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What Is Dunboyne Castle?

Dan Cavallari
Dan Cavallari

When visiting the town of Dunboyne west of Dublin, Ireland, one is likely to encounter Dunboyne Castle, which is a home built in the town originally meant to accommodate the Lords Dunboyne. The Butler family was historically been the inhabitants of this castle, though in modern times Dunboyne castle has been used as a convent and more recently as a hotel. The house dates back to the mid-eighteenth century, though part of the house was probably built later. As the condition of the house deteriorated over the years, sections were torn down for safety reasons.

The last of the Butler family to live in Dunboyne Castle was John Butler, who moved into the dwelling in the latter part of his life. He was the Catholic bishop of Cork, but he converted and became a Protestant; he married in hopes that he could produce an heir, and while a son was born, the child did not survive. After John Butler's death, Dunboyne Castle became the subject of lawsuits, and the ownership was divided between more than one group. The castle subsequently began to fall into disrepair until renovations were made in the later part of the 19th century.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Dunboyne Castle went through several changes in ownership, eventually becoming a convent. A chapel would be built within the castle to accommodate the needs of the nuns living there. It would remain a convent until the 1990s, when the condition of the building led to its closing and partial demolition. For more than a decade after, the castle sat uninhabited and in need of repairs, until it was purchased and reopened as a hotel in the early 2000s.

The castle itself is fairly ornate and features large lawns around the grounds. Inside, the massive ballroom was converted into a chapel, but it was reverted back to a ballroom after the convent was closed. Stucco ceilings are common throughout the castle. It is a popular choice among tourists because of its close proximity to Dublin, especially the Dublin airport. Unlike many other castles, Dunboyne Castle does not have the appearance of what might be considered a traditional castle structure; instead, it is a home built in the Georgian style of architecture that was ubiquitous during the time of the castle's construction. It has the outward appearance of a large mansion, with only a small staircase leading up to the entrance of the building.

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