Malahide Castle, North County Dublin

Malahide Castle and Gardens has recently re-opened following a €10 million refurbishment by Fingal County Council and Failte Ireland, which will restore its ranking as a first class visitor attraction and preserve it for future generations.

A popular and most valuable amenity in North County Dublin, Malahide Castle is surrounded by 450 acres of manicured park lands, managed walkways and mature trees and state of the art children’s playground which is free to the public all year round.

Up until 1975 Malahide Castle was the oldest and longest inhabited castle in Ireland, with the same family having lived there almost continuously since 1185 when Richard Talbot was granted ‘the lands and harbour of Malahide’ by King Henry II in return for rendering "one archer with a horse and coat-of-mail forever". When the last male heir Milo Talbot died in 1973, the estate passed to his sister Rose, who unfortunately was forced to sell the castle and its contents to pay the death duties. Thankfully the Irish Government had the foresight to buy the property and open it to the public and now that it has been completed restored and updated it should last another few years.

Malahide Castle has had a long and colourful history which will be further explained to you on a guided tour of the castle, which takes in the magnificent 600 year old Great Hall. Poignantly, a huge painting of The Battle of the Boyne fills the back wall for it was here in this very room that the Talbot family sat down to breakfast that fateful morning in 1690 not knowing that fourteen of them would be dead by nightfall. But, somehow the family survived that tragedy and evidently prospered, judging by the various additions that were made to the castle, including the twin round towers and the banqueting hall panelled in same Irish oak that graces Westminster Abbey in London. With the original gothic style tracery windows still letting in a strained light, Malahide castle is very atmospheric and not short of a few ghosts which is hardly surprising considering?

Open all year round except 24th,25th & 26th of December. Admission Adult €12 Child €6 Family €26 Concessions €8 Phone 01-8169538

For more information on Malahide Castle and Gardens or to book tickets online please click here

Ten other things to do and see in the area are -

1. Take a tour of Malahide Castle, re-opened October 2012 after major refurbishment, new interactive exhibition and project centre.

2. Visit the Castle Gardens, renowned garden and plantsman's paradise, over 5000 rare species, beautiful carpets of cyclamen under the Lebanese Cedar on the West Lawn in early autumn.

3. Avoca in the Courtyard, enjoy tea, coffee and homemade cakes or a light lunch either indoor or outside in the pretty pergola leading on to the garden or browse their famous home-wares, clothing and gift shop.

4. Blow the cobwebs away with a bracing walk and admire the mature trees throughout the 450 acres of parklands, which remain much the same as they have always been for the last 800 years.

5. Let the kids loose in the Castle Playground which was a real favourite of my kids, when they were young.

6. Take a stroll around the pretty village of Malahide, with its smart shops (the Village Bookshop on Townyard Lane is particularly delightful) bars, restaurants and marina.

7. Have a 'grand' carvery lunch or afternoon tea in the Grand Hotel, good old fashioned luxury with a modern twist.I would highly recommend the silver service luncheon in the restaurant for sunday lunch or a special occasion.

8. Drive the coastal route out around by Portmarnock strand and Golf Club to Sutton Village.

9. Take a left to drive out to Howth Harbour, have a walk along the pier, or enjoy any of the many great seafood restaurants out there.

10. Or veer right, back into Dublin to visit St Anne's Park and its famous rose garden, the Casino at Marino or a stroll on Dollymount Strand.

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By Susan Byron author of and eBook Travel Guide Where to Eat, Sleep & Play in Ireland 2013