Saturday, April 12, 2014

K is for King John's Castle

King John's Castle/Gardai Barracks/ Dungarvan Castle 

Photo by Ann Ormond Fennell (me)
Prince John, landed in Waterford with 300 knights, foot soldiers and archers in April 1185. John and his entourage were greeted by several Irish leaders. When John saw the long bearded Irish kings, he laughed and further insulted them by pulling their beards and mocking their customs. Insulted by John’s behaviour the Irish declared him to be "an ill-mannered child… from whom no good could be hoped". 

Photo by Ann Ormond Fennell (me again)
It was during this trip that John initiated the building of several castles, Dungarvan being one. Dungarvan Castle is a typical example of the Norman shell keeps commonly found in England but rare in Ireland. The castle consists of a curtain wall, a corner tower and a gate tower. It was strategically positioned at the mouth of the Colligan River.  From here ships could be anchored making it one of the strongly held points along the coast.
Photo by Ann Ormond Fennell (yes, you guessed it.)
King John returned to Ireland again, landing in Co. Waterford on June 20th 1210. He remained in Ireland for the summer. In 1215 he granted Dungarvan a charter facilitating its growth into a vibrant urban centre. 
Photo by Ann Ormond Fennell (again)
The castle was converted into an infantry barrack in the 18th Century.

During the Civil War the barracks was occupied by the IRA. They set fire to it before evacuating in August of 1922. 

When the Gardai Siochanna were founded in 1922 they restored the castle and used it as the Gardai Barracks until 1987. I spent many a Saturday rummaging around in the dirt, in hopes of making an major archaeological find. The barracks was also a popular venue for hand ball. 

The castle fell into disrepair until Duchas took over its management and began restoration.
Photo by Ann Ormond Fennell  (last one!)
And now guided tours of the castle’s restored military barracks, with an audio-visual show and exhibitions are available during the summer months.


Anonymous said...

A spiffy bit of history and nice photos.

Anonymous said...

Oh, looks like another trip to the UK is needed for me!

Su-sieee! Mac said...

What I wonder is why the Irish leaders let John get so physically near them. And, to pull on someone's beard! That John sounds like one looney king. I enjoyed the post immensely. :-)
The View from the Top of the Ladder

Unknown said...

Cool history and great pictures!
Stopping by from the A to Z list. :-)

Erica Gore said...

Cool piece of history. Love the pictures too.

MunirGhiasuddin said...

I am so glad that you are writing now. Get to see so many historic pictures. Thanks.

Yolanda Renée said...

Interesting places, love stone work, love stones!

Yolanda Renée at Murderous Imaginings

Liza said...

I'm enjoying your bits of history.