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My favourite room: Breathing new life into an ancient castle in Co Kilkenny

 

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Dr John Campion outside the restored castle which dates from the 15th Century. It’s thought to have been constructed by Countess Margaret (Peg) FitzGerald who is said to have slept at the highest point to keep her safe from attackers. Photo: Tony Gavin

Dr John Campion outside the restored castle which dates from the 15th Century. It’s thought to have been constructed by Countess Margaret (Peg) FitzGerald who is said to have slept at the highest point to keep her safe from attackers. Photo: Tony Gavin

The grand floor bedroom with an unusual shaped bed

The grand floor bedroom with an unusual shaped bed

The free-standing bathtub overlooks the surrounding countryside - the castle has view over Kilkenny, Tipperary and Laois

The free-standing bathtub overlooks the surrounding countryside - the castle has view over Kilkenny, Tipperary and Laois

Just some of the 60 stone steps which lead from the bottom to the top of the castle

Just some of the 60 stone steps which lead from the bottom to the top of the castle

The washbasin in the ground floor en suite is from TileStyle

The washbasin in the ground floor en suite is from TileStyle

The kitchen is part of the great hall and the island contains everything hob, cooker, sink and storage

The kitchen is part of the great hall and the island contains everything hob, cooker, sink and storage

John in the dining area of the great hall. The nobility would have been entertained here. Photo: Tony Gavin

John in the dining area of the great hall. The nobility would have been entertained here. Photo: Tony Gavin

The sitting area in the great hall of the castle. The floor is made from Kilkenny limestone flags, as is the fireplace, which has a log fire. Traditional lime whitewash was put on the walls

The sitting area in the great hall of the castle. The floor is made from Kilkenny limestone flags, as is the fireplace, which has a log fire. Traditional lime whitewash was put on the walls

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Dr John Campion outside the restored castle which dates from the 15th Century. It’s thought to have been constructed by Countess Margaret (Peg) FitzGerald who is said to have slept at the highest point to keep her safe from attackers. Photo: Tony Gavin

Things in frames are a great way of adding interest to your interior. Paintings and photos are popular, but lots of other things - pieces of fabric, old letters, maps - look good in frames too. Dr John Campion, owner of Tubbrid Castle in Kilkenny, opted to frame a host of poems by Irish literary figures, and these sit on shelves in the bedroom on the ground floor of this magnificently restored building.

However, for John, they are not just an interior design device - these poems are deeply significant. Several are tributes to fathers, including the short and pithy poem titled 1.1.87 by Seamus Heaney. It goes: Dangerous pavements/But I face the ice this year/With my father's stick.

"I visited Heaney's homeplace in Bellaghy and saw this poem," John explains. "His father had just passed away when he wrote it. It's dated the beginning of the year, the beginning of a new chapter and he felt he got strength from his father to face it."