Sunday, 11 December 2011
Carthy's Castle Co Dublin
Carthy's Castle is a bit of a misnomer. It's not a Castle and it wasn't lived in by anyone named Carthy! What remains on the slopes of Montpelier Hill is the West Tower and some outbuildings of the once remarkable Dollymount House or "The Long House" as it was sometimes called.
Dollymount House was an extravagant hunting residence built in the last part of the 18th century by Henry Loftus then Lord Ely. Lord Ely's first wife Frances Monroe was an Aunt of a noted debutante beauty named Dorothea Monroe whom she brought to Dublin to introduce to society. Ely named the hunting lodge Dolly Mount in her honour.
The large house with two entrance arches on both sides had ancillary buildings that ended both West and East in two Three storied Towers. Some of the stone used for building was culled from the old hunting lodge on the top of Montpelier, known today as the infamous "Hellfire Club".
The Elys abandoned the lodge after a number of years and a tenant named Jack Kelly took over. This tenant subsequently singlehandedly aided in the ruination of the lodge by stripping the roof of it's lead and dismantling the floors as firewood. He built a Piggery from lintels within. By destroying the Lodge he attempted to ensure no one would disturb his tenancy and it very quickly fell into ruin One record may hold a key as to why the Tower still bears it's current name. It is a record of the large Stone Balls that adorned the arched gates being sold to a Mr. Handcock for transportation to the Sally Park Estate in Firhouse by a man called Carthy in 1880.
In the 1950's the remnants of Jack Kelly's destruction were finally demolished leaving only the West Tower remaining which is now oft mistaken to be a Castle ruin.
While there is access to the ruins we took steps to ensure we were not trespassing by checking with the owner of Oldcourt Farm. He said it was no problem to go up and have a look and gave whatever information he knew of it's history.. It appears there is a hill walk in this area that leads up to the summit of Montpelier and a lot of people use the trail although I'm not sure that is really a right of way. There are cattle grazing in the meadow around the ruin so it's important to respect the owners property.
It's about a 10 minute walk from the gate at the entrance to the meadow up to the Tower.It's slightly steeper near the ruin but grassy underfoot..When you reach it you will find that it has been fenced around no doubt to keep out antisocial visitors and for insurance purposes, but there are a couple of places in the fence where you can carefully climb over and have a closer look. The Tower is partially ivy covered and there is not a great deal to see within.It's hard to believe that this was once an opulent residence.You can trace the lines of the old house foundations right to the site of the now almost disappeared East Tower.There are some runs of outhouses around the rear but it is the Tower which now silently stands guard like a sentinel overlooking Dublin On a fine day you can see for miles and it is said that under the right circumstances you can see the outline of the ruin of Carbury Castle out in County Kildare!
To find Carthy's Castle Take the N81 as far as Tallaght Village. Join the R113 Old Bawn Road and continue straight on through the Crossroads at The Old Mill Pub. Take the first right hand turn. When you reach a small roundabout, turn right. About a 100 yards further turn left at another small roundabout. This will lead you onto Oldcourt Rd. Drive on for about a mile until you see a row of new apartments on your left facing an open meadow on your right. you will see a road sign for turning right. This right turn has a small sign at it's entrance stating Cul-De-Sac. Follow this road right to it's end where you can park by a long field gate.You will see the entrance to Oldcourt Farm on your left should you need to enquire.You will need to climb over the field gate to access the ruins and I would advise dry conditions to visit.