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Charleville Castle is one of the most finest gothic-style castle in Ireland, built by the Earl of Charleville, Charles William Bury (1764 -1835) under the inspiration of his artistic partner, Lady Catherine Marie Charleville in 1798. It was designed by Sir Francis Johnston, one of Ireland’s leading architects, who also built the General Post Office and the Chapel Royal (Dublin). The distinctive feature of the castle is the architecture, especially the spectacular ceilings. The most impressive one (dining room) was designed by William Morris in the 1890's, a well known stencil artist of this time.
The Castle remained uninhabited from 1912, during the difficult years of the Independence War and the long years of economic severity which followed. By 1968 the roof had been removed. It had become a part of "Vanishing Ireland" until finally work on its restoration was commenced by Michael McMullen in 1971 and later by Constance Heavy-Seaquist and Bonnie Vance.
Nowadays the castle is run by the charity "Charleville Castle Heritage Trust" which was created in 1994. The Charleville Castle Heritage Trust is a voluntary non-for-profit organisation (a company limited by guarantee registered in Ireland and charity - NGO) managed by Dudley Stewart with a team of core volunteers. The day-to-day running is handled by volunteers, who come from different countries including France, Canada, the United States of America and the United Kingdom, as well as other parts of Ireland to help out at the castle. The aims are the restoration and the sustainable conservation of the building.
The castle is the direct outcome of grand and magnanimous ideas following the brutal suppression of a terrible and bloody insurrection which engulfed Ireland in 1798 and almost caused the collapse of the British Monarchical System. It was built around the concepts of hope, belief in the future and humanity - on the frontiers of civilization. This is its heritage - these are the values which are preserved within this great edifice. These are the ideals under which the ethos of volunteerism have been developed, and are sustained, in modern times - Global sustainability, Peace and Betterment of life on Earth - a vision deep into the far off future
Charleville Castle grew from paper doodles in early 1798 to grandiose plans by the end of that very eventful year in Ireland. It was built by Charles William Bury, Earl of Charleville and was designed by Francis Johnston, one of the leading architects of the day. Charleville Castle is said to be the finest example of gothic-revival architecture in the country. This is a veritable gothic castle of grand proportions. It owes its "Tin Soldier Fortress" look to the celebration of victory over the third French revolutionary expedition to Ireland - the first decisive victory by Britain over the revolutionary republican movement, which was sweeping across the monarchies and their colonies at that time. It took fourteen years to complete this gothic dream, a monument not only to a now forgotten power, but also to the people who made it possible, the Irish craftsmen and impoverished people.