Crowning Glory

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One of the doors on the north façade of the Market House in Athy, County Kildare. This building is often said to date from the 1730s or early 1740s but may be slightly later since it seems to have been one of the improvements to the town undertaken by its then-owner James FitzGerald, 20th Earl of Kildare (and created first Duke of Leinster in 1766) who only succeeded to his title and family estates, in 1744. Moreover the Market House occupies one end of Emily Square, named after his wife, Lady Emily Lennox, who he married in 1747. As was so often the case, the building had more than one purpose since it also served as courthouse, hence the carved plaque above the door which shows the British crown occupying a position between the scales of justice and resting on a base containing a pike and a sword. Its pair above another door on the same side of the building features a similar design but this time the centre is filled with the harp of Ireland and without any weaponry. Sold by the FitzGeralds to Kildare County Council in 1975 for £9,000, the old Market House is now Athy’s Heritage Centre and Museum.

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One comment on “Crowning Glory

  1. rowingguy says:

    Fascinating read Robert and the Athy Heritage Centre is well worth visiting. I hope it’s ok to share my recent review from TripAdvisor:

    https://www.tripadvisor.ie/ShowUserReviews-g551553-d3161427-r349147163-Athy_Heritage_Centre_Museum-Athy_County_Kildare.html#REVIEWS

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