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Drimnagh Castle (Dublin)

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Long Mile Road, Dublin 12. Tel: 353- 1- 450 2530.

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      12.02.2002 17:43
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      ~ ~ Drimnagh Castle is situated, appropriately enough, in the village of Drimnagh just off the “Long Mile Road”, the main road west out of Dublin. In fact, Drimnagh isn’t really a village these days, being only about three miles or so from the City Centre, and is now more just a part of the city itself. ~ ~ The Castle was built in the 13th Century for a family called the Barnewalls, a Norman family who had settled here in Ireland, and who owned vast tracts of land, including all of the area that now consists of the Dublin suburbs of Ballyfermot and Terenure. It was actually lived in right up until 1954, the last residents being a family called the Hatches, who managed and ran a dairy farm in its grounds. In 1954, the Christian Brothers bought the land and opened a school for boys, which today stands alongside the Castle itself. By 1986, the Castle had deteriorated to such an extent that it was considered a hazard to public safety, and was scheduled for demolition. A local conservationist called Peter Pearson, with the full backing of the local community, approached the Christian Brothers with an ambitious plan to save the building. With the backing of the National Trust for Ireland and monetary aid from Dublin Corporation and many fund raising ventures by the local community, the Castle was saved. Stonemasons, carpenters, and craftsmen from as far afield as France, Germany, and Italy were employed to ensure the restoration was as authentic as possible. They helped to train local Irish workmen in the traditional methods of craftsmanship used at the time the Castle was originally built, and the end result is that a magnificent example of medieval history was saved from the demolition men’s ball and chain. ~ ~ The Castle is unique in that it is the only Castle in the whole of Ireland that is still completely surrounded by its original moat, which is fed by an underground stream called the “Blueb
      ell”. Until 1780 there was a wooden drawbridge where the present stone bridge now stands, and this leads through the gatehouse tower into the castle precincts. The gatehouse tower was built in the 16th Century, and stands three stories high, and before the modern city of Dublin came into being, you could see to the far reaches of the old city from its battlements. The main room in the Castle is the “Great Hall”. This is where the medieval Lords and Ladies would meet to dine and carouse, and it has been restored fully to its former splendour. The original roof was missing totally here, and an oak beamed roof was put in place that was copied from another Castle of the same period, Dunsoghly Castle in Co. Dublin. A wooden minstrel’s gallery surrounds three sides of the Hall, and the floor has been retiled using true copies of medieval floor tiles, the design on which is copied from the heraldic motifs of the first inhabitants, the Barnewall family. There is also a magnificent 17th Century formal garden, which is a blaze of colour in the Spring and Summer, and a very pleasant spot to take a relaxed walk, and "smell the roses". The old dairy has been restored, and other outbuildings include stables, an old coach house, and an old folly tower. A good website to visit to see some fine pictures of the old Castle is located at “http://www.compapp.dcu.ie/~humphrys/FamTree/Barnewall/drimnagh.htmlR 21; Worth a visit if you ever find yourself in the Emerald Isle, and admission is free. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Open: Late spring to autumn, Saturday & Sunday 12pm-5pm. Winter to early spring: Wednesday 12pm-5pm, Sunday 2pm-5pm Contact: Drimnagh Castle, Long Mile Road, D12 Telephone: 353 1 450 2530 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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