Much more than a castle
Set on 260 acres of parkland in the seaside town of Malahide, 16 km north of Dublin, Malahide Castle was home to the Talbot family from 1185 to 1975. The atmospheric castle – yes, there are ghosts – is furnished with period furniture and a large collection of Irish portraiture on loan from the National Gallery.
There are also gardens, playgrounds, a one-of-a-kind butterfly house and a fairy trail. Ireland’s only model railway museum is just a few minutes away too. All this makes Malahide Castle the ideal destination for families, art lovers and history buffs alike.
What to expect from the medieval Malahide Castle
Four main rooms are open to the public: the wood-panelled Oak room, the Small and Great Drawing Rooms and the Great Hall.
Here, an exhibition records the history of Malahide Castle and the family who lived here for almost 800 years.
Outside, you’ll find a splendid series of glasshouses, a conservatory and several very regal peacocks. There are some beautiful gardens to explore too. In the courtyard, another exhibition presents the story of the gardens, largely the creation of Milo Talbot, the last Lord Talbot to live at the castle.
The mysterious life of Milo Talbot
Milo Talbot was a world-renowned gardener and expert botanist. He was also a British diplomat and a one-time head of security for the UK foreign office.
He died in mysterious circumstances while on a Greek cruise in 1973. To make matters even stranger, the friend he was holidaying with was never interviewed, there was no post-mortem and his sister Rose burned all his personal papers.
While at Cambridge in the 1930s, Milo was a friend of the infamous Soviet spies Kim Philby and Anthony Blunt. One member of the family, Stephen Talbot, believes that he may in fact have been murdered – possibly by MI6.
In 1976, the castle and estate were sold by Rose to Fingal County Council partly, at least, to cover Milo’s death duties. That’s how the castle and gardens came to be in public hands.
Unfortunately, however, much of the contents of the castle had already been sold – some of them to Mick Jagger, who bought several pieces of fine Irish Chippendale furniture for his chateau in France.