Posted by: mdmusingsie | July 23, 2017

Dunboyne Castle

All work and little play has made me a dull blogger of late.  However, with castle hunting being one of my favorite pastimes, when I was offered a free bed and breakfast room at Dunboyne Castle Hotel and Spa I was quick to take advantage.  My company was holding a charity event and had some extra rooms.

Not everything called a castle is really a castle, and in the case of Dunboyne, what’s left of the original castle is a small corner of the building with a door and Gothic window frame.  You might miss this little gem of the remains as it’s hidden in a copse off to the side in the centre green space.  I tuned my senses into the place and got the feeling that people who approached that doorway were nervous, so it was likely the place where servants, merchants, or people coming to ask something of the Lord or Lady of the castle would enter.

 

A former residence of the Dunboyne branch of the Butler family, the castle was a casualty of the Cromwellian invasion that decimated many a castle and church in Ireland.  The manor house that remains today was built in the 1700’s and although it serves primarily as meeting and function rooms today, it retains many of the architectural features of that era.

Curves are a prominent feature of the manor house, which has been carried into the adjoining hotel. Opposite the main entrance are two semi-circular doorways with grand curved doors.  The last place I saw curved doors was Rathfarnham castle – they are certainly not common and I suspect quite expensive to make.

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To the left are the library and drawing room and to the right is the main staircase leading up to a floor of function and meeting rooms.  The main staircase curves around and around.  You can see the plaster-work at the top from the bottom of the stairs.

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Many of the rooms, like the ceiling above the staircase, retain the intricate plaster-work by the Francini brothers.  You can get up close and personal with parts of it and see the 3-D nature at the top of the stairs near the Synolda or honeymoon Suite (my keycard didn’t open that door so you’ll have to check out their website for photos, but it includes a four poster bed).

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On the other side of the building, past the library and before you enter the lobby of the hotel is another staircase that is narrow and plain – likely where the servants were restricted.

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Back (servants) staircase

The drive into the property is tree-lined with gas-style lamps.  I never did get the story around it, but there’s a statue of a reclining llama on the way in. There’s also a spot where a circular hedge encloses a ring of stones.  It was difficult to tell whether the stones had been there originally or were brought in, but again, my senses indicated the tall stone at the entrance was once surrounded by trees.

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The hotel itself is quite modern, with generous sized rooms.  Mine had a beautiful view of the green-space.  While not technically a night in a castle, it was an enjoyable experience and gave me something interesting to share with you.

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Responses

  1. So glad you could have this experience, Dawn!

  2. Certainly looked like a wonderful load of sensory delights… loved all the pictures you provided…keep on with your castle wanderings? Are you trying to tune into the old spirits? or already in tune with those spirits?

  3. Depending on the day I am able to tune into the spirit of the land – some days are stronger than others, but I find it easy to do in Ireland with the wealth of ancient history.


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