One of our guides, Celine Hanratty, inspired by a recent post on the Conolly’s Folly stamp set about researching stamps related to Celbridge!

Here is her list so far, please let us know if you have any to add. (Numbers relate to picture)

Number 1 is, of course, Arthur Guinness (c.1725 to 1803). There is no record of Arthur’s birth but his parents were working for Arthur Price (c.1679 – 1752) at Oakley Park at the time of Arthur’s birth. In fact Archbishop Price left Aurthur £100 in his will which allowed Arthur Guinness to set up his brewery. The first stamps were released in 1959 to honour 200 years of Guinness brewing. He was honoured with another stamp in 2009 featuring the only known painting of Arthur Guinness.

Number 2 is Conolly’s Folly or Conolly’s Obelisk, released in 1978 as part of a Europa Architecture series. The folly was built by Katherine Conolly (c. 1662-1752) the wife of William Conolly (1662-1729) who built Castletown. Katherine completed the build on the house and oversaw construction of the Wonderful Barn and The Charter School (now the Celbridge Manor Hotel) and the Conolly Mausoleum at Tea Lane cemetery. She certainly left a strong physical legacy. The obelisk was designed by the famous architect Richard Cassel whose other works include Russborough House, Leinster House, and Powerscourt House.

The Castletown Hunt stamp (3) was released as part of a Europa Paintings series in 1975. It features part of a painting by Robert Healy (1743-1771) of the Castletown Hunt. Thomas Conolly, husband of Lady Louisa Lennox is the gentleman in the centre of the stamp. Castletown has copies of 9 of Healy’s paintings for the Conolly’s, known as the Healy Prints. Lady Louisa Conolly describes how the paintings came to be produced in a letter to her sister Lady Sarah Napier on 29 February 1768: ‘there is a man in the house, who draws very good likenesses in black and white chalk, we have made him draw some of the company which is good entertainment this bad day’. This suggests that there were additional works to the surviving nine, as does the almost £172 paid to him by Tom Conolly between February 1768 and November 1769. The surviving paintings are heavily stylized but provide likenesses of the Conolly’s, their staff, friends and horses making Healy an important recorder of the dress and manners of his day. Healy died tragically young, reputedly from a cold contracted while sketching cattle in Lord Mornington’s Park. He was only 28.

Henry Grattan (1746-1821) the Irish politician is believed to have lived with his uncle Colonel Thomas Marlay at Celbridge Abbey between 1777 and 1780. Grattan’s parliament featured on a stamp (4) in 1982 to mark 200 years since its formation. The parliament gave Ireland some measure of legislative independence. Although Arthur Guinness was pro-union he was one of those who supported Grattan’s parliament. Perhaps this was because Grattan wanted to reduce the tax on beer! (13:40)

The two stamps marked (5) relate to Sir Charles Napier (1782-1853), an officer and veteran of the British Army’s Peninsular and 1812 campaigns, and later a Major General of the Bombay Army, during which period he led the military conquest of Sindh, before serving as the Governor of Sindh, and Commander-in-Chief in India. Napier was the eldest child of Sarah Napier, Lady Louisa Conolly’s sister. He was three when he arrived in Celbridge to live in Oakley Park, mentioned above. Trafalgar Square has a statue to him in the southwest corner. The monument was erected without ceremony on 26 November 1855 and paid for by means of public subscriptions, the most numerous contributors being private soldiers. The first of the stamps is from India in 1995 and commemorates the 175th anniversary of the 5th (Napier’s) Battalion, the Rajputana Rifles, the most senior rifle regiment of the Indian Army. The second is from New Zealand. The small town of Ahuriri was developed by the British in 1855. The new planned town was called Napier after Sir Charles Napier.

The last stamps (6) refer to Jonathan Swift (1667-1745). 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 to visit her. His collection of stamps is impressive! He was commemorated in Ireland in 1967 and in Romania (300th anniversary of his birth). Nevis, a Caribbean island, honoured him in 2000 as part of a 16 stamp collection entitled New Millennium – People and Events of the Eighteenth Century, 1700-1749. Kyrgystan and Moldova both released stamps to Swift in 2017, the 350th anniversary of his death. Ireland honoured him again in 2010 as part of the 2010 Europa Children’s Books series with a wonderful stamp illustrated by PJ Lynch (13:40)