The High Altar in the Temple of Isis, with wooden statue
carved by David Durdin-Robertson.
Tour of the Castle
The tour normally starts at the S.W. of the castle, facing the courtyard. The door opens on to the Oak Hall. Facing one, as one comes in, is a stylized carving by David Durdin-Robertson of a hawk; opposite it, over the fireplace is the head of a lady, also carved by him. The mantel piece was carved about 1870 by Alexander Durdin (ii). The cat, from Bath stone, was carved by Anna Durdin Robertson (Currey), second daughter of Lawrence. The oak paneling behind is probably Jacobean. The pieces in front of the door, of two Roman scenes, were carved about 1900. The plain wood architraves, dated about 1850, are neo-Gothic. At the top of the stairs, one enters the castle proper. To the right of the Oak Hall passage is a square arch leading into the Tower Room, on the left of which is the rest of the tower, stripped of plaster and repointed. This room shows how the outside part of the castle was added to. A narrow loophole looks into the dungeon. A small window, higher up, looks under the main stairs. On the right is a seven foot carved figure of archangel, Bavarian, last century (originally) from a convent. It probably represents the archangel Raphael. Hanging n the panelling is a breast plate, of about the mid-seventeen century. It is of cast iron and very heavy, a bullet mark on the surface, is a proof mark of a bullet on the breast. It may have belonged to a private or N.C. O. Next to this are some pieces of equipment dating back to the Boer War. On the left going up the stairs, is a coat of chain mail found in Afghanistan, about 850 years old. Above it is a large wooden dragon carved by David. The top of the stairs goes through the thickness of the castle walls: here they are about 4 feet thick.
In the Hall passage opposite the stairs is a dragon screen showing one Chinese dragon in the middle and one in each angle; they are imperial (5 clawed) in gold thread on blue silk. They used to be in Chinese houses facing the door; scaring off demons and evil spirits! Above the screen is the winged disc, emblem of protection, carved by David against a background of oak paneling. The staircase is about 300 years old and follows the inside of the round tower. On the right hand wall (& the second flight) are some maps, dating about 1600 - one of Leinster and several of the whole of Ireland. In two of these, Ireland is shown in a different position, as seen from Wales. On reaching the lobby one comes to several bedrooms. Immediately on the right is the main Bedroom and then facing the staircase, on the right is the Guest bedroom. Against the S.W. wall is a four poster bed (about 1835) and a small stairs to enable one to get into bed. In the S.E. wall is a carved granite mantel-piece, of about 1720. To the left of the S.E. Wall is an alcove, with the castle walls here about 5 foot thick. The window looks out on to the Yew Walk. On the N.E. wall on the right one can see the Front Avenue and the Bawn. On the left is a window looking on the porch. In the wardrobe on the N.W. wall is a beautifully embroidered Chinese Mandarin’s Robe, and some uniforms of Lieut. General Sir L.W. Parsons. In the passage joining the lobby and the wing, on the right side is a portrait of Manning Robertson (1928) by Sean O’Sullivan. Down the Flying Stairs, on the left is the outside of the Round Tower. This leads to the bathroom passage, at the S.E. end of which is a picture of Mrs. Manning Robertson by Miss Ouless (1921) in front of that before the Library staircase is a carving by Cliona Cussen of a mother and child (about 1965), called “Big Mary” out of a block of teak. Opposite is a portrait of Olivia Robertson by Florence Pielou. On the right is a Tibetan teapot and to the right of that is a chair back of an Irish harp and a wolf hound. To the left of Mrs. Robertson’s picture is the entrance through the round tower through a five foot wall. The ceiling of the entrance is of Yew beams. The hall passage then opens out into the inside of the Tower. There are here two loop-holes, one into the Tower room, the other looking out inot the Tapestry room; both loop-holes looked out into the outside originally. Beside the tapestry room loop-hole, hanging on the wall is the coat of arms of Rev. Lawrence Durdin-Robertson, registered by Gerard Slevin, Chief Herald of Ireland and depicted by Mrs. O-Shea, official heraldic artist. It represents the feudal barony of Strathloch, with mermaids supporting a chapeau, and a baronial helmet.
Further along the passage on both sides are some Hayman family portraits; the door into the tapestry room and opposite on the far side, is the door into the drawing room; at the end of the passage is the door into the Conservatory, which houses the vine, grown from a cutting from the Hampton Court vine and planted in about 1900. It bears purple grapes; it s root is inside under the balcony, outside the front entrance to the temple beneath the Tapestry Room on the left facing the Conservatory.
On the wall to the N.W. is an Aubusson tapestry carpet, about 1750. It was taken from France by an R.I.C. sergeant and bought by Mrs. H. Robertson in about 1900. On the wall to the South-West is the heavy granite fire-place; on the walls are some pieces of tapestry cloth. On the tapestry hang some pictures of the Durdin-Robertson children painted in 1964 by the local artist Desmond McCarthy. On the South East side of the room is a three light bay window. On the NoE. Wall is a picture “The Slaney Valley” by Cecil G. Lawson, unfinished, painted about 1871. It is a view of the Slaney Valley from one of the fields of the farm. Cecil Lawson was staying at the Castle and was one of three suitors of Helen Durdin, the other two were Herbert Robertson and a Dr. Durdin, who left his money to the Durdin Trust to supply Bibles. The third, finally, whom she accepted, was Herbert Robertson, M.P. (Conservative for S. Hackney). Cecil Lawson, being disappointed, left the “Slaney Valley” unfinished. It was later bought back after his death.
The Hall with St. Leger portraits and original fireplace, 1625.
Conservatory has the Hampton Court vine.
On its N.W. wall is a fresco showing what was
going on at the Castle in 1930, laid out and painted by Mr. Manning
Barbara Robertson and Mr. Jarrett, an
architect. Three concrete plaques (a cat, a squirrel and a duck) were
made in 1930 by
Ursula Livett. On the last door on the left
going towards the Conservatory is the Drawing Room. In the Drawing Room
South-East wall is a carved oak mantel piece
by Alexander Durdin (the II) and against the northwest wall is a
Chinese bowl, taken (or rather looted) from
the Imperial Palace in Peking by a soldier, bought by Lieut. General Sir
Parsons and brought to Ireland. In a glass
fronted cupboard in the S.W. are some pieces of modern Dresden China and
of Rosenthal tea cups. A picture of Olivia of
Twelfth Night by Frith on the S.E. wall near the fireplace, and
a Vauxhall mirror. On the first door on the
left going towards the conservatory is the door into the Old Hall. In
wall of the Hall is a granite fireplace with
the date 1625 on the key stone; a low passage is built through the
of the wall entering the kitchen, serving as a
hatch for food. To the right of the fireplace is a stained glass window
in 1870 by Powell, showing in heraldry the
history of the Castle. The walls are hung with Bedouin Arab
Tunisia bought by Mrs. Herbert Robertson in
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