“ Malahide, Co. Dublin. Tel: +353 1 8462184. Fax: +353 1 8462537. MALAHIDE Castle, set on 250 acres of park land in the pretty seaside town of Malahide, was both a fortress and a private home for nearly eight hundred years, and is an interesting hotch– „
I have recently visited Dublin for a weekend and had the pleasure of taking a trip to Malahide Castle.
The Malahide Castle is one of the main tourist attractions offered by the Dublin tourist board. It is located North of Dublin. You can get there by local bus or a train called Dart or if you like to be part of a tourist herd, you can jump on the bus provided by a company such as Dublin Bus which will take you there and back with a scenic tour of Dublin Bay for about 20 Euros.
I have chosen the latter.
Like mentioned before, the tour is offered by couple of bus companies and it ranges from 20 -25 Euros as far as I remember. Different companies run it at different times but the one I chose was at 10am and it lasts about 3 hours.
As my experience was on the bus tour I will describe how it went. The bus left from centre of Dublin, from O'Connell Street , near the Liffey river. The ride to the Castle takes probably about 40-50 minutes and takes you through various neigbourhoods of Dublin. If you are lucky, you will get a talkative driver like ours who gave us loads of stories and some Irish songs as well when he had nothing to say. I can conclude the ride to the castle itself was very entertaining.
Once there, we were given just about an hour on Castle grounds. The Malahide Castle is not particuarly big but it has few rooms with furniture and decor from different periods. The Castle itself was owned by the Talbot family from 1100's till 1970's so you have a bit of history there. You don' t get a tour guide however, a nice lady in the first room explains that there is a voice over that tells you about each room and the house and directs you where to go next. You can get a translation of the voice overs in other languages as well.
Overall, I liked the Castle although it was just a bit dissapointing that it was more like a large house. It looks like a castle, not a house though....If you have an interest in history and architecture etc. you will probably enjoy it. There are several paintings of famous and less famous people in there as well. Should you get tired and hungry/thirsty they also have a cafe where you can replenish your oh so tired body after visiting the castle for a mere 30 minutes. Or you can visit the gift shop. Or both.
On this particular tour, we were given about 20 minutes after the tour to visit the cafe and shop or walk around in the park . I enjoyed a bit of sunshine and flowers outside and took couple of pictures of my husband with the castle in the background.
After we got back to the bus, we went on a scenic ride on the coast and went past a touristy village called Howth which had a large marina and everyone was happy to take pictures. We also stopped on the coast to take some more pictures ( as if we have never seen the sea - but I took pictures as well).
Overall, it was a nice way to spend a day. It's not too long to take your kids with you without them being bored stiff and it takes you out of the city.
Should you want to visit the Malahide Castle using own transport, the entry is 6.25 Euros for adults. Rates for teenagers and kids are cheaper. One thing I remember from their website is that they are closed between 12:45 and 2pm but if you're on the organized tour, you don't have to worry about that.
I should also mention that you can use The Dublin Pass which allows you to visit many attractions and costs about 60 Euros for 3 days. It's worth it if you plan to visit many places as a lot of them don't take that long.
~ ~ Malahide is a small village in North County Dublin, some nine or ten miles from the city centre. In olden times it was a fishing community in its own right, but is now better known for its magnificent and extensive marina, and for the many fine fish restaurants that it boasts. History ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Malahide Castle sits on the brow of a hill on the approach to the village, commanding fine views out over the adjoining bay and countryside. It was unique in Irish history up until 1976, as it was the only country estate that had been in the hands of its original owners, the Talbot family, from the time of Henry the Second in 1174, with only a short break during the notorious (at least to Irish people) period of the Cromwellian invasion from 1649 to 1660. Unfortunately, the sitting Lord Talbot died suddenly in 1973, without family, and the estate fell to his only remaining sister. The death duties levied by the State were so prohibitive that she had forfeit the Castle itself, and sell off all of its treasured possessions in order to meet the bill. ~ ~ The National Gallery of Ireland and the Irish Tourist Board (Bord Failte) managed between them to keep most of the priceless collection of antique furniture and paintings in the possession of the State, and subsequently left them in place on a permanent loan basis, in order that the Castle could retain its unique heritage. The Castle is one of the finest preserved examples of a medieval castle that you will find anywhere in the UK or Ireland, and much of it survives intact from its origins over 800 years ago. The Castle ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ One of the most beautiful rooms in the Castle is the Oak Room, which is accessed via a winding stone staircase lit by a series of small Gothic style windows. All the walls are lined in ancient carved oak, that has now turned black with both age and the application of thousands of layers of polish. T
he carvings are all of a Biblical and Scriptural theme, and over the ornate fireplace there is a fine painting depicting the Coronation of The Blessed Virgin. There is a story attached to this painting too, as the Talbots remained Roman Catholic up until 1774, and this painting seemingly disappeared in a mysterious manner during the occupation of Cromwell, only to every bit as mysteriously turn up again when he was overthrown. Legend has it that this room was used by the Talbots to celebrate holy Mass during the penal period in Ireland, when it was illegal to practice the Catholic faith. ~ ~ Just off the Oak Room is the dining room. Called the Great Hall, this was in fact actually used as the family dining room by the Talbots right up until the time they lost possession of the Castle in 1976. The antique furniture and paintings are totally magnificent, and in pride of place is an enormous painting called the “Battle of the Boyne”, loaned to the Castle from the collection of the National Gallery. It has great significance, as on the morning of that great battle in 1690, fourteen Talbot cousins all had breakfast together here, prior to joining the Catholic forces of King James the Second. The battle was lost to King William of Orange, and not one of the fourteen returned alive! ~ ~ There are four wings to this great house, all with there own individual turrets, which were an addition added to the original Castle during the 17th Century, and which give it a truly Georgian/Gothic character. ~ ~ Once you are finished looking over the Castle proper, then take some time to take a stroll through the fantastic gardens and grounds. The late Lord Talbot was a very keen gardener, and in addition to the hundreds of oak and sycamore trees dating back to the times of the Tudors, there are some extremely rare specimens of all sorts of exotic flowers and fauna, that Talbot collected during his many wanderings al
l over the globe. There is also a very good children’s playground, with sandpits, wooden forts, climbing frames, and all manner of other exciting playthings, that will keep the kids amused for hours. On a fine Summer’s day, there isn’t a finer walk to be had on the whole island than at this fine Castle in Malahide. ~ ~ If you get the opportunity, then you should include this fine Castle on your itinerary the next time you visit Dublin.