The Heritage Award, sponsored by the Heritage Council, seeks to promote a greater awareness of the value of heritage to our quality of life and to sustainable economic development. It seeks to encourage a better understanding of our heritage and the impact everybody’s actions have upon it. In order to be considered, Dalkey Castle had to demonstrate long-term sustainability and appreciation of heritage. The revamped Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre was opened by former Minister Jimmy Deenihan in 2013.
The Manager, Margaret Dunne decided to enter Dalkey for the Heritage Award this year.
Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre is owned by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and the significant investment in this visitor attraction forms part of a significant and on-going investment in the Council’s heritage assets. The restoration work was designed and overseen by the Council’s Architects Department, Senior Architect Bob Hannan and Noelle Sweeney.
The foyer of Dalkey (formerly called Goat) Castle, was stripped back to reveal all the layers of former interventions since the 1390s. A philosophy of exposing the original structure guided interventions. The walls and window architraves in the Castle entrance were hidden under a layer of plasterboard and render which was removed. This revealed the original stonework and later Victorian interventions and an unusual barrel vaulted ceiling. The wicker work which was part of the design of barrel vaulted ceilings can be examined underneath the window facing down the street. Niches were revealed and lit.
The main entrance into the existing castle was enhanced by the addition of a glazed lobby and glass doors. The heavy, late-Victorian timber doors, which were not original to the building, were a barrier to entry. A lighting scheme was introduced to encourage views into the castle foyer from the street.
The significant interpretation works were jointly funded by the Council and Failte Ireland and carried out by Martello Media. Historical information is displayed on interactive screens in twelve languages. Rolling film clips were commissioned to show the methods by which barrel vaulted ceilings were constructed and coinage was struck, with particular reference to Dalkey. A new interactive Writers’ Gallery showcases the work of 45 writers and creative artists from Joyce to Bono and Beckett to Maeve Binchy.