​Oakley Park

Oakley Park, formerly Celbridge House, was built in 1724 by Arthur Price when he was vicar of Celbridge. The house is thought to have been designed by the architect Thomas Burgh.

Arthur Price, educated at Trinity College and at one time the college vice-chancellor, was a Bishop of Ferns and four years later became Bishop of Meath. It was while he was Bishop of Meath that he began building Ardbraccan house at Navan as a residence for the Bishop of Meath. While Ardbraccan was under construction, Dr. Arthur Price was made Archbishop of Cashel. Dr. Price’s steward at Oakley Park was Richard Guinness, who was acclaimed for his brewing talents. It was Richard’s son, Arthur, who went on to establish the infamous Guinness Brewery in Dublin.

In 1787, Oakley Park became home to George and Lady Sarah Napier. Lady Saragh’s sisters established connections with some of the more wealthy families in Co. Kildare. Louisa married Thomas Connolly of the Castletown Connollys. Emily married James Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, who also became the first Duke of Leinster.

Their son was Lord Edward FitzGerald, one of the leaders of the 1798 rebellion. In 1840 Oakley Park was sold to the Maunsell family. The house changed ownership many times and fell into disrepair. In 1935, Oakley Park was purchased by the Guiney family, then sold to the Christian Brothers, who planned to open a school there. However, their plan did not come to fruition. In the 1950’s Oakley Park once more changed hands. It’s new owners were the St. John of God brothers, who are still there today. Oakley Park forms part of the St. Raphael complex training centre for mentally handicapped children and young adults.

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