Saturday 15 December 2018

Castle is fit for a princess

The site today of Fagans Castle at Feltrim
The site today of Fagans Castle at Feltrim

Hubert Murphy

Excavations have taken place at the site of Fagan's Castle at Feltrim Hill - sparking renewed interest in the history of the location that is linked to Princess Charlene of Monaco.

The Fagan family were her ancestors and it is believed that an open invitation has been sent to her to visit the location the next time she's in Ireland. Her grandmother was a member of the famed family.

The site is not the subject of any proposed development and the testing of the site was requested by Roadstone Ltd. who own the site, in order to record, uncover, plan and date the remaining parts of the structure pre-dating Feltrim House (uncovered during a 2016 assessment phase).

Roadstone have said they'll maintain the ancient site and have even remarked "if a princess wants to see her ancestral home, we will clean up the entrance!'

Fagan's Castle has an extraordinary history. In the reign of Elizabeth I, it was the prison of the Earl of Desmond. It was also reputedly where James II spent a night when fleeing the Battle of the Boyne.

14th century pottery was found on the site during the works. In the future, it is hoped that more investigation can take place on the site to fully trace its outline.

The site investigation has also sparked great interest amongst the Fagan clan worldwide. The town of Te Kuiti in New Zealand is recognised as the sheep shearing capital of the world and has distinct Fagan links. A statue in the town honous David Fagan. There are other descendants in the USA.

The likes of the Kettles Heritage Society (KHS) and local man Eamon Madden of Feltrim Hill Residents have all battled to highlight the Fagan link to Feltrim.

Initial investigations some years ago found Feltrim House, a later structure, on the site.

The castle was destroyed in the years after the Battle of the Boyne as the Fagans has supported the Jacobites during the wars of the period. Feltrim House was built almost on the same site in the 1700s.

The Fagans influenced the building of Trinity College and planned the constuction of the Phoenix Park. They also built St James Terrace and the Grand Hotel in Malahide. Christopher Fagan was Lord Mayor of Dublin at one stage.

Down the years, members of the Fagan clan have requested to visit the site of their ancestors.

The Feltrim Hill area is also famed for being the birthplace of General Richard Montgomery, the first general killed in the American War of Independence as he led the battle of Quebec and was the homestead of Andrew and Thomas Kettle.

Fingal Independent