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Swords Castle
 

County

Dublin

Coordinates

N 53° 27' 33.9"   W 006° 13' 12.0"

Nearest town

Swords

Grid Ref.

O 18281 46939

Map No.

50

Elevation a.s.l. (m)

14

Date of visit

Tuesday 27 May 2014

GPS Accuracy (m)

3
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Approaching the castle along the path in the public park from the southeast.


Swords Castle was built as a residence for the John Comyn, the first Anglo-Norman archbishop of Dublin, around 1200.
The building wasn't strong enough to withstand any military attack and this feature signed its destiny in the years to come. The plan of the bawn wall is pentagonal, with a perimeter of 305 metres, a measure larger than normal for an Irish castle. The enclosed area is about 6,000 square metres and included a chapel, an oratory and a great hall. To the north of the enclosure there's a massive square tower, probably the Constable's residence in the 14th century.
After John Comyn, his successor archbishops lived in the castle until 1320's, when archbishop Alexander de Bicknor, built a new palace in Tallaght. At this point the castle was abandoned and in 1326 it is recorded as in ruinous conditions. Those were the years when Edward Bruce led a military campaign in Ireland, but there's no evidence that the castle suffered damages during Bruce's attacks.
In the following decades the castle was first used as the residence to retired archbishops, later it was assigned to the constable and towards the end of the 16th century it was given in use to a colony of Dutch weavers who would have taught the natives the art of textile industry.
In the early 19th century the enclosed grounds of the castle had been converted into a garden and 40 years later into an orchard.
In 1985 the Dublin County Council purchased the ruins to restore the castle and turn it into a touristic attraction.


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