Malahide Castle is an aristocratic residence in County Dublin, Ireland. Originally a medieval hall house, it was rebuilt in the early 18th century as a large country house.
It derives its name from the Irish language Maol Ítha Cliath meaning “Ó Dubhda’s (Dublin) Mound”.
The family seat of the Earls of Dublin for over 300 years, Malahide remains largely intact and has been included on Ireland’s list of protected structures. It is situated on a headland extending into Dublin Bay and is surrounded by parkland and woodland. Malahide Castle and its environs were once part of a larger estate, but this was largely sold off in the late 20th century. The castle itself remains the property of the Talbot family.
The earliest recorded history of Malahide Castle is that of a medieval ringwork fort on the headland, now occupied by the castle’s keep. This was built by Jordan De Exeter soon after his arrival in Ireland with Strongbow in 1172. The De Exeter family remained at Malahide until 1324, when it passed by marriage to Richard Talbot.
During the 14th century, members of the Talbot family were Justices of Ireland and Lord Deputy of Ireland. The Talbots remained at Malahide until the late 16th century, when Sir Francis was executed for treason by Elizabeth I in 1584. His lands were confiscated and Malahide Castle was awarded to William Talbot, 1st Baron Talbot. William’s son George became a prominent diplomat and military commander during the reign of Elizabeth I.
In the late 1630s a new house was constructed by George’s grandson John Talbot, 1st Earl of Tyrconnell. The Earl of Tyrconnell’s family spent much of their time at Malahide Castle from the 1630s until 1737, when James Talbot, James Stuart and Charles Stewart were all born there. In 1737 the earldom of Tyrconnell was forfeit and the castle was granted by King George II to John Ayscough. It remained in the possession of the Ayscough family until 1846, when it passed to George Henry Lawless.
In 1866 George Henry Lawless sold Malahide Castle and much of the estate land to Thomas Chatterton, a barrister from Dublin. Chatterton demolished most of the castle and its surrounding walled garden in 1872/73, retaining only some sections of the garden walling on two sides and sections of the castle’s north wall, which were incorporated into a new mansion house he commissioned from architect Richard Norman Shaw. In 1907 the Lawless family reacquired the castle and in the 1930s the main part of the house was demolished leaving only a Victorian wing and one end of Shaw’s building. The Victorian wing was heavily damaged by fire in 1981 and subsequently restored.
In 1984, ownership of Malahide Castle and its demesne lands were transferred to The Malahide Castle Trust Ltd., a non-profit making organisation set up by private benefactors to promote cultural activities on the estate. In 1994 Malahide Demesne Park (then a district electoral area) became part of Fingal County Council. In 1998 the castle became the property of the Talbot family again.
Malahide Castle is now in the care of The Malahide Castle Trust Ltd, which has undertaken to restore and maintain it. The castle is open to visitors, as are the walled garden and woodland walks. The Castle is a popular venue for both weddings and civil ceremonies. In 2003, it was announced that the Talbot family would be leasing parts of the castle and its grounds out to be used as a film location and soundstage. The first production to take place at the castle was the filming of Anamorph, which took place in September 2006. Along with many local residents, concerns were raised about the effect this would have on the surrounding environment.
Much of Malahide Castle was destroyed by fire on Saturday 2 October 2007. The Irish Film Board (an agency partly funded by Irish taxpayers) had been due to shoot scenes for a movie there just days later; however, filming commenced at Clontarf Castle as planned on 4 October. The roof of the north wing collapsed on 5 October. The castle was insured and the family is considering re-building it to its former glory. In March 2008, it was announced that the castle would be sold to a property developer for €2 million.
The castle was featured in a segment of “Ghost Hunters International” on 7 April 2010. It also features in “The Tudors”, first season episode 2, “Sc pitched battles”, at 1:39:00 and again at 1:41:37.
On Friday 21 July 2013, an electrical fire started within the roof space of the Castle. There were no injuries but a considerable amount of damage to both areas of the roof where the fire started .
In April 2014, it was announced that the castle would be sold to the highest bidder when a planning application was lodged for a major housing development on the site. Plans included the erection of 97 houses and several townhouses, as well as an underground carpark with up to 150 places. In July 2014, Malahide Castle and its demesne lands were bought at auction by Fingal County Council for €2 million and will form part of the regeneration of Malahide Village.
Malahide Demense Park is a large grassed area containing mature trees; together with Malahide Castle, it forms one of Ireland’s largest open spaces. The park is occasionally used as a venue for shows and festivals, including the Castlefest music festival.
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