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Malahide Castle unveils beautifully restored Great Hall

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Great Hall unveiling in Malahide Castle.

Great Hall unveiling in Malahide Castle.

Minister Darragh O’Brien, Fingal County Council Chief Executive AnneMarie Farrelly with County Architect Fionnuala May and Fingal Mayor Howard Mahony at the Great Hall unveiling in Malahide Castle.

Minister Darragh O’Brien, Fingal County Council Chief Executive AnneMarie Farrelly with County Architect Fionnuala May and Fingal Mayor Howard Mahony at the Great Hall unveiling in Malahide Castle.

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Great Hall unveiling in Malahide Castle.

fingalindependent

The iconic Great Hall at Malahide Castle has reopened following significant works carried out to the fabric of the historic building that has helped restore one of finest Medieval Banqueting Halls in the country.

Receiving over 100,000 visitors from home and abroad each year, the Great Hall is an integral part of the attraction for visitors heading to Malahide Castle & Gardens in Fingal. Dating back to 1475, the Great Hall was redesigned in the 1820s by the 2nd Baron Talbot of Malahide in the neo-gothic style. It remains largely how he left it to this day.

Work on the Great Hall has been done under the direction of Grade 1 Conservation Architects, Blackwood Associates Architects. The improvements are seen as being integral to future proofing one of Irelands most important heritage sites for generations to come.

Over €500,000 was invested by Fingal County Council in carrying out the restoration. The majority of works were carried out to the external fabric of the building, which included upgrading the roof and rainwater goods. Internally restoration of the rafters and minstrel’s gallery, as well as conservation of the 19th century windows and fireplaces took place. Mechanical and electrical systems upgrades also took place, including lighting, rewiring, CCTV and the installation of a new heating system for a room originally built in the Middle Ages.

Alongside the key works, extensive conservation of the paintings was also undertaken by the National Gallery of Ireland, with the artworks now re-hung and the illustrious room is once again opened to the public.

Malahide Castle, and the Great Hall itself, have borne witness to many events throughout history. In Medieval times, the Great Hall was the centre of courtly life and feasts and banquets. It continued to be used in that way during the ‘long eighteenth’ and nineteenth centuries when lavish displays of food and drink in the name of hospitality were the order of the day.

Today, the hall continues as home to one of the most important collections of Jacobite portraits, displayed in their original setting, and includes 31 portraits on loan from the National Gallery of Ireland.

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Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Howard Mahony, said: “It’s wonderful to be able to return to Malahide and take in the splendour of the Great Hall once again. The extensive restoration it has undergone will help ensure that Malahide Castle remains one of the must-visit destinations for visitors to Fingal.

“We are extremely fortunate to have a wealth of beautiful heritage properties across the county – it’s vitally important that we look to preserve these great historical buildings for future generations to enjoy.”

AnnMarie Farrelly, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council said: “Investing in much needed upgrades like these undertaken at Malahide Castle is essential if we are to allow historically significant buildings to be enjoyed by people from near and far, and to help prevent them falling into disrepair.

“Like all good conservation work, very little of the interventions can be seen, nor can we fully appreciate the delicate and time-consuming process that was involved to get us here today. It is testament to all those involved in the restoration and conservation of the Great Hall that we have before us a truly beautiful and resplendent attraction that gives us a tangible and fascinating link with the past.”

Cathal Dowd Smith, Curator for Malahide Castle said: “The Great Hall at Malahide is one of the finest Medieval Banqueting Halls in the country. The works undertaken by Fingal have future-proofed the space and allow us to continue to preserve the furnishings and artworks which call Malahide Castle home.”


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