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Cad e mar ata tu? (Gaelic: How are you?) In honor of St. Patrick’s Day I am featuring Dublin Castle and various other castles in the region.
For seven centuries Dublin Castle was a symbol of English rule, as it was built by King John (a Plantagenet) around 1204. It was modernized during the sixteenth century and was a vice-regal residence. In 1684 much of the medieval castle was destroyed by fire so very little of the original fortress remains. Some of the Record (or Wardrobe) Tower remains. It is a massive structure that sits right next to City Hall. It is most famous for the 1803 rebellion in which Robert Emmet lead the abortive attempt to capture Dublin Castle as a signal for the country to rise up against the Act of Union. Emmet was caught and publicly hanged, but the defiant patriotic speech he made from the dock helped to inspire future generations of Irish freedom fighters.
Trinity College also is worth a visit, although it is not a castle per se, it still embodies architecture that will inspire and no one should miss a chance to look at the Book of Kells which is kept there. Dublin was the birthplace of some of the most famous writers in the world including Swift, Wilde, Shaw, Yeats and of course, James Joyce. There is a memorial to James Joyce on Earl Street in the middle of a very bustling business section.
James Joyce loved, and some say, also hated Dublin. His writings centered on its culture and passions. His own quote tells you the truth:
"I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book." James Joyce referring to Ulysses
Malahide Castle stands in 250 acres of ground not far from Dublin. The castle’s inner core dates from the fourteenth century but later additions, such as its rounded towers, are pure renaissance. The building served as a stately home for the Talbot family until 1973. They were staunch supporters of James II. On the day of the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 fourteen members of the family breakfasted here and none came back for dinner that night. Guided tours take you to the castle’s collection of eighteenth century Irish furniture, the oak-beamed Great Hall and Oak Room. Portraits of the Talbot family hang in the Portrait Gallery.
Dalkey was once known as the "Town of Seven Castles" but only two of these now remain. They are both on the main street of this small but pretty town which is a maze of roads and charming houses. It is situated at Coliemore Harbour south of Dun Laoghaire.
For more photos of Ireland see my Irish Castles photo album!