Another a truly magnificent castle I been visiting in April was a Gothic Revival Johnstown Castle located in County Wexford.
Johnstown Castle is located on the Johnstown Castle Estate, a 150 acres (61 ha) estate, located off the road between Murntown and Rathaspeck, 5.5 km southwest of Wexford town.
Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens is Wexford’s greatest surviving country estate which is open for guided tours (but to avoid disappointment you have to booked Castle tour before).
There is a visitor centre in the castle courtyard including an extensive shop specialising in local products and a 120 seat café with outdoor terrace. No booking is required to enjoy the Ornamental Gardens and Walks or the Irish Agricultural Museum.
The first castle built on the estate was a tower house built in the late 12th century by the Esmonde family, Normans who came to southeast Ireland from Lincolnshire in the 1170s after the Norman invasion of Ireland (1169). They also built a tower house, which still stands, at Rathlannan immediately to the south.
Ruins of Rathlannon Castle is situated on the grounds of Johnstown Castle Estate.
In 1692 Johnstown Castle was bought by the Grogan family. The Grogans later married into the ancient FitzGerald family. Lady Maurice FitzGerald, wife of Lord Maurice FitzGerald was the last owner to live in the house.
In 1945, Maurice Victor Lakin gave the estate to the Irish state in lieu of taxes. It was taken over by Teagasc and used for agricultural research, while the castle was used for offices and laboratories before opening to the public in 2019.
Johnstown Castle Estate, Museum & Gardens opened in summer 2019 as a brand new ‘3 in 1’ visitor attraction – a significant addition for Irish tourism and Ireland’s Ancient East. Conservation and upgrading works on the Gothic-Revival Castle have been undertaken and guided tours are now available for the first time on a daily basis, including the unique servants’ tunnel at an incredible 86 metres long.
The Irish Agricultural Museum is housed in the former estate’s farm buildings and displays one of the most comprehensive displays of farming and rural life in Ireland.
The Castle at Johnstown is a gem of gothic revival architecture, surrounded by spectacular ornamental grounds designed by Daniel Robertson.
The three spectacular lakes, walled gardens, Gothic towers and sculptures all offer the setting for this great 19th century castle. Visitors can enjoy walks in the woodlands and around the almost 5 acre Castle Lake. The ornamental gardens and hothouses, covering 4 acres, originally designed in the mid 1800s, still retain their early design today.
The estate has been described as a must-visit attraction in Wexford that reinforces Ireland’s Ancient’s East as a world-class destination.
Johnstown Castle is open all year – 17 March to 31 October 9am – 5pm and 1 November to 16 March 9am – 4pm.
For more information visit: johnstowncastle.ie
Location of Johnstown Castle:
Below my photos taken in April 2022.