Malahide Castle dates back to the late 12th Century. It sits in 260 acres of parkland in the attractive seaside village of Malahide. Having been a fortress and home for almost 800 years it has a long heritage and fascinating mix of architectural styles.
Malahide Castle was originally constructed by Robert Talbot around 1185. He was a Norman adventurer who came over with King Henry II during the 1170s. As a reward for his military service, in 1174 Robert was granted the lands of the last Viking ruler of Dublin – the area around Malahide.
The Talbot family lived in the castle for almost 800 years from 1185 to 1976.
Like many lived-in castles it has been extensively renovated and modernised over the years, which means that most of the original structure has been obscured.
The castle owes its current appearance to building work carried out in the 17th and 18th Centuries. In the 1760s the west side of the castle was destroyed in a fire. Richard Talbot and his wife Margaret (who later became 1st Baroness Talbot of Malahide) replaced them with drawing rooms complete with Rococo and neoclassical plasterwork. They also added circular towers at the north-west and south-west corners.
The great hall still has a medieval feel, despite a major remodelling in 1825. Its timber roof was replaced along with the joinery and fireplaces. A minstrel's gallery was added too, featuring sixteenth and seventeenth Century carvings.
The Oak Room is one of the castle's most notable rooms. The exquisite carved panels set into the wall suggest that it was probably served as the castle's chapel. The panels are still on display and depict scenes from the Old Testament including Adam and Eve, The Temptation and The Expulsion. Over the mantelpiece is a Flemish Coronation of the Virgin.
In 1976 Rose Talbot (sister to the 7th Baron Talbot) sold the castle to the Irish State. Unfortunately much of the castle's contents were sold at auction before the castle was handed over.
After a brief closure and major renovation project in 2011 the castle reopened in late 2012. The upgraded facilities and new displays link into the village and the local community.
Access to the castle is by ticketed guided-tour only. There are four main rooms open to the public including the Great Hall, the drawing rooms and the Oak Room.
Malahide castle has extensive facilities since its renovation. ‘The Courtyard' has a visitors centre, food hall, cafe and retail store.
The 7th Baron Talbot de Malahide, who inherited the estate in 1948, was a keen gardener and plant collector. His legacy to the castle was the Talbot Botanic Gardens which are situated behind the castle. It comprises several hectares of plants and lawns and an extensive walled garden. His impressive collection has over 5000 cultivars, mostly from the southern hemisphere.
The parkland around the castle is one of a few surviving examples of 18th Century landscaping. Access is free and there are a number of entrances and car parks. Within the park grounds there are several sports grounds, a golf course, tennis courts and a children's playground.
The castle is close to the village with its marina, shops and restaurants and it would be quite easy to spend a family day out exploring the castle, gardens and village.
Status: Visitor Attraction / Heritage Site
Owner: Fingal County Council / Malahide Castle & Gardens Ltd
Tel: +353 1 8169538
Opening Times: Daily Summer 9.30am to 4.30pm / Winter 9.30am to 3.30pm
The keep at Malahide with parkland in front
Entrance to Malahide Castle