Maynooth Castle Ruins

Maynooth Castle ruins

Knights, kings, feudal lords and monarchs - these are only some of the things that make Europe famous; medieval Europe, that is. And in those times of war and conquest, a man of high position cannot be complete without his own castle.

Castles basically became a fad among lords and monarchs in Western Europe during the late Middle Ages. Considered to be one of Europe's tourist attractions, castles all over Europe are flocked by people from all over the world. Because of its rarity, even nonexistence, in other countries, castles are looked forward to be visited by many travelers.

Ireland, having the title Emerald Isle, not only exhibits vividly green landscapes and captivating loughs but also has its share of fortified castles and huge towers. Among these are the Aughnanure Castle in Galway, Trim Castle and Maynooth Castle in Maynooth village.

Located approximately 30 kilometers west of Dublin and 13 kilometers northeast of Clane, this gray-walled castle stands right beside the gates of St.Patrick's College. This was originally granted to Maurice Fitzgerald by Strongbow (Richard de Clare Pembroke) in 1176 to serve as protection from the native Irish. Late in the 1400s, Maynooth Castle served as the center of the Geraldine powerbase. During the reign of Gareth Og, the 9th earl, this castle served as the center of political power and culture.

The castle's keep is a notable structure. Being the largest of its kind in Ireland, it was built in 1203. If you would be given a chance to look around the keep, of which I am not sure if it is the original, you are going to find an exhibition about the history of the castle and the family.

Though it is worthwhile to be explored, visits to the keep are by guided tour only. If you are lucky, you might just catch some exhibitions that are done occasionally. You may also get to attend some of their concerts too, and lectures, if that interests you. The great thing about visiting this place is that the guided tours are for free, therefore there is no need to pay for admission fees.

After a tour of the castle, you can try visiting Saint Patrick's University, which is just beside it. If you're up to a little walking around Maynooth, you can go along the main street towards its east end and there you will find the large estate of Carton House. This classical style mansion is built by Richard Cassels in 1739. Though not open to the public, you can get a glimpse of this mansion if you really want to.

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