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Swords Castle

Swords Castle, was well preserved until the end of the 19th century , with battlements, towers, and centre courtyards, covering about  0.5 ha. Its architecture is thirteenth century. The floors of rooms were supported by arched ceilings. The entrance gate is a perfect arch and a square window immediately above. The gate is flanked by two square towers lighted by slit windows. The top of each tower is flat, reached by a spiral stone stairs which comes outside just before reaching the top. The above photo shows the restoration work which has been completed at the front of the castle,
 
To the right of the gate are the remains of a Church with pointed windows. There is a remarkable window in one portion of the walls, where the stone sashes are done all in red sandstone. There is no historic tradition about this Castle. No battles were ever fought here. According to history, it was occupied by John Comyn, Archbishop in the eleventh or twelfth century. He may have been a Norman Bishop and came here in the early days of the occupation of Leinster by the Normans as it was the Normans who burned Swords to the ground on six occasions and nearby had a garrison. There are battlements and towers all around the castle, most of which have been beautifully restored on behalf of Fingal County Council. The work is being carried out by F.A.S which is a state training agency.
The work is likely to be completed around 2012 [my estimate] well, considering originally it took over 400 years co be built, we can wait another few years.
The perimeter measures just over 300 meters with just over half the restoration work completed. The remains of Brian Boro are believed to have brought here after the battle of Clontarf.

 

The Castle was owned by the Church Of Ireland and The Archbishops left Swords for the new palace which got built in Tallagh South County Dublin in 1324. The castle was sold to the Cobbe Family who also owned Newbridge House Donabate.

The castle was leased to Robert Savage for many years of the 20th century and was purchased by Fingal County Council in 1976.

swords castle
 

Swords Castle 1995
Swords Castle before the restoration

The long term plan for the castle by Fingal County Council is to fully restore and show the castle off in all it's restored glory. The council have already taking in charge most of the buildings to the right of the front gate. When the restoration work has being completed these buildings will be demolished and a pedestrian walk way placed at the front and down North Street.
 
In my opinion it's not enough just to restore the castle walls, there is hugh potential for tourism in this project, think on the lines of Bunratty Castle Co. Clare with it's folk park and Medieval Banquet. There is hugh expense to the taxpayer in restoring Swords Castle and that expenditure needs to be recuperated. Place a traditional pub inside the grounds and also a visitors centre. Make the castle the central hub for visitors to North County Dublin, promote the arts ie. traditional Irish music.
The image below shows the recently restored work of the west side walk way which now includes a safety hand rail.
 
New Roof On Castle Chapel
The new roof is now completed on the old ruins of the castle chapel. Unfortunately new materials were used in the construction of the roof in the form of slates and terracotta ridge tiles. These materals were not in use hundreds of years ago so in keeping with the time period and age of the castle these slates and terracotta should never have been used. A thatched roof would have been more appropriate. With the front of the castle which faces Main Street now almost finished the former Ryans pub and the other derelict buildings which stretch 100 meters down North Street will be demolished.
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swords_castel.jpg

The Castle is open to the public Monday To Friday
 
Monday - Thursday 10am - 12pm and 1pm - 4pm
 
Friday 10am - 12pm and 1pm - 3pm
 
Please remember that building work is in progress, so only tour the areas that are completed - It's for your own safety
There is no charge
 
GPS Coordinates
Latitude 53.45902874
Longitude -6.2198925
Swords Castle West Side
Swords Castle West Side
Swords Castle 1890

Swords Castle 1792
Swords Castle 1792

Swords Castle Poem By Angela Koch
Once upon a time in the province of Leinster
built by the Archbishop of Dublin and his ministers
there is the castle of Sword in all its glory
so listen now to the castle’s fictive story.

The Archbishop’s knights wore the newest iron dress
and every morning they got their daily bless.
Only the best fighters he took in his team
and they survived the strongest battles in their dreams.

The Archbishop with family and all his friends
were celebrating every night without an end.
The tables nearly couldn’t bore all the dishes,
loaded with deer, hares and a lot of fishes.

This life went on for over a hundred years
while the folk lived in poverty and in fear.
In the end no fish swam in the river any more,
no offer of deer nor hare in the stores.

The beautiful castle of Sword gone to rack
all over the walls you could see big cracks
The dust laid all over on shields and rusted iron-suits,
on lances, arrows and bows they never did need.

The Archbishop decided to leave this nasty place
they built a new castle in Tallaght – the enemy to face.
It was good for Sword – so the castle still is there
while Tallaght-castle can’t be seen nowhere

Sword has its castle even still,
and it's old glory will be rebuilt.
If you come around Sword one day
take your time for a little stay!
Swords

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