My friend and I took a trip to Malahide Castle and Gardens, and saw a lot more than meets the eye
Malahide Castle and Gardens has been a home to the Talbot family for nearly 800 years. The last remaining children were brother and sister Mylo and Rose, and they never had any off spring of their own, so could not pass on the Castle. Towards the latter years of their lives, money was tight so the land was eventually sold off to the public around approximately 1975-1976. Now these beautiful landscaped gardens and this enchanted castle are in the hands of Fingal County Council. The day of the tour, the heavens opened, but it did not dampen our spirits, and so we sauntered through the castle with our tour guide.
Up a very windy staircase we went and this led to a very dark room with mahogany walls, we were told that in the early years the Talbot family congregated in this one room. As there was no central heating back then, cattle were used and stayed in the basement below. Their bodies would get so hot and sweaty that this heat would rise through the floor boards and so the room above would be nice and warm. Next to this room was the men’s and ladies room. The ladies wore a lot of wax make-up, occasionally it would melt, due to the heat from the fire, so screens were put in front of them to “Save their Face”. Also the single women were not allowed to sit directly beside their partner, so a chaperone would be used to keep them apart and the only topic of conversation they could discuss was the weather.
Further up the stairs again I noticed a painting of the two children, and Rose glared at me as I walked past her. The children’s nursery consisted of a bed, a cot and some toys, which would have been educational and in Mylo’s room hung a very unflattering nightgown, which looked like a woman’s nightdress. In the main bathroom, a large tub filled the room and the maids would be often seen going up and down the stairs, carrying buckets of water to fill it. The last room we were shown was the entertainment room and Puck, the local jester performed for all. Puck fell in love with one of the ladies, who unfortunately did not love him back, so he died of a broken heart! Puck can still be seen haunting the room looking for that very special lady.
Sadly, our tour was coming to an end, and the weather was not getting any better, so we took a chance and walked around Mylo Talbot’s miniature botanical gardens. There are over 5000 species of plants, and on any other day I would have stayed for longer to admire this beautiful garden. Just the previous day, we had visited the grounds of the castle and the sun was shining, so we hired a bicycle made for five!
There is so much to see and do in Malahide Castle and Avoca makes the most delicious lunches, and the coffees are great.
For more information visit www.malahidecastleandgardens.ie
Also log on to http://www.malahidekids.ie for more information on things to do for families in Malahide and the surrounding areas.