Malahide Castle is a surprisingly well-maintained, but ancient castle which is located in the Malahide Demesne Regional Park. The building has parts which date back as far as the twelfth century. The castle does not stand alone, but it is surrounded by 260 acres of estate parkland. The reason why a visit to this castle should be among your list of things to do in Dublin is because this castle is in fact, very close to Dublin. It is just nine miles away.
Malahide Castle History
The history of this castle is known ever since the ownership of the land was given to Richard Talbot in 1185. Talbot was a knight. When Henry II came to Ireland, Talbot was his companion, and for that service he was granted the lands and harbor of Malahide. Ever since that year, this land and the establishment has housed the Talbot family. That translated into a history of over 800 years! But the family name dated even further back than that. It has been recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086.
But there is a short phase in Irish history, starting from 1649 when the Talbots lost possession of this land. It was awarded by Oliver Cromwell to Miles Corbet, after Cromwell conquered Ireland. However, the Talbots regained the land in 1660 after the demise of Cromwell. The History of the Castle if filled with gory details but the castle has lived through it all. It survived the Battle of Boyne. Fourteen members of the Talbot family had breakfast together one day in the Great Hall, and by the evening, all were dead. The family also endured the Penal Laws.
The castle offered military services as recently as the First World War. It was a mooring out base for airships. This base was used by RNAS Anglesey airships as they conducted anti-submarine missions in the Irish Sea. James Boswell served in the Malahide Castle during this era. His personal papers were later discovered and auctioned off. The 700 years of possession of the castle by the Talbot family ended when Rose, sister to the seventh Baron Talbot inherited the castle after her brother’s death and sold it to the Irish Estate in order to fund Inheritance taxes. The contents of the house including furniture was sold off prior to this sale.
Visiting Malahide Castle
What to do in Dublin? Leave the Town, join a bus trip to Malahide castle and you will find yourself in the midst of sublime greenery and the calmest climate you could hope for. The castle has served many purposes over the years. Fingal County Council owns the entire area and the whole demesne. The council, together with Dublin Tourism operated this site as a tourist attraction at it would attract a huge number of tourists every day. However, the partnership has changed hands and now, the operating partner is Shannon Heritage. There has been development over recent years, and now shop and café facilities have been incorporated as well.
There are guided tours that will take you to the castle, through the grounds and the inside of the halls, and back. There is a café and a craft shop in the courtyard. Actually, the castle can be hired if you want to host a banquet in the Great Hall.
Talbot Botanical Gardens
The botanical gardens are situated behind the castle. They are laid over a vast area and they feature an immense collection of many plants from all over the world. The walled garden is vast, covering about 1.6 hectares. It has seven glasshouses as well as a Victorian conservatory. There are plants in the conservatory and the glasshouses that have been brought from Chile and even the harsh heat of Australia. Apart from that, the botanical garden is maintaining a demesne which is perhaps one of very few examples of 18th century landscape parks.
The walled Garden is a much larger expanse of land than the botanical facility. It spreads over 4 acres and is always bustling with visiting families. There is the Primula house and also easy access to the Victorian Conservatory. All these features are enough to keep you busy all day.
Malahide Castle Facilities
There are shops and a café as mentioned. Along with that, the grounds of the park also have an exercise trail. There are several football pitches in the grounds as well as a cricket pitch. Planned woodland parks are also a rare feature to enjoy. Golf aficionados can also enjoy a spot of golfing with the 9-hole par-3 golf course. There are tennis courts and an 18-hole pitch-and-putt course. To visit all the sites and facilities, there is a road train that gives tourists a quick view of everything at offer.
The grounds of Malahide Castle are now also a concert venue. This was a step taken by Fingal County Council, and ever since that, the venue has hosted concerts by some popular and famous artists including: Arctic Monkeys, Pink, Joe cocker, Al Green, Radiohead, Eric Clapton Bell X1.
There is a tour that takes you through the castle rooms as well. The rooms which are open to the public are the Oak Room, covered in wood panels with carvings depicting events from scripture. It is a perfect specimen of medieval art. There are the Small and the Great Dining Rooms depicting the mid-Georgian building and construction style. The Great Hall is another impressive room of a majestic scale that was renovate in around 1825 according to the latest fashion. All in all, there is a lot to see in the castle building.
Malahide Castle Opening Hours
- Open All year round
- From 9.30am- 5.30pm Monday-Sunday
- Last guided tours of castle at 4.30pm or 3.30pm Nov-Mar