Pictured here is Charleville Castle, a Gothic Revival castle on the outskirts of the town of Tullamore in Co Offaly. It dates back to 1798 when extensive and highly imaginative plans were drawn up to create this almost toy looking castle.
The Earl of Charleville, Charles William Bury commissioned one of the leading architects in Ireland at the time; Francis Johnston to make his gothic dream come to life. It took fourteen years to complete, but still stands today as one of the most highly regarded works of gothic revival architecture in Ireland. The building is considered to be Francis Johnston's masterpiece. His other works in Ireland include the GPO in O Connell Street in Dublin and the Chapel Royal in Dublin castle.
As Victorian Gothic Revival goes, this castle is actually quite compact. In those days, gothic castles tended to be rambling buildings covering huge amounts of ground and with hundreds of rooms. This castle consists of what we see here and then a small chapel and the stables and kitchen buildings.
Inside the castle is notable for its immensely high ceilings and detailed stencil work.
During the years it was lived in, the castle had to close its doors many times due to its occupants living way beyond their means. But every time it reopened new flamboyant features were added to celebrate the occasion.
By 1912 the castle was abandoned and it lay as such for almost 60 years. By 1968 the roof had been removed and it was classed as a part of vanishing Ireland, the many great old buildings which were slowly but surely disappearing from the landscape. Michael Mullen began restoration work in 1971 and it has been ongoing since.
The castles construction came about as a direct result of the bloody insurrection which engulfed Ireland in 1798 and which almost caused the collapse of the British Monarchial system.
Even though the castle is not particularly old in comparison to many in Ireland, the land on which is stands traces its history back to the earliest times. The trees we can see in this image are part of Irelands most ancient primordial oak woods, and was once a place where Irelands druids held mystical ceremonies.
The castle has the dubious reputation of being one of Irelands most haunted and is said to be home to the ghost of little Harriet, the youngest daughter of the earl of Charleville.
In 1861 she died tragically in an accident on the main staircase of the castle. Over the years, many people have reported seeing her inside as well as hearing singing, laughing and screams in the dead of night. She is said to be a small figure wearing a blue and white dress with golden hair and blue ribbons. The castle has been the subject of many international TV shows including Most Haunted, Scariest Places on Earth and Ghost Hunters International.
While Harriet is a somewhat innocent and playful figure in the castles reputed haunting, the dungeon holds much darker stories. This place is said to be haunted by the specter of a sadistic torturer who once resided there. People visiting this place have reported seeing the spectral figure of a man and felt an atmosphere most unwelcome. In the dungeons it is said that dark shadows follow you around, temperatures rise and plummet for no reason and a feeling of utter malice pervades the air.
The castle has hosted guests who heard clocks chime where no clocks are present. Knocks on the walls and the furniture are common as well as laughter and ghostly voices of both men and women. The ballroom is the place where ghosthunters reported most activity, with the presence of many spirits there and cold spots which could be felt moving around the living people present. Unexplained lights can be seen throughout the castle when it is dark.
Whatever your belief about ghosts and spirits (and I am quite skeptical), the stories certainly lend an element of charm to this old gothic pile. I am thankful that renovation allows me to still be able to visit this place.
Thanks for looking!
Critiques | Translate
Romano46 (18472) 2014-03-22 10:24
molto bello il taglio oltre all'elaborazione in bianco e nero che valorizza il soggetto con bei toni di grigio.
Splendidi i dettagli.
Ciao e buon fine settimana
timecapturer (49288) 2014-03-22 10:31
love this B&W study it adds atmosphere to the theme of this amazing shot. It is a truly beautiful looking castle and your POV makes it inviting despite it being haunted. I love the two birds flying above the area between the towers it adds that little something special to the mood of the image. Read your extensive notes with interest, can see why it has attracted attention, it is a beautiful building in its own right despite the tragic goings on inside. Not sure I could spend a night here but I am a notorious wuss. Stunning image - I love it!
Enjoy the weekend - B.
Hope you are not going to slap a claim in for damaging your eyes old chap - anyway thanks for the last critique really appreciated and it put a smile on my face. B. :-)
photographer_sg (4414) 2014-03-22 10:43
This is such an exquisite composition. The black and white treatment is excellent in the sense that it displays the elegant design and architecture of the castle with the maximum of clarity which I feel is often better without the distracting colours. The tall trees outlined against the sky with the two birds perfectly positioned show beautiful details and while forming a lovely frame seem to enhance the castle's reputation of being haunted. The depth achieved is superb with the lovely foreground. Thanks for sharing this with us and have a great weekend.
photoray (13981) 2014-03-22 11:08
Your monochrome view of Charleville Castle is excellent, the pathway leading through the leafless trees framing the Gothic Revival architecture, the sharp resolution revealing details and textures. This historical masterpiece appears to be in fine condition and almost as if built recently.
