Still Standing Proud

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The free-standing tower at Donadea Castle, County Kildare. Presumably this is the oldest part of the building, erected by the Aylmer family on the site of an earlier mediaeval residence and completed in 1624. Later a larger house was constructed immediately adjacent to the tower, and the whole property Gothicised in the early 19th century (this work is often attributed to Sir Richard Morrison). Now at the centre of a national park, Donadea was unroofed in the 1950s but somehow traces of its former state survive, not least the wooden window frames and shutters. A shame these have never been rescued, rather than being allowed to fall into decay.

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6 comments on “Still Standing Proud

  1. Dermot Kennedy says:

    In the late 60’s the main building was still extant. I was possible to gain entry at a number of points. The interiors were at least partially intact. One room seemed to be a library with a mezzanine floor around the perimeter and I perhaps remember a cast iron spiral stairs as well as cast iron ballustrading to gallery.

    The tower in you photo was linked by a single story to the building and there was a plaque on this face of the tower with the inscription : “Non dormit qui custodit”. There was also a CoI church very close which seemed to be in partial use at that time.

    • Thank you for getting in touch with your memories. The building is still reasonably sound but suffering from decades of (unnecessary) neglect. It is no longer possible to gain access to the interior. The church remains and is in use for services: when I was last there a couple of weeks’ ago, it hosted a Christmas fair.

  2. FB says:

    I hava a photo of Donadea from 1911 when it was still a private residence. I tried to post it here but unfortunately don’t seem to be able to.

  3. lwbyrne@yahoo.co.uk says:

    Love your site. I believe the oldest part of Donadea is at the back of the main building. There is a courtyard (not accessible to the public) and from there what appears to be a tower house is visible. Its a pity some effort isn’t made to conserve Donadea Castle, even as a ruin.

    • Thank you for this. It is actually very difficult to decipher the building and work out the different periods of construction (altho’ I am sure someone has done so). Hence my instinct was to suppose the free-standing tower constituted the original edifice. But just as likely, as you say, that the earliest structure was/is incorporated into the main block. If only it were possible to examine the site more closely…

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