Tuesday 11 December 2018

Library talk reveals restoration work done at Bremore Castle

Bremore Castle is a national monument owned by Fingal County Council and during Heritage Week you were invited to join Fingal's Senior Parks Superintendent Kevin J. Halpenny for a talk on the project to reconstruct this Balbriggan landmark.

Kevin's talked illuminated how the castle has been painstakingly restored from nothing much more than a pile of rubble, when the work began.

Bremore Castle is a national monument in Balbriggan owned by Fingal County Council. Comprehensive reconstruction and restoration of the Castle has been sponsored by the Dublin and Dun Laoghaire Education & Training Board and carried out by trainees participating in a Local Training Initiative.

Balbriggan Library was the venue for the talk where Kevin explained how the mammoth restoration project has unfolded.

Kevin gave the Fingal Independent the grand tour of the restored castle not so long ago and it is an impressive sight indeed.

The castle's restoration is a project that has been 20 years in the making is coming to fruition as new life is breathed into the late medieval castle at Bremore that the council believes has the potential to be Fingal's answer to Bunratty Castle.

There remains work to be done but the project is now at a staged when managed public access for scheduled events is possible.

The council acquired the site and the castle within it, in the mid-1980s.

At that point, it was little more than rubble and ruin and it would be another decade after a series of reports and archaeological investigations of the sites, that efforts to restore the building got underway.

That happened in the mid-1990s when the council partnered with Balbriggan Historical Society and FÁS to begin the local training initiative that continues to this very day, under the new guise of a DDLETB programme run out of Baldoyle Training Centre.

A couple of hundred trainees have worked on the project since that time, learning invaluable skills as they go and leaving an extraordinary legacy for Balbriggan by giving the town back one of its finest and most important buildings.

The castle is at the centre of a much larger vision for this site that will include a recreational hub full of sporting facilities, part of which has already been delivered, extensive parkland, a walled medieval garden, the castle itself and a nearby and much older historical site dating back to the time of St Molaga.

Where possible, the trainees have used building methods appropriate to the time and where modern compromises have had to be made, there are examples of the old methods left uncovered for visitors to marvel at.

The building has been rebuilt faithfully using the evidence that was present on the site and following a late 18th century drawing of what the castle looked like in its heyday. The council believe the restored castle has huge tourist potential.

Fingal Independent