I do not believe in ghosts, but then I would probably not visit her alone late at night.
Thanks for sharing,
tenretin (2657) 2014-03-22 11:16
A beautiful composition with a black and white which is useful for the photo. This is particularly well documented.
It's good work.
Fis2 (106222) 2014-03-22 11:55
Excellent b&w work.
Good frame and composition.
The black and white increase this emotions.
mesutilgim (97474) 2014-03-22 12:46
Hello dear Noel,
Very nice b&w capture ! A real weekend gift fo a fan of b&w photography like me.
TFS and best regards
tyro (26142) 2014-03-22 14:35
As always, you've given us a very informative note about this place and, from your note, I presume that you were not confonted by any spectres during your visit.
This place looks more like a fine country house than a true castle built for defence but nonetheless it appears a beautiful place and it's nice to know that it is at present the subject of what must be some pretty extensive renovations.
This photograph definitely "works" very well in black and white though I suspect that this might also be a wonderful picture in colour. The light coming in from the left has brought out some lovely textures in the stonework yet we can still see lots of details in the shaded portico in front of us.
Lovely light, tones and contrasts, perfect exposure and exquisite details and sharpness.
Kamilutka (8107) 2014-03-22 15:10
it is amazing picture and the story of the haunted place seems to be very real when I look I look at this impressive castle. The monochrome format enhances the character of the photo and so do the trees in the composition. I would be probably too scared to go there in the evening, but during daytime it has very special mood about it.
Well captured and executed!
Thanks for sharing
carlo62 (54854) 2014-03-22 15:16
i due uccelli in volo rendono la foto molto più viva.
Mi piace come l'hai inquadrata ed è molto interessante questa versione in b&w, dove i rami senza foglie di questi alberi, aggiungono interesse.
Subhogen (4067) 2014-03-22 19:30
This is a fine photo of the castle. Great composition and good use of the vertical format. I like the inclusion of the path leading to the impressive castle in the BG. Nicely framed by the barren trees the majestic castle seems to be looming large over the compound. The barren trees, the cloud formations over the castle and your perfect choice of B&W adds a lot to the spooky feeling. I love to hear these stories attached to the old palaces, castles and cemetery but I wonder why don't I hear about a ghost being spotted in a swanky new public mall? :-). Excellent shot. Thanks for sharing.
emka (106570) 2014-03-22 23:40
It looks very spooky, specially with your PP work. Amazing views of these bare dark branches and some birds circling the towers. Better not to look at in the evening :). Fantastic composition, I imagine Lisa and Craig will love it (as I do ).
Have a beautiful Sunday
SnapRJW (31629) 2014-03-23 0:15
Hello Noel - You are quite right, this does look like a 'toy' castle. One straight from a child's imagination or a story book. Nevertheless it is quite lovely and your shot in B&W gives character where a full frontal colour job would possibly be too 'postcardy'. I like the way the castle is set corner-wise and the tall tower pushes up to the sky. The birds (crows?) and bare branches add to the dull day mood which suits the location.
A super shot and nicely converted too.
jjcordier (79297) 2014-03-23 0:57
Bon choix du noir et blanc pour cette excellente photo de ce beau château. Une note détaillée sur son histoire.
Nicou (150892) 2014-03-23 2:19
Merveilleuse image NB superbe quel rendu sur la pierre avec le végétation dans le cadrage ces tours sont merveilleuse.
Bravo et amitié
snunney (106393) 2014-03-23 4:03
The birds soaring, the leafless trees, the use of black and white; all come together to create a mood that is very appropriate to the subject. The point of view is well chosen with the path designed to draw us into the scene; whilst the three towers nicely balance each other out. Very good conversion to black and white.
krzychu30 (15512) 2014-03-23 5:00
I can imagine the scene would look great in colour and mayn TE members will probably complain about it,but I find it was really brilliant idea to go into monochrome here!
It gives the scene more"character" and makes it takes on an unique mood.
