Drimnagh Castle in County Dublin is the last remaining Irish castle to be surrounded by a flooded moat. The earliest reference to a castle on this site dates to 1216. The structure which stands today includes a 15th-century great hall, a tower that was added in the 16th or 17th-century, plus a large stone building that dates to the 20th century. The castle is currently undergoing a painstaking restoration and guided tours are available with proceeds going towards the ongoing works. The venue is also available for hire by arrangement.
According to legend, a young lady by the name of Eleanora Barnwall fell in love with an enemy of her family, Sean O’Byrne, but was forced into an arranged marriage with her cousin Edmund so that land and wealth could be retained by the family. The wedding ceremony was arranged and Edmund set off towards St Patrick’s Cathedral, but he was ambushed en route by O’Byrne and his men. Edmund was killed at the scene. Eleanora’s uncle decided this would be the time to attack his sworn enemies, and he quickly assembled a group to battle with the O’Byrnes. Many were slaughtered that day, and tragically for Eleanora, her beloved Sean was one of those who perished.
Eleanora’s truth was brought to light and she was forbidden to leave the castle. One version of the story suggests that the devastated bride went looking for her true love’s grave in the Dublin mountains and died of exposure as he lay on the soil, while a second version says she leaped from the walls of Drimnagh Castle and fell to her immediate death. Whichever version may be “true”, it is Eleanora’s ghost that is said to walk the castle to this day.
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