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Here are some interesting facts on the history of Russborough.

  • Joseph Leeson came from Northampton in England and bought land in what was then known as Russellstown.
  • It took over 10 years to build the house, Richard Cassells was the architect.
  • The Lafranchini brothers designed the plasterwork on the ceilings, who also did similar work on Carton House, Maynooth.
  • The house remained in the possession of the Earls of Milltown until 1914 when it passed to a nephew Sir Edmund Turton.
  • In 1952 Sir Alfred and Lady Beit bought Russborough House to house their art collection. The Beits had inherited their wealth from gold and diamond mining in South Africa.
  • Their paintings included the work of the great artists – Goya, Vermeer, Rubens and Thomas Gainsborough.
  • The art collection was robbed 4 times between 1974 and 2002.
  • Some paintings were handed over to the National Art Gallery but many were later returned to Russborough.
  • Lord Milltown 6th Earl of Milltown spent much of his life improving the ground at Russborough House. He died at the age of 54 in 1890. His tomb can be seen in the grounds along with that of his wife.