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Howth Castle – An 800 year era comes under the hammer

With Howth Castle, and the Deerpark Estate already sold to Tetrarch, the hammer finally came down in September 2021 on the contents, historical artefacts etc., that have graced this extraordinary property over so many centuries.

This Sale described by Auctioneer George Fonsie, of Fonsie Mealy, Fine Art and Rare Book Auctioneers from Castlecomer, Co. Kilkenny, as ‘a once in a lifetime occasion’. Not since the sales in Malahide Castle, Luttrellstown Castle, in Dublin or Adare Manor in Limerick in the 1980’s has such an extensive, genuine and interesting collection come for sale by public auction.

The Gaisford-St Lawrence family and their various family members have been custodians of the property for almost 800 years. During that time they accumulated one of the finest and varied collections ever to be offered for public sale.

Included were family portraits, and other paintings, carpets, rugs and tapestries, family silver, English and Oriental porcelain, remarkable furniture, in oak walnut, mahogany and rare items of giltwood furnishings. Items brought back from the Grand Tour, unusual curiosities, objet d’art, jewellery and a remarkable collection of military costumes, swords, and other militaria, together with the renowned Dean Gaisford Classic Library, also containing many rarities of Irish Interest.

The property was disposed of over 4 days, with two separate catalogues, the General Sale with approx. 980 lots, and the specialised Book Sale, ran to almost 1100 lots. The national and international interest was way beyond expectation.

The key items such as the Sword of Howth, the Grainne Mhaol allegorical depiction of the young Lord Howth being kidnapped by Grainne Mhaol, the Jonathan Swift Portrait and the Bird’s Eye View of the Howth Castle Demesne, were all acquired by the State, quoted George Fonsie.

The auction of these artefacts and items brings the curtain down on an enviable and grand history between the Gaisford-St Lawrence family and Howth, the area and its people. Throughout the ages, the family has been at the heart of the community and the generous gates at the front of the estate, forever open, epitomised the closeness of the family to the community.

We wish Julian, Christopher and the Gaisford-St Lawrence family well, knowing that they will be remembered fondly for their generous spirit and their role as curators of a unique history and members of the community.

We hope the next chapter will be as memorable.

Will keep you posted @JustLocal.

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