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Heritage Ireland

Farmleigh House

Enjoy the unique sense of history in the beautiful library of Farmleigh House, once home to the famous Irish brewing family – the Guinnesses.

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Private Guided Tour


A historic house holding important collections, an art gallery, a working farm, and the official Irish State guesthouse, Farmleigh House and Estate, located in an estate of seventy-eight acres situated to the northwest of Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Farmleigh provides accommodation for visiting dignitaries and guests of the nation, most notably: Queen Elizabeth II is 2011, Emperor of Japan in 2005, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, in 2020.

Built by the famous Guinness brewing family, Farmleigh remains a unique representation of its heyday, the Edwardian period, and houses important artworks and furnishings, as well as the Benjamin Iveagh collection of rare books, bindings, and manuscripts, which is held in the Library. The collection is owned by Marsh’s Library and the collection was donated to Marsh’s Library in 2009 by the Guinness family.

The extensive pleasure grounds feature walled and sunken gardens and scenic lakeside walks.

The library is bathed in golden light from the candelabras on the ceiling. Books line the room over two floors, the second floor is a balcony level overlooking the lower which is furnished with two black leather sofas.

Farmleigh Librarian

Nuala Canny, OPW Librarian Bio:
BA in History and English (UCD), Masters in Library and Information Studies(UCD). 30 years experience as a librarian. Worked in the Law Society Library, Irish Management Institute, A&L Goodbody Solicitors and Portobello College before joining OPW main library in 2003, based in St Stephen’s Green and was assigned to Benjamin Iveagh Library 5 years ago. Took over collections management in Farmleigh 4 years ago. She also oversees the Cholmeley Harrison Archive and Library in Emo Court.

Luxury Experience

Meet the Librarian and explore the collection of Benjamin Guinness

Enjoy the unique sense of history in the beautiful library of Farmleigh House, once home to the famous Irish brewing family – the Guinnesses.

Soak up the smell of leather and old books while our expert librarian guides you through the world-class collection of rare manuscripts and books. Gain insight into the binding process that created these beautiful books.

The Benjamin Iveagh Library was amassed by Benjamin Guinness (1937-1992), 3rd Earl of Iveagh, a keen and astute collector of rare books, manuscripts and fine bindings. The collection amounts to more than 5,000 items and includes mostly rare Irish books and manuscripts. Among the historical manuscripts in the collection is a 13th century description of Ireland, an Irish-language primer prepared for Queen Elizabeth I. All major Irish writers are represented in the collection, including James Joyce, Seamus Heaney, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift, and includes first editions of Ulysses and Gulliver’s Travels.

A particular strength of the collection is in fine Irish bindings from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Together with a large number of ‘Livres d’Art’ – books with beautiful illustrations by famous artists. This collection is as truly beautiful as it is educational and entertaining.


  • Introduction to Farmleigh – 15 minutes
  • Private Library Experience – 45 minutes with OPW Librarian Nuala Canny.
  • Exclusive introduction to the Farmleigh House and the world-famous Benjamin Iveagh Collection.
  • Let Nuala know in advance if you are interested in a particular writer or period in history and she can select an appropriate manuscript for you to view
  • Drop off and collection at the main door of Farmleigh House.

Supplementary Options:

  • Full private guided tour (including Presidential Suite and other floors), exclusive access to important Irish art. (45 – 60 minutes)
  • Library and house tours are suitable for children aged 10 years and above.
Group size: Min. 1 – Max. 10
Duration: 60 to 90 minutes
Mobility: Universal Access. Library Experience is on ground floor of house. Ramp at front of house south side of house. Drop off and collect to front of house for Unique Experience visitors.o universal access. Thccess to the Ground Floor only.
Pricing: 1 person €200, 1-3 €150 per person, 4-10 €100 per person. Suitable for children from 10 years, €50 per child.

Booking Conditions

Booking Conditions: All enquiries to be made via Maria O’Hanlon,
Bookings must be confirmed by email 2 weeks in advance. Availability Mondays to Fridays and some weekends April to December.
Payment: Payment must be made directly to OPW on the day or by invoice for those who are part of the OPW Tour Operators Voucher Scheme.
Availability: 1st April – 11th December approx.
Languages: English only.
Facilities on site: Exhibitions, toilets, disabled toilet, coach
park, gardens.
Access & Parking: Farmleigh is accessed via the Phoenix Park, Dublin. Drop off and collection at front door of Farmleigh House for Unique Experience visitors.
Nearby: Dublin City Centre, Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park Visitor Centre and Walled Victorian Gardens, Kilmainham Gaol, Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Castletown House, Dublin Castle.

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