Next up on our list of famous destinations, we have the Dublin Castle which is said to be one of the most important buildings in Irish history. The original castle was built of stone by Vikings and used as a defensive fortification. The castle survived until 1684 before being destroyed in a fire but the next palatial building which stands today was built on the same site the Vikings had it. From the 13th century to the early 20th century, the castle was under British control. It served from being a royal palace and parliament to a prison.
Dublin Castle was eventually handed over to General Michael Collins on the 16th of January in 1922. Collins was a soldier and a politician who lead the Irish people through their fight for Independence. When you enter the main portion of the castle, you are first presented with a beautiful red-carpet staircase. It was with each of the 28 steps, that young upper-class woman would be brought closer to being presented at court and would mark their entry into society. At the top of the staircase is the national emblem of the Republic of Ireland, the gold harp. It is placed over top of the central doorway to symbolize Ireland’s journey to independence.
If you take a right, you enter a small room with one bed and a plaque next to the bed commemorating James Connolly. He was one of the influential leaders for the Easter Rising which tried to rebel against the British rule. It was ended after just one week, but it brought about the concept of a fully independent Irish Republic. It was that room that James Connolly was taken prison and eventually executed. As you leave and continue along the Castle, you get to the Throne Room. It is this room which was once the center of British royal power in Ireland. Throughout the British rule, there were four British monarchs and dozens of viceroys. The current throne at the Castle was built for King George IV which was known for his “indulgent” lifestyle. The throne was built for a 55-inch waist person.
The next room is the Portrait Gallery, which is where the Castle’s formal banquets took place. It got the name from Earl de Grey when he started a tradition in 1843 to commission a portrait of viceroys who had served from 1800’s. To finish it all off, the last room you visit is St. Patrick’s Hall. This is Ireland’s most important ceremonial room. The hall takes its name after the Order of St. Patrick knights which first met here in 1783. It is in this hall that the new President of Ireland is sworn into office for each election. Douglas Hyde was the first President of Ireland to be sworn into office after the end of the British Rule. Every President since has been inaugurated here.
If you’re interested in hearing more about Irish History and Dublin, check out #FailteFridays on Instagram and also follow @msmutravels. Until next time!