I like also your POV with the path so nicely leading our eyes towards the Castle.And other feature of the image I like-the trees around the frame(I don´t know why,but they add here some kind of "scary"feeling to the scene,like an opening scene from a horror movie)
Have a nice sunday
ourania (51079) 2014-03-23 7:55
I read your note yesterday evening and was stunned, then tried to forget the images and sounds evoked but couldn't. I even wonder if that awful spectre of the torturer had anything to do with the little girl's accident! What a (fascinating) mess occurring within these walls at night:)
Your picture is marvelous, a perfect illustration to your note. Your point of view is comprehensive and intriguing, the path is enticing and the perspective of the façade and the towers is superb. I also like the depth, the details and the eerie grey tones, softened by the light. And I also wonder whether there's anyone looking back from one (or more) of these windows:) The tree branches seem to be bending over the viewer, forming a challenging gate. Your excellent approach was also awarded by the birds flying next to the tower. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a great day,
jcpix (13948) 2014-03-23 8:56
Ahaha, I had to laugh at your final description of this place as a "gothic pile." :) From the looks of it, I'd say this is one mighty fine pile, hard to think it's really not that much bigger than what you've put together with this composition...it would suggest much, much more that you couldn't fit into this frame.
Playing right into the hands of the conscious and mysterious hauntings, the choice of black & white fits this splendidly. I particularly like the heavy black cloud and crows that support the heavier mood of this castle. The barren tree branches also play a role in the scary type vibe and atmosphere surrounding the imagery. It's all kind of Monty Python meets Frankenstein. :) Enjoy the rest of the weekend. Stay spooky.
Cheers from the desert,
Giustiniani (3632) 2014-03-24 2:40
bon POV, bon cadrage et un choix judicieux du N&B pour ce château. Une atmosphère qui convient bien au sujet. Superbe capture.
mirosu (16273) 2014-03-24 4:38
You have already posted several monochrome photos in your TE gallery, but this one is, IMO, one of your bests. The view up to the castle is excellent, the light and all details superb. I like the excellent composition with the trees in foreground (an excellent natural framing), but also the sky with the small birds. The access road is leading eye nicely to the castle.
Very well done.
p.s. Thanks for superb intro note.
omid266 (6750) 2014-03-24 20:35
** Salam , Hi Noel,
Very wonderful that your country have so many old castles and other monuments ,
This indicates us that Ireland has an old and great History ,
Although i am not a black and white fan for fotos
but this beautiful work from this giant Castle is really beautifully captured with nice text ,
Thank you for sharing , Good Luck ,
Sonata11 (34007) 2014-03-24 22:51
very beautiful and very elegant picture of this castle in B&W color. Magnificent work. You done Noel fantastic work. Like it a lot. Perfectly well done.Thanks for sharing and thanks for visiting.
All the best, Barbara
abmdsudi (57606) 2014-03-26 20:50
The mono version is apt and you have a decent amount of contrast and strong elements. I think you have a solid shot and there's a pulling power as the eyes will always naturally focus on the grandeur of this castle with its immense detail, textures with good scale proportion. You pp treatment is fine with lots more interest around. Well done, Congrats.
macjake (72427) 2014-03-26 21:11
Most Haunted...thats all i need to hear to get me to
A - read the note
B - visit the site!!
Oh man...what a great read.
where do i start!
love stories of torture and dungeon's...am i sick or what? lol
it would be awesome to spend a night in that same dungeon - the a couple of ghosts will come up and say hello lol
wicked subject Noel...this is a must see for sure.
there are tours i take it?
any picture taking alowed on the inside?
gotta see this some day
delpeoples (59772) 2014-03-30 4:38
Hi dear Noel
You even managed to capture the spooky black birds flying around the turrets to this haunted old pile. Love the B&W here, the contrast, grey tones and dappled shade are superbly done. Excellent vertical frame, the pathway leading the eye naturally towards this magnificent old castle, which looks like something straight out of a ghost story. Actually I'm reading a book of short ghost stories by women throughout history, so this photo and your note are a perfect accompaniment.
Thanks for sharing and I wish you a wonderful Sunday
PS: Thinking of you and your family on this day, which must be sad for you
adores (46361) 2014-04-22 15:41
It must be full of ghosts and scary stories. A very good shot, the b&w, the dark clouds and the birds flying add a lot to the atmosphere of the place. It must be really beautiful but I guess I wouldn't apprecciate living there:)!
Miguel82 (27752) 2014-11-19 12:46
The tree branches with no leaves, the birds in the sky, the b&w version you selected give to that castle a mystic side Noel. What a splendid architecture