Rathfarnham Castle

Rathfarnham Castle

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Posted 2023-08-13 by Gail Clifford MDfollow
A Journey Through Dublin's Rich Heritage

Rathfarnham Castle Entrance

Nestled amidst the rolling hills and picturesque landscapes of Dublin’s outskirts lies a hidden gem that beckons you to step back in time and immerse yourself in the grandeur of history.

Rathfarnham Castle, a remarkable testament to Ireland's architectural and cultural heritage, stands proudly as a destination that every visitor to Dublin should make the effort to explore. As you embark on a journey to this enchanting castle, you'll uncover the stories of its past, marvel at its exquisite architecture, and immerse yourself in a world that seamlessly weaves the Elizabethan and Georgian eras together.

Rathfarnham Castle Original Entrance

A Tapestry of History:
Rathfarnham Castle's origins trace back to the Elizabethan period, a time of intrigue and ambition. Built for Archbishop Adam Loftus, a visionary Yorkshire clergyman who would later rise from Archbishop of Armagh to Trinity College Provost to become Lord Chancellor of Ireland, the castle carries the echoes of his dreams and aspirations. He needed the space as he and his wife had 20 children, 11 of whom lived to majority. With each step you take through its hallowed halls, you traverse the annals of time, exploring the lives of those who once graced its chambers. From its earliest foundations to its regal transformations, the castle's walls resonate with the stories of the past, waiting for you to unravel their mysteries.


Architectural Marvels:
The splendour of Rathfarnham Castle is not confined to its history; it's etched into every architectural detail that adorns its façade. A collaboration between some of the most revered architects of their time, including Sir William Chambers and James 'Athenian' Stuart, has given birth to an architectural masterpiece that seamlessly blends Elizabethan charm with Georgian elegance. The castle's imposing exterior is a sight to behold, and as you traverse its opulent rooms, you'll witness the grandeur of a bygone era come to life. From the intricate stucco work to the sweeping staircases, Rathfarnham Castle stands as a testament to human creativity and ingenuity.

It's easy to imagine the hundreds of acres that originally existed, the grandeur of the horse and buggy ride as guests left central Dublin, entered through an elaborate gate to greet the Lord and Lady of the Manor.

Rathfarnham Castle Gilt Room Ceiling

A Glimpse into Artistry:
Beyond its architectural brilliance, Rathfarnham Castle houses a remarkable collection of art that spans centuries. The castle's walls serve as a canvas for family portraits by esteemed artists such as Angelica Kauffman, Sir Peter Lely, and Hugh Douglas Hamilton. These portraits offer a window into the lives of the castle's inhabitants, capturing moments frozen in time and preserving the essence of a bygone aristocratic era. With each stroke of the brush, these artists have breathed life into their subjects, allowing you to connect with the past in a profoundly intimate way. But it's the ceilings that draw the eye, especially in the Gilt Room.

Many pieces were sold over the years to pay the bills of debt-laden owners (usually gambling-related losses), but recoveries occur as items return to auction from private collections.

Rathfarnham Castle Treasure Trove Found Here

Unearthed Treasures:
As if frozen in time, Rathfarnham Castle has not only preserved its past but also unearthed it. The castle's ongoing restoration and renovation have led to the discovery of archaeological artifacts that provide a tangible link to the stories that have shaped Ireland's heritage. Thousands of hairpins and thousands of other household items, including the nub of a 17th-century pencil were found when the building was renovated to become handicapped-accessible nearly ten years ago.

The excitement of these discoveries comes to life through videos and exhibitions, allowing you to witness firsthand the treasures that lay hidden beneath the castle's foundations. It's a testament to the unending journey of exploration and discovery that Rathfarnham Castle offers to all who venture within its walls.

Rathfarnham Castle Art Exhibit

Visiting Rathfarnham Castle:
As you contemplate a visit to Rathfarnham Castle, consider the experience that awaits you. The castle's doors are open year-round, offering two distinct seasons of exploration. From late April to September, you can immerse yourself in its splendour daily, while the late September to April period invites you to explore Wednesday through Sunday. Whether you're drawn to its Elizabethan roots, Georgian elegance, captivating art, or archaeological treasures, Rathfarnham Castle promises an unforgettable journey that will enrich your understanding of Dublin's rich and diverse heritage.

Take the tour to experience the room that’s purposely kept without renovation to allow us to witness how architecture and design decay over time. Also, realize that exhibitions are held regularly so there’s always something new to behold, worthy of several visits a year. During our visit, additional ceramic exhibits were available in the renovated kitchen areas providing an unexpected bonus.

Rathfarnham Castle Cafe

Once the Castle interior tour is complete, retreat to the grounds. While the Castle OMF trust “owns” only the Castle property and café courtyard, the surrounding area remains a city park, with multiple areas for children to play, trails to walk, and ponds for ducks to swim with benches to ponder, picnic, or visit throughout.

Dublin's vibrant tapestry of history and culture extends beyond its bustling city streets, inviting you to uncover the hidden treasures that lie just a short bus ride away. Rathfarnham Castle stands as a testament to the ingenuity, artistry, and stories that have shaped Ireland's past. As you explore its halls, admire its architecture, and connect with its art, you'll find yourself transported to a world where the past comes to life. A visit to Rathfarnham Castle is not just a trip through time; it's an immersive experience that will leave you with a profound appreciation for Dublin's heritage and a connection to the generations that have left their mark on this remarkable place. So, hop on that bus and embark on a journey to Rathfarnham Castle – an enchanting escape into Dublin's history that you won't want to miss.

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261970 - 2023-08-12 16:51:42

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