Dublin Castle is located in the center of the city, and is considered one of the most important structures of Ireland’s history. It dates back over 800 years when it was built in 1204 as a major defensive work, on the orders of King John of England. After a Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, it was commanded that a castle fortress be built for city defense, the administration of justice, and protection of the King’s treasure.
By 1230 the castle was largely completed, and was of typical Norman courtyard design bounded by tall defensive walls on all sides, a central square without a keep (type of fortified tower), and protected by circular towers at each corner. It was constructed upon an earlier Viking settlement, upon elevated ground using the River Poddle as a natural means of defense along two of its sides.
Dublin Castle had remained intact until April 1684 when it had caught fire, which severely damaged much of the building. After the fire, a rebuilding campaign saw the castle transform from a medieval bastion into a Georgian palace. Across many European countries, castle fortresses of the middle ages were no long being used much, so it was a practical move to rebuild it into a new building with grand reception rooms- the State Apartments. The Viceroy and the visiting British monarch hosted several entertainments in these State Apartments, such as state balls, banquets, and regal ceremonies.
Although there was extensive damage from the fire of 1684, there are several sections of the medieval and Viking structures that survived. They can be explored by visitors today.
Dublin Castle gardens
Within Dublin Castle there is a charming garden, which is located by the Chapel Royal and the State Apartments within an enclosed wall. The enterance to the gardens are through wrought iron gates with Celtic-inspired Spirals. When I had visited there was a lovely art installation by the Memorial Garden, as well as a lawn labyrinth. It was a nice green space for a little quiet time while wandering the city.
Dublin Castle always had a chapel since at least 1242, but its most current was constructed in the early nineteenth century. The Chapel Royal located in the Lower Castle Yard was named after a visit from King George IV on September 2, 1821, several years after it was built.
Chapel Royal Gothic Revival Interior
Chapel Royal was constructed in the then popular Gothic Revival style, when architects and artists were looking to the medieval past for daily inspiration. It was completed and opened on Christmas Day of 1814, and designed by Francis Johnston.
Today Dublin Castle is one of the popular tourist attractions of the city, as well as being a major Irish government complex and conference center. For more castle and tour information, please visit their website: Dublin Castle
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