Ardgillan Castle

Ardgillan Demsene , Balbriggan , Co. Dublin

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Ardgillan Castle
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About Ardgillan Castle

Ardgillan Castle is located at Ardgillan Demsene in Balbriggan, Co. Dublin.

The demesne consists of the ancient townlands of Kilmainham, Ardgillan and Baltray. The district was originally controlled by the Gaelic O'Casey family and later the Earl of Tyrconnell. However, the period 1600-1700 saw great changes in the pattern of land ownership in Ireland due to the confiscation and redistribution of land after the Cromwellian and Williamite wars. Initially the site was heavily wooded, the name Ardgillan being derived from the Irish "Ard Choill" meaning High Wood. It was cleared by out-of-service soldiers and itinerant workers in return for one penny a day, sleeping accommodation and one meal.

The house was built by the Reverend Robert Taylor in 1738 and was remodelled in 1815. The house remained in the Taylor family until 1962 when the estate passed to Heinrich Potts of Westphalia. In 1982 the estate was sold to Fingal County Council, and it is now open to the public.

A noted feature of the house is the dining room which has intricately carved oak panelling by Italian brothers Guardocici and is dated 1889.

At the end of the Garden there is a bridge over the railway and road to the sea. It is known as the "Lady's Stairs" and is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman. The tale goes that the woman's husband was a frequent swimmer, and when he did not return one night, she went to the bridge to await his return. The tale then claims her husband had died while swimming, and she stayed at the bridge to await his return until she died. If one goes to the end of the bridge at midnight on Halloween, her ghost appears and throws you to the ocean to your death.

Image © Copyright jai and licensed for reuse under the Creative Commons.

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