A Brief History

In 1534, Henry VIII sent Sir William Brabazon of Leicester to Ireland to serve as Vice-Treasurer. Later in 1539, Sir William secured ownership of the Abbey of St. Thomas, which stood between present day Thomas Street and the River Liffey in Dublin. Conflicting reports state that Killruddery was not granted to the Brabazon family until 1618 but it is surely of relevance that the monastic lands of St. Thomas’s included the lands of Kilrotheri (or Killruddery), being the Little Sugar Loaf, Bray Head and the valley running between them.

Sir William’s grandson Edward was created the 1st Baron of Ardee. He passed away aged 76 on 7th August 1625 and his son, William, was 45 years old when he succeeded as 2nd Baron. On the 16th April 1627, he was created the 1st Earl of Meath.

The 2nd Earl of Meath built a house at Killruddery to replace one burned six years earlier. An illustration from about 1680 shows a building of five bays facing east. In 1666, the 2nd Earl increased the estate with the addition of “the section of Great Bray between Main Street and the sea and between the river and Main Street”.

The gardens at Killruddery are of outstanding importance as they are among the very few remaining 17th Century gardens in these islands. The gardens were used for the entertainment of a large number of guests and therefore the scale is comparable to that of a park.