The Wonderful Barn is a corkscrew-shaped barn located on the edge of Castletown House Estate of the Conolly family, on the borders of Leixlip and Celbridge, in Ireland. Commissioned by Katherine Conolly, widow of William ‘Speaker’ Conolly of the Castletown Estate, the barn was built as part of a famine-relief project, and was intended to serve both as a functioning grain barn and as an English garden-type folly. The barn was built in the years immediately following the famine of 1740-41 as there was a need for new grain stores in case of another famine. The Irish famine of 1740-41 killed approximately 38% of the Irish population. Rising to a height of 21 meters, the conical-shaped barn is not only a prominent feature in the rural landscape, but considered a technical and engineering achievement for the period in which it was built.
The Wonderful Barn has a stone staircase that winds around the outside leading to the top. Inside each floor has a hole in the centre allowing the grain to be passed through. Two smaller structures of a similar design, used as dovecotes stand behind the main barn structure.
The Wonderful Barn inspired the building of a similar structure known as the Bottle Tower in Churchtown, Dublin close to Rathfarnham. Unlike the Wonderful Barn, however, the Bottle Tower is in ruins with floors and other timber work long disappeared and the winding stone steps are not considered safe to ascend, making the Wonderful Barn the only surviving building of this kind in Ireland.
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