Ard Scoil na nDéise

Second Year History trip to Dungarvan Castle

Second Years had a very enjoyable trip to Dungarvan Castle recently. Read all about it here.
06-October-18
Second Year History trip to Dungarvan Castle

Second year classes 2A and 2B went to visit Dungarvan castle on the 19th of September 2018. I was in the class group 2B. We went on our little adventure through Dungarvan to visit the castle with our history teacher Ms. Prendergast and our year head Ms. McCarthy.

We went the day after it had rained so it was surprising that we had no rainfall. We were even lucky enough to experience some sunshine. We arrived at the castle at around 2 o’clock.

It was my first time being in the castle and I was surprised at how immaculate it looked when I first entered the grounds. I could see a section of wall that must have been a fireplace once. The walls were standing tall and almost all of the outer portion of the main structure was still intact.

We first entered a small white building in front of the castle. It is a two story building initially used as military barracks, which dates from the first half of the 18th century. It is now restored and houses an exhibition of the castle. We were told some facts about the castle. Apparently it wasn’t a traditional castle for Ireland as it had a shell keep. The shell keep is the earliest structure dating from the 12th century. Shell keeps are common in England but rare in Ireland.

We were brought into a room where we watched a short film about the history of the castle. The film explained who ruled it and when, when and how it was conquered etc. I found this very informative and easy to understand. I found out that Dungarvan castle is an Anglo-Norman fortification, founded in 1185. It was built in a very strategic location at the mouth of the river Colligan. From there ships could be anchored and soldiers could command the narrow strip of land to the south of the Comeragh Mountains which linked east and west Waterford. It is also one of the few royal castles built in Ireland in the 1200s. The barracks was set on fire by the IRA in 1922, then restored by An Garda Siochána and used as the local Garda Station until 1987.

After watching the film we were brought up a flight of stairs and into another room. The room was still inside the small white building. The building had been changed into a museum and the room that we were in was decorated as a room would have looked like when the barracks was built. It was very different to how I had previously imagined it. The bed looked extremely uncomfortable and it was not very appealing. I pity whoever slept in a room like that!

We did a tour of the barracks and then went out into the grounds of the castle. It was stunning. The walls were still mostly intact, which is very impressive considering it was built in the 12th century. It was incredible knowing that so much history had taken place there. Once we were inside the physical structure of the castle we were told many things, such as the purpose of each room and how the roof was built etc. We then went up a newly built flight of stairs. If you looked underneath you could still see the ruins of the staircase that was once there. When we had reached the top there was a small room. It had a small wall of information that I found particularly interesting. Once we were back down the stairs we went out into the grounds. We were told where everything once was. We were even shown the ‘murder hole’. This was where trespassers or people who threatened the castle were executed. They had boiling substances poured on to them, mainly hot oil. There was a hole in the wall where a flaming arrow was shot at them if they weren’t dying. Our tour guide was very kind and I like how she knew exactly what she was saying with such confidence.

It was a pleasure to go to the castle and the ruins were just beautiful and atmospheric. I really enjoyed the outing and am going again with my family. I highly recommend that you do as well.

Written by Sofia Murphy Gazzola Second Year.

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Co. Waterford,
Ireland
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058 41464


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