Donadea Castle

The first Manor house was built by the Normans in the 12th Century and many castles were built on the site throughout the Middle Ages. In 1558 the famous Aylmer family acquired the property, and built a new tower in 1581. Completed in 1624 the Tower is the oldest part of the existing Castle. Gerald Aylmer was titled by the Crown and became the first Baronet of Donadea. The Aylmers were connected with the various conflicts and rebellions over the next two centuries. In 1626, Gerald Aylmer had repaired the medieval Church in Donadea and built a new extension in which he established his family burial plot.

After a divisive split of the Aylmer family during the Rebellion of 1798, Fenton (7th Baronet) built a new church and mausoleum adjacent to the older church. Fenton’s son, Gerald George the 8th Baronet (1816 - 1878) is accredited with most of the changes to Donadea demesne visible today. He constructed a high wall enclosing the demesne, gate lodges were built at all the entrances plus a new grand entrance known as the Lime Avenue. In 1827 he commissioned the architect Richard Morrison to remodel (gothicize) the front of the castle. To the west of the Castle he built an 8 acre area of gardens and paddocks with an artificial lake and Ice House. Donadea demesne was by then listed as one of the finest parkland settings in the country. Caroline Aylmer was the last person to live in the Castle, she died unmarried in 1935.

Situated: Easy. From Clane take the R407 North to Boherhole (4 Kilometres). Turn left here, Donadea Forest Park is another 4 kilometres down this road on your left.

Discovery Map 56: N 8347 3303. Last visit March 2011.

Longitude: 6° 44' 48" W

Latitude: 53° 20' 27" N

Google Map

Photos: Jim Dempsey and Deb Snelson.

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