Saturday, March 7, 2015

Touring Dublin Castle

I don’t know what I expected from Dublin Castle but what I got was totally unexpected. I have never seen anything less Castle like. I needed a little history lesson, which I must say our guide on the tour provided. The castle must be visited on a tour. It is still in use and we were warned to stay with our group or some dire fate would befall us. 

 The original Dublin Castle was Anglo/Norman, built on orders of King John in the 12th century. Though when we visit the archaeological remains underneath the castle, we saw some of the Viking defensive walls that protected Dublin before the year 1000. A fire destroyed this building in 1694 and when the fire reached the powder tower, oh yeah it was the powder tower because that’s where they stored the gunpowder, it blew any chance of salvaging the castle. The present state apartments are Georgian and date from the 18th century.

We begin our tour by walking upstairs and standing on Battle-ax landing. Here we see the coat of arms of Ireland over the door and the coats of all the presidents on the wall. The carpets on the floor and stairs are made in Donegal and the chandeliers are Waterford crystal.

We walked through a series of rooms that were formerly bedrooms but are not set up as staterooms. There are some interesting pieces of furniture and art in these rooms and one ceiling in particular in the Arts and Sciences Room is of particular interest. It is not original to this building but rather was moved in a rather interesting way from Mespil House which was demolished.

Joe was particularly fascinated by the throne room. The last English King to sit on this throne was King George V. The last person I know who sat on this throne was Joe and I have the picture to show it.

The most impressive room is St Patrick’s Hall. It is huge with dark blue walls and gold trim. It is used for formal affairs of an International Nature.

After we finished with the above ground areas we head down to see the oldest parts of the castle. There has been a great deal of excavation below the castle and you walk down several sets of metal stairs and walk on what feel like catwalks above some watery areas. It adds another dimension to an
already interesting tour.

We finish up by going through the Castle Vault which has a very good restaurant and then, of course, the gift shop.

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