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Photographer's Note

This is the ruins of Athlumney Castle, Navan, Co Meath.

The name Athlumney derives from the Irish "Atha Luman" or "Lomans Ford". St Loman is reputed to have been a nephew of St Patrick, and was the first bishop of Meath.

The castle was built in two distinct periods, and shows very well the transition from medieval to modern Ireland. Corner turrets, as can be seen here were quite common in late medieval castles in Ireland, and the three story manor house attached to the castle is either late Elizabethan or early Jacobean, a rather unusual style of building in Ireland. The house is notable for its mullioned windows, a large oriel window in its south face, and huge fireplaces.

On the first floor there is a secret mural chamber, reached only by a set of stairs from above, created it is assumed, to hide priests. The owners, the Dowdalls, were strong Catholics. At this time, attacks on Catholic families were common and members of the church were frequently jailed.

The castle and mansion were burned down by Lancelot Dowdall, the last owner in 1649, to deny the building to the invading William of Orange who approached the area on the River Boyne which runs alongside.

Dowdall later fled in exile to France, having supported the Catholic King James II in his war against William of Orange in 1689-1691. One of the most important battles of this war was the Battle of the Boyne which happened not far from here.

Today the castle is accessible by key, which is available from a local historian. Although totally ruined, you can walk around inside the building and imagine what it would once have been like. Despite it being of considerable size, the castle is surprisingly hard to find, as it is situated on a road in the town of Navan you would need a reason to be on, and it is not visible from any nearby main roads.

Thanks for looking!

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Additional Photos by Noel Byrne (Noel_Byrne) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2566 W: 12 N: 6117] (21372)
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