Swords Castle

Located in the centre of the ancient town Swords Castle contains over 800 years of history and, as a recent surprising discovery of burials beneath the gatehouse shows, it has yet to give up all of its secrets. The castle was built by the Archbishop of Dublin, John Comyn, around 1200, as a residence and administrative centre. The extensive complex of buildings is in the form of a rough pentagon of 0.5 hectares and is enclosed by a perimeter wall of 260 meters. It is a National Monument, and it is the best surviving example of an Archbishop’s Palace in Ireland. The curtain walls enclose over an acre of land that slopes down to the Ward River. This complex of buildings is made up of many phases of reuse and redesign reflecting its long history and changing fortunes

 

 

Swords Castle & Courtyard is open to visitors all year round & tours are available on request.

Opening Times:

October – February: Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am - 4pm (closed Monday)

March – September: Tuesday to Sunday 9.30am – 5pm (closed Monday)

Admission is Free

The Castle

Located in the centre of the ancient town Swords Castle is a former residence of the Medieval Archbishop of Dublin. The extensive complex of buildings is in the form of a rough pentagon of 0.5 hectares and is enclosed by a perimeter wall of 260 meters. Built around 1200 AD Swords Castle contains over 800 years of history and, as a recent surprising discovery of burials beneath the gatehouse shows, it has yet to give up all of its secrets. The castle was built by the Archbishop of Dublin, John Comyn, around 1200. It was not a castle in the accepted sense but an Archbishop’s Palace and administrative centre. It is a National Monument, and it is the best surviving example of an Archbishop’s Palace in Ireland. The curtain walls enclose over an acre of land that slopes down to the Ward River. This complex of buildings is made up of many phases of reuse and redesign reflecting its long history and changing fortunes.

The Chapel

The Chapel is an unusually large chapel even for an archbishop’s residence. During the 1971 archaeological excavations a silver coin of Philip IV of France (1285-1314) known as a denier tournois was found near to the bottom of the north wall of the building. This suggested an early 14th century date for its construction. Burials were also uncovered outside the chapel and within the Archbishop’s apartments. Since 1995 the chapel has undergone extensive reconstruction including the addition of a new roof. New tiles were made based on those found during the 1971 excavations. New windows were inserted and new timber gallery was added showcasing the tradition craftsmanship on site. If you look up at the timber where the timber beams meet the walls there are a series of craved heads-these are based on the people working on the site at the time and include the faces of the foreman and the architect.

Restoration

Dublin City Council obtained the castle from the Cobbes in 1985. Restoration works began here in the 1990s. The curtain walls, the Constable’s Tower and the Chapel were reconstructed as part of a FÁS scheme which provided training in masonry and carpentry for local people. In order to protect Swords Castle into the future, a programme of repair and conservation works is also being undertaken now. Repairs to the Gatehouse, which will secure safe access, are a priority. It is hoped that the castle will become a focal point for the town and centre for public events. Fingal County Council published Swords Castle Conservation Plan in 2014. This details the history and development of the castle, explains its significance and provides a policy framework for the future care and management of the castle. Visitors are always welcome and admission is free

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