Farmleigh was once a home of the Guinness family. It was bought by Edward Cecil Guinness in 1873. The Irish Government bought the house in 1999 as a guesthouse for important state visitors.
This video is designed as a resource for primary and post-primary students up to Junior Certificate.
We’re not really sure when Farmleigh was built; no one wrote it down, you see, but it would have been in the late 1800s. We do know, however, that in 1873 Edward Cecil Guinness bought the house. He had just married his cousin, Adelaide Guinness. Edward had a very famous granddad – Arthur Guinness. Arthur was the man who started the Guinness Brewery, the place where Guinness beer is made.
In 1873, Farmleigh was a small Georgian house. This means that it had a style famous at the time of the reign of the four kings of England called “George”.
The Guinness family actually thought it was too small so they built a conservatory for the plants and a ballroom for the dancers.
It seems the Guinness family liked reading, as Farmleigh has a rather large library. The books are shelved all along the walls right up to the ceiling. There is also a ladder just in case you are not tall enough to reach the top shelf.
In the 1970s one member of the Guinness family, Benjamin Guinness, was terrified of being kidnapped as a lot of wealthy families were robbed at that time. Benjamin put a clever plan into action. He had steps built which led down to an underground vault as an escape route just in case a kidnapper decided to visit. The room had a telephone so Benjamin and his family could ring for help.
In 1999 the government bought the house as a guesthouse for important state visitors. Since then many kings, queens, emperors and politicians have stayed at Farmleigh. In 2005, for example, the Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko of Japan visited Farmleigh.
When there are no visitors in Farmleigh, the people of Dublin can go and see the house or go to one of the many events which take place there and which are open to everybody.