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Newbridge House is a fine unchanged Georgian house (1752) set in a 360 acre demesne. The house contains most of the original furniture. There is a fine Red Drawing Room, a Museum of Curiosities, and ornate plasterwork. Newbridge House remained in the hands of the Cobbe Family until 1985 when it was purchased by Dublin County Council.
Newbridge is noted for its unique collection of Irish furniture, the Cobbe Collection of Old Master portraits and landscapes as well as family pictures, all of which can be seen on the tour.
Situated in 365 acres of complete Georgian Parkland, Newbridge House was home to the Cobbe family for over 270 years. In 1717 Charles Cobbe (1686-1765) came to Ireland, the first member of the family to do so. Cobbe was born and educated at Winchester before joining the clergy. In Ireland, his ecclesiastical career was successful. He became Bishop of Kildare, then Dean of Christchurch and finally Archbishop of Dublin.
He commissioned James Gibbs, to design a plan for the rebuilding of Newbridge House. The old Stuart house on site was replaced by the handsome Summer Villa which stands today. Begun in 1742, the building lasted five years and was overseen by the Irish architect George Semple. The Archbishop’s second son, Thomas, extended and refurbished the house, leaving a significant mark on Newbridge.
In 1985 the family sold the premises and entered into a rare agreement with Dublin County Council whereby the family would leave its original furniture in situ, in order to retain the top floor as a holiday home, while the demesne would be cared for by the Council. This agreement is not known to exist anywhere else in the Republic of Ireland.
The Cabinet of Curiosities or Ark is the Cobbe family museum which dates back to the 1760’s. It was started by Thomas and Lady Betty who had a taste for the exotica, collecting shells and coral. The original display cases, which were relocated to the UK many years ago, are probably the earliest complete museum furniture to survive in Britain and Ireland. The display cases in Newbridge House are replicas of these originals. Ostrich eggs from 1756, fossils, Chinese exhibits, taxidermy and Captain Cook memorabilia are among the chattels on display in the museum and are all original to the period.
The Red Drawing Room houses a selection of paintings from the Cobbe Collection. Master paintings including Italian Portraits and Dutch landscapes. From this collection sprang two previously unidentified portraits, one of which has since been established as the most authentic portrait of Shakespeare taken from life.
Also on this site is an 18th Century working farm with a courtyard, extensive buildings, and pastures.
October 1st to March 31st –
Guided house tours at 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 2.00 pm and 3.00 pm from Tuesday to Sunday. Closed on Mondays.
April 1st to September 30th –
Guided house tours at 10.00 am, 11.00 am, 12.00 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm daily
Tours may be unavailable in Oct and Dec due to Halloween/Christmas events – phone to double check.
Closed December 24-January 3.
Newbridge House & Farm, Hearse Road, Donabate, Co. Dublin.
Tel: 01 843 6534.
Farm & House – Adults €12; concessions. Farm only – Adults €8.50; concessions.