Casino of Marino

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Posted 2023-08-27 by Gail Clifford MDfollow
Dublin's Architectural Marvel

The Casino at Marino

Dublin, a city that wears its history with pride, is a treasure trove of captivating sights and stories. Yet, among its bustling streets and storied landmarks, lies a hidden gem that demands the attention of curious travellers willing to venture a bit further. Located to the northeast, off Malahide Road in Dublin 3, stands the Casino at Marino – a neoclassical architectural marvel that beckons with its enigmatic allure. If you're in search of a journey that takes you beyond the ordinary, then a visit to this extraordinary structure is an adventure waiting to be embraced.

A Journey Worth the Distance
The road to the Casino at Marino may not be the most straightforward, but those who undertake it are rewarded with an experience that transcends time and space. A 45-minute bus ride (20-minute taxi) might separate you from the heart of Dublin's bustling city centre, but rest assured, the destination is well worth the journey. As you traverse the path that leads to this architectural wonder, you'll be transported from the vibrant pulse of urban life to a realm where history and art converge in breathtaking harmony.

Water Spout Pillar Interior Seen From The Kitchen

Where Illusion Meets Reality
At first glance, the exterior of the Casino stands as a study of symmetry and grace. Flanked by pillars on either side of the entrance, this neoclassical masterpiece exudes an air of elegance that hints at the wonders concealed within. Yet, it's the details that truly captivate – two of these pillars on two sides, seemingly identical to their neighbours, hold a remarkable secret. Serving as rain spouts, they ensure that the sound of rushing water remains but a whisper within, showcasing the meticulous thought that went into every facet of the Casino's design.

Casino at Marino Retained Opulence of the Third Floor

A Glimpse into Opulence
Step inside the Casino, and you'll find yourself in a realm of opulence and architectural brilliance that harks back to a bygone era. Each room, each corridor, tells a story of a time when the privileged revelled in luxury and grandeur. The blue dining room, resplendent in its elegance, is rumoured to seat an astonishing 40 individuals – a marvel made all the more impressive when one considers the extravagant dresses worn during that period. Today, this very room has found a new purpose as a modern art gallery, showcasing the works of local artists, and creating a bridge between the past and the present.

A Symphony of Hidden Wonders
Architecture, as displayed in the Casino at Marino, is more than just aesthetics – it's a language that communicates the aspirations and desires of an era. The architectural details, meticulously repaired and lovingly preserved by the Office of Public Works, reveal a commitment to honouring the past while inviting the present to bear witness to its magnificence. From the ornate ceilings to the intricate flooring, every element tells a story of craftsmanship and devotion.

Marino model shows how the neighbour blocked the Caulfeilds Manor view of the sea

Whispers of History
The Casino's history isn't without its share of drama and intrigue. Behind the façade of architectural brilliance lies tales of feuds and rivalries that capture the essence of an era defined by nuance and subtlety. A feud with a neighbour who went to great lengths to disrupt the Earl's view of the sea paints a picture of an aristocratic world where even the smallest grievances held weight.

Michael Collins Machine Gun Practice Took Place Here at the Casino at Marino

In more modern times, just 100 years ago, Michael Collins utilized the sub-basement to learn how to fire a machine gun. Bullet holes remain in the stone walls and a display of a similar gun and sandbags display what he would’ve seen at the time. It also reveals the tunnel to nowhere. Purported to go to the centre of Dublin or out to the sea, there are legends and mysteries surrounding this space, but none make sense at the current time.

A Glimpse into Intimacy
Ascending to the top floor of the Casino reveals a chamber of regal splendour. Pillars adorned with delicate gold leaf work transport you to a time when opulence was paramount. An adjoining anteroom, shrouded in intimacy, tells of a different kind of opulence – a place where companions would await the Lord's call. It's a testament to an era where conversations were veiled in subtleties and connections were nurtured amid grandeur.

The Visionary Behind the Marvel: Architect William Chambers
The Casino at Marino owes its stunning design to the visionary architect Sir William Chambers. A figure of immense importance in the world of architecture, Chambers' creative genius breathed life into countless structures, leaving an indelible mark on the landscape. His work on the Casino at Marino showcases his mastery of neoclassical aesthetics and his ability to blend form and function seamlessly. The symmetrical façade, the meticulously crafted interior, and the hidden marvels within reflect Chambers' commitment to creating spaces that not only captivate the eye but also tell stories that span generations. Through his architectural prowess, Chambers imbued the Casino with a timeless charm that continues to intrigue and inspire visitors to this day.

James Caulfeild

James Caulfeild: A Life Unveiled
At the heart of the Casino's creation stands James Caulfeild, the 1st Earl of Charlemont, a figure whose life is as captivating as the architectural masterpiece he commissioned. James Caulfeild's journey took him across continents and cultures, shaping his worldview and igniting his passion for art and architecture. His years spent abroad, particularly in Italy, exposed him to the elegance of neoclassical design and instilled in him an appreciation for symmetry and beauty. However, his return to Ireland marked a turning point as he assumed his responsibilities as a Lord and took on the mantle of leadership.

The decision to marry Mary Hickman, the Countess of Charlemont, added a layer of depth to Caulfeild's life. Their partnership was a blend of duty and companionship, and the letters that speak of Mary reading scholarly works aloud to her husband, as his eyesight weakened with age, provide a glimpse into the warmth and closeness of their relationship. While the marriage might have been influenced by political and social considerations, their shared years at Marino (at a home, not at the Casino) were marked by shared experiences, children, laughter, and the kind of camaraderie that is etched in the annals of history.

Beyond the architectural splendour and societal obligations, Caulfield was a man with a unique story – a story that unfolded within the walls of the Casino, surrounded by family, ambition, and a passion for life. His legacy is not just the neoclassical masterpiece that stands as a testament to his taste and grandeur, but also the narrative of a life rich with complexity and intrigue. As you explore the Casino at Marino, the life and times of James Caulfield come alive, inviting you to be part of a story that stretches across centuries and resonates with the essence of human existence.

The Casino Today
As you explore the winding staircases, hidden chambers, and corridors that weave the tapestry of the Casino's existence, you'll find that this architectural marvel is more than a static relic of the past. It's a living testament to human ambition, creativity, and the pursuit of beauty. It invites you to step beyond the boundaries of time and immerse yourself in a world that once was – a world that shaped the very foundations of the city you see today.

So, as you consider your next adventure in Dublin, let the Casino at Marino be on your list. It's more than just a building; it's an invitation to connect with history, to marvel at the wonders of architectural genius, and to witness the legacy of an era that continues to resonate through the ages. Embrace the journey, for within these hallowed halls, the past comes alive, and the stories of those who walked before you await your eager discovery.

If you can, plan to spend more time in Dublin 3. It’s been voted by Lovin Dublin as the best postal code to live in Dublin.

262172 - 2023-08-26 06:45:50


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