Contents of Guinness family home go on sale at auction

Items from Furness House, Co Kildare, include family heirlooms, art and antiques

Interior of Furness House: both the house itself and its contents are for sale

Interior of Furness House: both the house itself and its contents are for sale


Patrick Guinness

Furness House, including Guinness family heirlooms, art and antiques.

Fonsie Mealy Auctioneers said Mr Guinness, a seventh generation direct descendant of Arthur Guinness, and his wife Louise, “have decided to downsize and sell the house”.

The auction of the contents is expected to realise €750,000.

Patrick Guinness (58) is a son of the Hon Desmond Guinness and his first wife, the late Mariga Guinness. who founded the Irish Georgian Society in 1958.

Auctioneer Fonsie Mealy said the auction would consist of 700 lots, including “period furniture, paintings, prints and drawings, wonderful silver and objets d’art, a fine library of books, important manuscript letters and maps, carriages and coaches and garden furniture”.

He said some of the lots “derive from some chance inheritances that are part of the European story over the last several centuries” and also includes “antiques, books and papers of Irish antiquarian interest” that Mr Guinness’s parents acquired “at important Irish dispersal sales in the 1950s and ’60s including at auctions in Carton House, Castletown House and Gormanston Castle”.

Earlier this year, Mr Guinness and the Irish Georgian Society condemned the Alfred Beit Foundation’s plan to auction paintings to raise funds for the upkeep of Russborough House in Co Wicklow. The society said the sale of the paintings would “represent an irredeemable loss to our national cultural patrimony” and described the planned auction (since postponed) as “deplorable” because the “irreplaceable paintings” would “undoubtedly be lost forever to Ireland”.

The 18th-century Furness House, on 34 acres near Naas, acquired by Mr Guinness in 1993, is for sale separately, for €2.5 million, through estate agent Sherry FitzGerald.

Mr Guinness has tried to sell the house on numerous occasions during the past 15 years. It failed to sell at auction in 2000; later went on the market for €4 million; and, two years ago, was advertised as seeking offers “in excess of €3 million”.

The auction of the contents, will take place at the Killashee Hotel, Naas, Co Kildare, on October 6th.