today as to whether the building was ever really finished.

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