Monday, 29 July 2013

Dunbrody Castle Co Wexford

                                        Above Image: The accessible tower

                                         Above Image: The old and the new.

                                             Above image: Inside the maze

                                         Above Image: Centre of the maze.

                                       Above Image: Entrance to Craft shop

Dunbrody Castle is a bit of a mystery and a bit of a mix match. It is known that the landowners of the nearby Dunbrody Abbey, the Etchinghams, took to building a fortified house in the years prior to the 1641 rebellion. The house however was never completed but it did incorporate parts of a much earlier Castle that could date back as far as the 1300's. Today this mongrel of a ruin still owned by the descendants of Lord Templemore finds part of it being utilised as a craft shop!
I didn't know if this one was worth seeing when I heard that it had a shop installed but I have to admit that the visit turned out quite enjoyable. The Castle is in close proximity to Dunbrody Abbey which I will cover in a later post. There is indeed a craft shop and a very helpful and pleasant lady within and the grounds contain one of the few Yew tree mazes in the country. Consisting of 1500 Yew trees and gravel paths, this excellent but frustrating enigma is a hoot! There is a nominal charge to see the maze but this includes further access to the ruins as well.
The ruins have a bawn attached which has some squat but sturdy rounded towers with some defensive features while other parts such as the house remains are in fairly bad shape with rubble strewn around and some vegetation invading. The towers though are quite interesting and it is possible at ground level to access at least one of them which lies to the East of the entrance door and is accessed from the green area behind the Castle.
There are a few other parts to climb around which are a bit precarious in places but you wont be disturbed as most people are there to see the maze not the history. When you have done exploring the ruins and the maze there is a tearoom adjacent to refresh your weary bones and all in all it is worth a visit.
To find the ruins take the N25 out of New Ross Eastwards towards Wexford Town. Just after you have passed along the quayside in New Ross the road veers left. Take the next right hand turn onto the junction with the R733.
Drive for approx. 4Km until you reach a right hand turn with a sign pointing to Arthurstown. This is a continuation of the R733. Drive for another 6KM until you see another right hand turn for Arthurstown with a large stone church (St. James's) on your right. Turn right and drive 1.5KM and you will see the huge Dunbrody Abbey on your right. Adjacent to this is a car park and the Castle ruins on your left. Ample parking is available.


  1. Wow... I just wrote a whole lot and did not get to send before it all disappeared.... :(

  2. OK, now, second attempt after 3 years. I will try to write down the same thing that I could not post on Dec. 18th, 2018.

    When I was a kid, probably 4 years old, I had a dream of a Western castle. I was in China, where there was no way I could have seen anything like a Western castle. It was before TV era. I did not have access to pictures or books that would have shown me what a Western castle looked like. But I had a dream of a Western castle. It had a low front door, and a round structure to the left. The sunshine was goldish, lazy, but very SAD. In the dream, I felt EXTREMELY lonely. It was, like, centuries old loneliness. The kind of loneliness no 4 year old should have felt. Then, out of the castle, came skidding and laughing a BEAUTIFUL girl about my age. She passed by my left side, and seemingly acknowledged me. I felt completely in love with her... After I woke up the next morning, I found myself missing her so much that I was unable to function. And the feeling was so strong that, after I don't know how many days, the SAME DREAM occurred to me like an exact replay of a movie scene. The only difference is the everything was a bit blurred... The beautiful girl. Her laughter. Her passing by. Goldish sunshine that was lazy and sad. And then, the same longing loneliness back in my heart.

    I spoke to many people about the dream since. Then, in 2003, I went to Ireland for a visit. And I drove through the east coast by myself. When I traveled through Wexford area, something told me to take a turn and I saw the spectacular Dunbrody Abbey. A note on the front gate of the Abbey said that visitors could go inside if we paid 2 Euros at the visitor's center across the road. So, I drove across.

    When my car approached the visitor's center, I suddenly had a very strange feeling. I said to myself that I wished I had some traveling with me because I would have told him/her what I was about to see: a castle, with a low front door, and a round structure to the left. As I turned around the corner, sure enough, it was there, the castle in my childhood dream. The front door was now the entrance of the visitor's center. And the round structure, as I learn later, was the place where burning wood was kept in the past.

    I then read about the history of the place and the abbey across the road. There were many monks, old and very young, living and practicing in the abbey several centuries ago. And the castle used to belong to a powerful duke, whose daughter was married off at a very young age.

    It is my strong belief that, once upon a time, a very young monk from the abbey, laid his eyes on a beautiful young girl, and felt a crushing love for her in a goldish and lazy sunshine.

    And it was a love that lasted for centuries.

    (Now, let me see if I can send this time... fingers crossed!:)