Dublin · Dublin Castle · history · Summer 2012

Dublin: Dublin Castle

Prequel to the day– The falling bugs 

I mentioned in my last post that, as beautiful as our place was (also worth mentioning that the hotel is known for it’s oh-so-yummy-award-winning breakfast!), there was just too much…nature. And in my experience, nature meant bugs. And bugs, for me, is bad.

I think I described it better in my journal:

My room is on the first floor, near the garden. You can imagine what lives in gardens (I can never pin-point, because it’s like a new creature each time). The newest this summer would be somewhat freakishly big ants with wings that seem too heavy for them to use (they’d glide a little, but then fall). I’m looking at one now— wait, I’ve lost it. Dammit.
Anyway, these things seem to multiply. No matter how many we erradicate, more seem to be popping out. God.

Moving on, everything else was fine. We met the owner, a peculiar gentleman who recited his award-winning menu so precisely and carefully, it matched his appearance– neat, precisely dressed, and gentle. The breakfast was yummy in that simple, home-made way. 
After our breakfast, we had a chat with him, and while I initially liked my first impression of him, he treaded into the Middle East conflict territory (which is such a mess that can’t really be compared to anything else). I had the sense that he thought we’re airheads who need to be educated on the idea of “peace” because of our Middle Eastern background (it wasn’t meant maliciously though– he was quite sincere). 
He did suggest some great places to visit, one of them being Dublin Castle. 
Dublin Castle

I have to say, I love the tours in Ireland. It’s one of the best, because they add that personal touch and dry humor into their explanations.

Entrance to the castle grounds
Dublin Castle was built in the 1200, and it was more of a walled castle within the (then) walled city of Dublin. Back then,  the name of the city was a toss between Devlin and Duflin, as both the Vikings and Anglo-Normans occupied the place, and were at a bit of a strife until the Vikings assimilated themselves with settlers. Their own settlements were called “Black Pool”.

One of the Viceroys,
Marquess of Anglesey

In the 1600s though, the castle was caught in a fire, and half of it was blown up to avoid it catching the gunpowder in the castle. It was rebuilt in the 1800s style— pretty modern and less medieval. During that time, Viceroys, sort of like ambassadors of England, took office to watch over Ireland, or to govern. 

I have to rely on words to describe how amazing the place looked because photography was not allowed.

The place inside has amazing architecture. The pictures of men in their fine suits, military or otherwise, with cloaks, or medallions, young, old, all of them hanging in the State Dining Hall. In that room, there were also spy mirrors, where the Viceroy could see his guests (he was always seated in the center during dinners). The ladies room was a grand place as well. The fire place is there as usual, and the board to cover their faces from the flames. The room had a pinkish/peach/gold hues altogether, as it was considered feminine. There were also grand pictures of said ladies, from Lady Caroline, to a Lady Charlotte. Very grand looking women.

There were others—sitting rooms with gold decorations, bright colors, and on the ceiling or on the roof, white stucco designs that stood out against the painted ceiling. The stucco would be of Greek gods, vines, grapes, branches and leaves.

There was the State Hall— beautiful long hall, with a series of gold arches along the way. The throne room was another breathtaking place. A chair was made for a portly King George, and later was for the young Queen Victoria. Above it was a ledge, and on top were the  different symbols that made up the Kingdom of England. The Unicorn (Scotland) and the Lion (England) with Harp (Ireland) on a shield. The chandelier itself was grand, depicting different plants, intertwining upward and bloomed out beautifully to display the candles/lights.

The ball room is the final and most grand, with it’s imitation of Greek columns (I know it starts with a C..need a refresher on those Art History terminologies!). The place was painted in the colors blue and gold— and let me tell you, no two colors could’ve looked any grander! The floor is of wood, and you can hear your footsteps echo as you walked around. Can you imagine if it were in the old days? You being introduced, and in you walked with people—nobles!— staring at you.

Medieval part of the castle

We were then shown the old part of the castle— the medieval that survived. We were led down to see the stone works, and the mote that existed back then.

There was a bit of dark history to the castle, as it held the “mayors” who governed Ireland through Britain, and this, Irish people counted as “oppression”.  This was evident in the 1916 Eastern Rising; a rebellion that went on for 6 days, and ended with the 14 leaders  captured and executed military style. 
One of them was injured in battle though, and was brought into the Castle to heal. When it was determined that nothing could be done for him, and after bidding farewell to his family, he was taken on a stretcher to Kilmainham Gaol to be executed like the rest of his compatriots.

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