Sunday 6 May 2012

Donadea Castle Co Kildare

                                              Above Image: Entrance door

                                              Above 2 Images: Interior views

The lands of Donadea were granted to the Aylmers of Lyon in 1597 by the Earls of Ormond. The original Castle Tower was constructed by Gerald Aylmer over many years finally reaching completion in 1624. The Castle was damaged badly during the rebellion of 1641 but saw many changes to it's structure during the course of the next 200 years. It was rebuilt in 1773 and in 1827 the whole front of the Castle was remodelled incorporating the original Tower. Wings were added a few years later and the surrounding lands landscaped into a fine estate.The last resident of the Castle was Caroline Aylmer who passed away in 1935 leaving the estate to the Church of Ireland and subsequently the Irish State. It was deroofed during the 1950's and subsequently fell in to ruin not having ever been occupied again.
The Demesne of Donadea was laid open to public use in 1981 and has remained that way to this day. There is a large forest car park (parking for the day  €4) and a wonderful forest walk that incorporates the man made lake built by the Aylmers.There is also a Cafe for refreshments available for you after your walk.
We visited on a sunny day in April and the late spring sunshine really evoked the grandeur and colour of the Demesne. The Castle itself is barred up as it is probably unstable within but you can see the interior through the gate. You can walk around three of it's four sides and each aspect is different. It is surrounded by a high wall at it's rear which also has a trail leading around it. Though overgrown and laid bare it is still a wonderful structure and must have been magnificent in it's time.
To find Donadea Castle take the Junction 8 exit on the M4 from Dublin.On the roundabout at the top of the exit ramp take the left turn onto the R158. This will lead you to a smaller roundabout. Turn right onto the R407 and drive for about 6km until you reach Baltracey crossroads. You will see a sign facing right for Donadea. Turn right and drive for about 3Km and you will come upon the entrance way to the Demesne.


  1. Love the this post, very informative. I love visiting these ruins.
    Perhaps you might be able to point me in the right direction? I am trying to find out whom owns Athgoe Castle near Newcastle, its attached to a private residence, so I dont want to intrude. I would like to get the owners permission to photograph the Tower house, any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated,


    1. Hi Eddie,

      I was down that direction last autumn trying to find Athgoe. when I did find it the gates were closed but I could see the Castle adjacent to the house. I didn't have time that day to pursue it but normally I would have no qualms about just knocking on the door. I did this to access kilgobbin Castle and found the owners quite receptive. I haven't given up on Athgoe and if I find out who the owners are i will certainly contact you. Thanks for the kind words on the post, it's really appreciated