Ardgillan Castle

On the coast, halfway between Skerries and Balbriggan, lies the bay of Barnageeragh whose sandy beach is backed by cliffs. The area gets its name from two Irish words, bearna meaning a gap and caora meaning a sheep.

On the hills overlooking this bay stands Ardgillan castle, which was originally known as Prospect, because of the fine view from there of Skerries and the coast northwards to the Mourne Mountains. The castle is situated on 194 acres of land.

In 1737 this property was purchased from a Dublin wine merchant, Robert Usher, by the Rev. Robert Taylor. Rev. Taylor was the Dean of Clonfert. The Taylor family held the castle and lands for over 200 years. In 1962 Richard Taylor sold the property to Heinrich Pott of Westphalia in Germany. In 1982 Dublin County Council purchased the estate.

The original house was built in the 1730s. It was extended in the late 18th. and 19th. centuries. East and west wings were added as were towers and battlements, which were for decoration only.

A yard was added to the east end of the house and a walled garden was built close to the west end. The ground also contained an old ice house in the woods north of the garden.

South of the house the terrace lined with yew trees is separated from the parkland by a ha-ha (an open ditch). The extensive parkland which surrounds the house has a series of woodland walks running through it. These were originally laid out by the Taylor family for their women folk. The parkland is connected to a section of Barnageeragh beach by a footbridge across the road and railway. This footbridge is called the Lady’s stairs. The section of the beach to which this bridge led was private and was known as the Lady’s Bathing place.

Nowadays the castle and grounds are open to the public and a visitor can get an insight into life in one of Ireland’s “Great Houses.”
Published here: November 2002